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Georgia Tech Basketball Game Preview: Yellow Jackets Welcome Clemson to Atlanta

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After three games against Top 10 teams, Tech gets...a team just outside the Top 25.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

With the Top 10 gauntlet at the beginning of the ACC schedule in the rear view mirror, the Georgia Tech basketball team will welcome Clemson to McCamish Pavilion tonight at 7:00 pm. Both teams are coming off two game losing streaks to teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Last we saw the Yellow Jackets, they lost to Louisville by 15 on a career night from junior center Ben Lammers. The final margin of victory may be somewhat deceiving, as Tech played the Cardinals fairly even after the first five minutes of the game. Meanwhile, in their last game, the Tigers lost a heart breaker in South Bend, falling to Notre Dame 75-70.

For Clemson, this game is a chance to right the ship and get back to 0.500 in conference play. A loss would be a big black mark on their tournament resume in what may be a make-or-break season for coach Brad Brownell. For the Yellow Jackets, this is an opportunity to pull another big upset and show that the tough schedule to open conference play served to help the team grow and mature. Let’s take a look at to expect ahead of tonight’s game.

Team Comparison

Ranking Comparison

Team Record ACC Record AP Rank Bracketology RPI Rank KenPom Rank Record Against KenPom Top 50 Best Win Worst Loss
Team Record ACC Record AP Rank Bracketology RPI Rank KenPom Rank Record Against KenPom Top 50 Best Win Worst Loss
Georgia Tech 9-6 1-2 N/A N/A 140 144 2-2 North Carolina (6) Ohio (87)
Clemson 11-4 1-2 33 6 seed 38 23 3-3 South Carolina (33) Oklahoma (75)

Stat Comparison

Team PPG Opponent PPG FG% Opponent FG% 3FG% Opponent 3FG% FT% RPG Opponent RPG APG SPG BPG
Team PPG Opponent PPG FG% Opponent FG% 3FG% Opponent 3FG% FT% RPG Opponent RPG APG SPG BPG
Georgia Tech 66.6 67.9 42.1 39.8 32.4 34.4 67.6 36.9 37.3 14.1 6.3 6.6
Clemson 77.7 66.7 45.2 41.5 35.0 32.9 73.7 36.1 36.3 13.7 8.2 4.9

Projected Starting Lineups

Georgia Tech (9-6, 1-2)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 0 Justin Moore Fr. 25.9 6.4 3.6 apg
G 11 Josh Heath Sr. 26.2 5.2 81.8% FT%
G 5 Josh Okogie Fr. 27.7 14.1 1.3 spg
F 12 Quinton Stephens Sr. 32.7 9.5 7.7 rpg
C 44 Ben Lammers Jr. 34.2 14.9 3.3 bpg
6th Man 1 Tadric Jackson Jr. 20.1 10.9 42.5% 3FG%

Clemson (11-4, 1-2)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 4 Shelton Mitchell So. 25.8 9.3 3.4 apg
G 12 Avry Holmes Sr. 28.4 10.9 1.1 spg
F 15 Donte Grantham Jr. 29.7 9.8 85.7% FT%
F 5 Jaron Blossomgame Sr. 33.4 18.1 50.0% FG%
C 50 Sidy Djitte Sr. 25.5 7.2 8.5 rpg
6th Man 2 Marcquise Reed So. 22.1 10.3 45.9% 3FG%

Player to Watch

F Jaron Blossomgame

Blossomgame surprised many when he decided to return to Clemson for his senior season despite grading out as a potential late first round NBA draft pick. The forward was first team All-ACC last season, averaging 18.6 ppg on 51.6% shooting. In three games against the Yellow Jackets last season, Blossomgame averaged over 20 ppg. This season, his scoring average has remained fairly steady (currently at 18.0 ppg), but his three point shot has all but abandoned him. Last season, Blossomgame was a 44.6% shooter from behind the arc on about 3 shots per game. This year, he is shooting only 15.9% while taking roughly the same number of shots. As bad as he has been from deep this season, Tech can’t afford to sag off of him and let him get hot when he gets the ball outside. He’s still one of the best players in the conference.

What to Watch For

Clemson is a very deep team, with 7 players averaging at least 22 minutes per game (Tech has 5). However that 7 only includes one true post player, senior center Sidy Djitte. He will draw the tough task of guarding Tech’s best player, Ben Lammers. If Lammers can find success against Djitte, or even get the big man into foul trouble, that could be an issue for the Tigers. Unfortunately for the Jackets, Lammers can’t win the game on his own. Another player or two needs to step up and be a factor on the offensive end. Okogie has done that at times and was aggressive against Louisville, getting to the free throw line several times. Tadric Jackson is, as always, the real wild card. He’s shooting the ball really well this season and is Tech’s only real threat behind the arc, yet he has trouble staying on the floor.

On the other side of the court, don’t be surprised to see more of the big lineup we saw some of against Louisville. Clemson starts three players over 6’ 7”, which would likely create a mismatch for one of Tech’s guards. A.D. Gueye is still maturing as a player on both ends of the floor but he has good length and provided a spark of energy off the bench when Tech was down big early against Louisville. Stephens in particular will be a defensive key and will likely be a big part of Tech’s plan to limit Blossomgame.

Where to Watch:

7:00 PM at McCamish Pavilion!

If you can’t make it out, tune into your RSN Affiliate to watch from home.