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50 Days to Tipoff: Opponent Preview - Grambling State, Wofford, and Florida A&M

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These three teams should be three more wins for the Jackets

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

Yesterday Rob started out the opponent previews with three teams that Tech should take care of. Today, we preview two teams that shouldn’t be an issue for the Yellow Jackets and one that could give some trouble.

Countdown to tipoff: 24 days


Grambling State

The Grambling State Tigers were much better last year than they have been recently. They were 15-17 last year and 10-8 in the SWAC (which was the worst conference in basketball last year). Last season the Tigers had four players who were the clear core of the team. This year, they only return one of those and also are breaking in a new coach. Last season they still only finished as 327th in the country. This could return them to their very tough years.

They lose their top three scorers in Ervin Mitchell, Remond Brown, and Avery Ugba (note: Ugba was only a junior last year, but isn’t listed on the roster. I can’t find why). They do return junior guard Nigel Ribiero and promising sophomore guard Ivy Smith. New coach Donte’ Jackson was previously a head coach at DII Stillman College. It is likely that his introduction to Division 1 is likely to be very rough.

Georgia Tech hosts Grambling State on Friday, December 1st. This game should not be an issue for the Yellow Jackets, but who knows. Last year GT just barely eked out a victory against NC A&T who was just as bad as Grambling last year.

Wofford

Last year Wofford finished at 16-17 (10-8), right in the middle of the Southern Conference which was the 14th out of 32 conferences last year. Wofford ranked 142nd in the country. Their coach, Mike Young, has been at Wofford for 29 years, 16 as a head coach. He has had a good amount of success there and has a strong system going.

Wofford was very reliant on five players last season, and they return three of them. They lose guard Eric Garcia and forward Ryan Sawvell as well as key reserve Jaylen Allen. But, they return a whole lot of production. Guards Fletcher Magee and Nathan Hoover as well as forward Cameron Jackson should lead this Terrier team. They also have a lot of experienced backups coming back who will be looking to get into the lineup this season.

Georgia Tech is actually heading up to Spartanburg, SC to play at Wofford this season. This is only one of two road non-conference games and that is one reason that I think this game is dangerous. Wofford nearly took down Tech in Atlanta last season and I think they will be better this year with a lot of returning talent. They shoot the three very well which makes them very dangerous. This is a game to watch out for.

Florida A&M

Florida A&M is in much the same boat as Grambling. Last year they finished 6-23 and only went 5-11 in the second worst conference in basketball. They normally are not much better, but last year was especially rough as the 345th best team in the country (out of 351).

On the bright side for FAMU, they return a ton of experience. Elijah Mays was the only regular rotation member who is gone. Leading the team in 2017-18 will be their top three leading scorers from last year Desmond Williams, Marcus Barham, and Justin Ravenel. In addition, they bring in a new coach Robert McCullum who was previously an assistant at Oregon. Despite that, FAMU is one of the hardest places in the country to win. This team should be improved some, but it’s hard to see them making enough of a leap forward to challenge Tech.

Tech welcomes them on Wednesday, December 6th to Atlanta. This one should be a win for GT.