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Georgia Tech vs. Wake Forest: The Advanced Preview

The "Just-below .500" bowl will commence today at noon ET. The fight for the ACC tenth seed is on as 3-7 battles 1-9!

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech (10-12) Wake Forest (11-12)

Effective FG% 45.2% 48.2%
Opponent Effective FG% 48.6% 49.6%
Offensive Rebound% 39.3% 34.2%
Defensive Rebound% 74.2% 74.6%
Turnover Rate 16.9% 16.9%
Opponent Turnover Rate 15.8% 16.2%
Foul Line Rate 21.8% 29.6%
Opponent Foul Line Rate 24.4% 24.1%

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 a Basketball Stat Glossary here.

If moral victories were actually a thing, Georgia Tech would be a potential number one seed in the moral victory tournament. Six of these conferences losses have basically come down to two possessions with another one going to double overtime. Nothing has ever seemed so close, yet so far away at the same time. We're talking about maybe 18 minutes being the difference between 8-2 in conference and the current 1-9.

Part of those ACC troubles can be attributed to the level of play in the conference this season. Both Coach Gregory and Coach Krzyrewski commented on how deep the conference waysthis year after the Duke game, and who can argue when ESPN's Joe Lunardi as six teams in the tournament and another three on the bubble. However, the team Tech plays today is not one of those nine teams and leaves more hope for the second conference win of the season.

Wake Forest Overview:

Before January 31st, Tech was Wake's only ACC victory and stood at 1-6 in the conference. Since, they've strung two in a row and are fresh off an 88-84 upset of North Carolina State where the Demon Deacons shot an effective 66.7 percent (10-20 from three). From a momentum stand point, Wake has an advantage and also have the confidence that they've beaten the Yellow Jackets before.

In their last game, the foul line played the deciding factor in the game. More than a third of the Demon Deacons possessions (37.6 percent) ended at the line, and even though they converted only 19 of their 31 attempts it was enough to make a difference in a seven point game. Georgia Tech on the other hand was held to a 13.1 percent foul line rate, and Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell and DeMarco Cox each had four fouls by the games end.

Wake Forest is very similar to Georgia Tech in the fact that both are below average shooting teams, above average rebounding teams and have trouble finishing in close games. One important factor where Wake separates itself from Tech is at the free throw line, the same factor that turned the Tides in the first game of this series. 29.6 percent of Wake's possessions end in a trip to the foul line, which is where 23.5 percent of their total points come from. Simpy put, Tech cannot give up silly fouls like last time of they will be beat again.

Georgia Tech overview

The Yellow Jackets are coming off an unusually good shooting night despite the eventual loss to Duke. Tech shot an effective 53.6 percent (8-11 from three!) while Duke shot 50 percent (5-18 from three). I equate those numbers to a couple of things. One, Tech should never be taking more than 12 three's a game. It takes looks away from Cox, MGH and Mitchell who take better, higher percentage shots. And two, Chris bolden hit and took more than half of Tech's three's. He and Stephens are the only real consistent three point shooters Tech have, so leaving them a majority of the long range work is wise.

Where numbers can be deceiving: Tech ranks 265th in the country in assists per game, while Wake ranks 80th in the country in total assists. But when you crank out the metrics, Tech has an assist ratio of 14.9 percent to Wake's 12.8. While the Demon Deacons may have more assists per game, Tech hasmore possessions end in assists than Wake. Basically, Tech is more efficient with their assists per possession than Wake is.

MGH has been a big factor since the dreadful showing against Virginia. In the last four games he's averaging 20.3 points on 53.6 percent shooting with 7.8 boards. His defensive presence on the wing has been critical as well, normally guarding the other teams most athletic winger. Although Tech is just 1-3 in this stretch of good games for MGH, the losses have come at a combined nine point with a 20 point spanking of a ranked team coming inbetween. MGH needs to be "the man" going forward to sustain success.

The Prediciton

Georgia Tech 58, Wake Forest 55