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Georgia Tech at Virginia: The Advanced Preview

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Georgia Tech tries to avoid falling to .500 for the first time this season, although it'll be like a possum trying to avoid getting hit on a freeway because the Yellow Jackets have to travel to John Paul Jones Arena.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia Tech (9-8) Virginia (17-0)
Total Power Rating 18.5 25.8
Offensive Power Rating 17.2 25.4
Defensive Power Rating 19.8 26.2
Offensive Efficiency 105.5 124.1
Defensive Efficiency 102.8 89.7
Efficiency Differential +2.7 +34.4
Offensive Rebound % 41.0% 36.7%
Defensive Rebound % 74.5% 76.1%
Effective Field Goal % 45.3% 53.7%
Opponent eField Goal % 48.1% 40.0%
Foul Line Rate 22.1% 26.5%
Opponent Foul Line Rate 27.0% 18.1%
Turnover Rate 16.4% 13.0%
Opponent Turnover Rate 16.6% 14.5%
RPI .5642 .7060
Average Pace 73.4 66.8

Using these advanced stats, we get a clearer picture of just how this game will play out. The total power rating is a statistic designed by me that adds in the four factors (eFG%, OffReb%, TO%, FL%) for offense and the inverse (eFG%D, DefReb%, OppTO%, OppFL%) for defense; RPI- a true measure for strength of schedule and the rating differential. If any of the other categories seem confusing, I’ve attached an Basketball Stat Glossary here.

Ah... it seems just as soon as yesterday Georgia Tech was 9-3 heading into conference play. Well, now it's been more than two weeks and Tech is 9-8. To make things worse, it's been a five game losing streak in the most painful way possible. Let's walk through the losses real quick: seven points in double OT to Notre Dame, one point to Syracuse, seven points to Wake, three points to Notre Dame and five points to Pitt. Everyone of them seemingly more painful than the last.

The road back to the win column isn't getting any easier today, because Georgia Tech plays arguably their toughest game of the season; On the road, playing one of the only two remaining unbeaten's in the country. Virginia is the number two team in the country and is arguably better than Kentucky at this point in the season. So we beg to ask the question: Do the Yellow Jackets have a chance? Well..., uh..., let's just take a look at the metrics.

Virginia Overview

Where to start with Virginia? You'll hear naysayers argue Virginia has no "first round" talent, so that makes them all smoke and mirrors. I'll just remind you all Uconn won a championship with it last year, Duke did it in 2010 and Kansas did it in 2008 (but if y'all want to call Cole Aldrich and the Plumlee's legit first round talents, be my guest). Virginia has a great RPI resume, with wins over Maryland, VCU, Davidson, NC State and Notre Dame. And if you didn't know before, they have no losses. So let's move on.

Virginia is the only team in the country that ranks in the top five for offensive and defensive efficiency. Contrary to last years Wahoo's who couldn't score, this years team can beat you down on both ends of the floor. Virginia is at their best scoring from within 15 feet of the basket as they shoot 51.5 percent from within the arch. Virginia also gets to the free throw line at a 26.5 percent clip and convert 74.4 percent of those charity shots. The Cavs also take great care of the rock with only 13 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover.

Defense is Virginia's trademark. All of their defensive metrics are astounding with the exception of opponent turnover rate. Virginia only allows opponents to shoot a 40 effective field goal percentage (!!), a percentage that's very balanced when you look at perimeter defense and interior defense (31% 3-point D, 34% paint D). The Wahoo's are good on the boards and are great at staying out of foul trouble. Perhaps where they're most effective is pace. Virginia is great at slowing down a game and making you play at half court. Make no mistake about it, Tony Bennett's 2015 squad is a legitimate title contender.

Georgia Tech Overview

The three paragraphs above may seem very overwhelming for Georgia Tech, because they are. I realize Tech has been able to keep it close with all their ACC opponents, but Virginia is simply a different animal than the rest. To be frank, it's Kentucky and Virginia then everyone else. Georgia Tech is unfortunately down the totem pole of college basketball because of their inability to play any form of offense, lack of consistent guard play and a poor game plan that doesn't fit personnel.

The inability to put together a consistent two guard lineup is going to be a big problem for Tech in this one. The whole season has seen a revolving door combination of Josh Heath, Corey Heyward, Travis Jorgenson and Chris Bolden; None of which has been effective. The four aforementioned guards have a combined PER of 3.6 (!!), you don't have to know what PER is know how atrocious that stat really is. Simply put, no matter who Georgia Tech puts at the "1" and "2" it's a liability.

Talking about Georgia Tech's ability to rebound seems to be getting old now, because as good as its been it doesn't seem to be getting them anywhere. Tech is currently being outshot by opponents with higher effective percentages and letting opponents get to the foul line at a higher frequency. As a matter of fact, more than a third of Tech's points come off offensive rebounds and second chance points. If that's Tech's only opton on offense, it will truly

The Starting Five PER

Georgia Tech Virginia
G: Josh Heath - 7.2 G: London Perrantes - 6.9
G: Corey Heyward - 4.5 G: Malcolm Brogdon - 15.7
F: Marcus Georges-Hunt - 13.7 G: Justin Anderson - 19.0
F: Charles Mitchell - 15.7 F: Anthony Gill - 18.9
C: DeMarco Cox - 15.2 F: Darion Atkins - 16.7
Team Average: 11.1 Team Average: 14.7

The Prediction

At first sight, the betting line looks a bit scary. Virginia is almost an 18 point favorite in this game, which I think is way to high considering Tech has managed to cover the spread in four of its five ACC games. Is Virginia astronomically better than Georgia Tech in almost every facet of basketball? Yes. But a line that high is always a dangerous bet. I believe Tech will scrap this game out the best they can, but it'll still be a double digit win for the Wahoo's in the end by a score of:

Line: Virginia (-17.5) via sportsbook.ag

Final: Virginia 70, Georgia Tech 59