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Georgia Tech Basketball Game Preview: Jackets Start Road Trip against NC State

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The Yellow Jackets look to score another conference upset in Raleigh

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

Four games into the ACC schedule, Georgia Tech has exceeded almost everyone’s expectations. Sitting at 2-2 with wins over North Carolina and Clemson (not to forget the huge non-conference win at VCU), the Yellow Jackets embark on a three-game road stretch starting tonight in Raleigh against NC State. The Wolfpack have had a bit of a disappointing start to the new year. Last time out, the Pack lost at projected bottom-feeder Boston College. The game prior, they lost by 51 to arch-rival UNC.

NC State desperately needs to beat the Yellow Jackets tonight. They are already on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble - a home loss to Tech might knock them so far off the bubble that they won’t be able to recover. For Yellow Jacket fans, it my feel like the team is playing with house money, but there are still plenty of chances to make some noise in the ACC.

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 10-6 2-2 N/A N/A 113 124 2-3 North Carolina (6) Ohio (95)
NC State 12-5 1-3 N/A 8th team out 31 64 1-3 Virginia Tech (43) at Boston College (163)
Best win/loss determined by KenPom Rankings

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 67.1 67.6 42.4% 39.6% 32.4% 34.0% 68.8% 37.1 36.8 14.4 6.3 6.4
NC State 81.7 75.9 48.7% 41.8% 37.5% 31.7% 71.0% 38.5 36.1 15.3 5.5 4.9

Projected Starting Lineups

Georgia Tech (10-6, 2-2)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 0 Justin Moore Fr. 26.1 6.4 3.5 apg
G 11 Josh Heath Sr. 26.3 5.2 79.2% FT%
G 5 Josh Okogie Fr. 28.3 14.0 1.3 spg
F 12 Quinton Stephens Sr. 32.8 9.9 7.8 rpg
C 44 Ben Lammers Jr. 34.3 15.4 3.2 bpg
6th Man 1 Tadric Jackson Jr. 20.3 10.8 43.2% 3FG%

North Carolina State (12-5, 1-3)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 4 Dennis Smith Jr. Fr. 33.2 18.8 6.2 apg
G 3 Terry Henderson Sr. 32.3 15.4 39.6% 3FG%
G 24 Maverick Rowan So. 22.7 10.3 46.3% FG%
F 0 Abdul-Malik Abu Jr. 27.6 11.6 7.8 rpg
C 14 Omer Yurtseven Fr. 21.6 7.4 47.2% FG%
6th Man 2 Torin Dorn So. 29.4 12.9 46.5% 3FG%

Player to Watch

G - Dennis Smith Jr.

The Wolfpack’s rookie point guard is not just one of the best players in the conference, he’s one of the best players in the country. Smith sits at or near the top of many draft boards and it’s not hard to see why. One of our sister blogs, Wake Forest’s Blogger So Dear, did an excellent, in-depth breakdown of the ACC point guard situation and came to the conclusion that Smith was pretty easily the best and most well rounded point guard in the conference. He averages 18.8 points per game, is a good 3-point shooter (37.7%), and boasts nearly a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio. In NC State’s lone conference win, Smith went for 27 points, 11 boards, and 11 assists to record just the second triple-double in Wolfpack history. He does everything and does it all really well.

What to Watch

Against Clemson, the Yellow Jackets were excellent. They got contributions from all over the floor with four players scoring in double digits and Josh Heath recording a season-high 8 assists. To pick up a win tonight, they will need to repeat that performance. NC State is arguably as deep and as talented as any team in the ACC, they just haven’t quite been able to put it all together. That said, the Pack have played much better in the comfort of their home arena. They have yet to lose a home game, beating a good Virginia Tech team by 26 the last time they hosted. Away from the friendly confines, NC State is just 2-5.

One of the keys to the game will be Georgia Tech’s three point defense. Tech’s guards sometimes get a bit too aggressive going after the ball handler at the top of the zone, leaving a shooter wide open. NC State has several shooters that will make the Yellow Jackets pay if they’re given space to operate.

Where to Watch

The game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 6:30 PM.