After a Sunday afternoon thriller, next up for the Jackets is UT Rio Grande Valley, who the Jackets will welcome to McCamish Pavilion Wednesday night. The Vaqueros come into this one sitting at 3-2, with wins coming over Bethune Cookman, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and North Texas.
Last season, UTRGV won just ten games, despite starting the season 9-9. However, the young team returned nearly everyone, including star guard Nick Dixon, who has once again been their best player so far in this young season. Young is averaging 23 points per game, ranking him among the NCAA leaders. Against Texas A&M-CC, he exploded for 39 points in an 82-75 overtime win. Be assured that the Georgia Tech gameplan will focus heavily on bottling up Dixon.
UTRGV is among the smallest teams in the country. Leading rebounder Xavier McDaniel stands at just 6-6. The Vaqueros rank outside the top 150 in offensive rebounding percentage and outside the top 250 in defensive rebounding percentage. Ben Lammers should have a field day down in the post and looks like a good bet to get his third double-double in a row to start the season.
The Vaqueros run an uptempo offense, utilizing a deep bench to keep players fresh. The Jackets will have to do their best to make UTRGV play at their pace and with Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie suspended, Tech will need to get strong contributions from everyone, with lots of players probably seeing the floor in this one.
In both of Tech’s games, there has appeared to be some miscommunication in the zone defense that looked so strong last season. The result has been a pair of big days from behind the line. Through those two games, Tech is allowing teams to shoot nearly four percentage points higher on three pointers than two pointers. Luckily for the Jackets, UTRGV is shooting less than 30% on three pointers and offer a good opportunity to shore up the zone a bit.
After last Sunday’s near loss to Bethune Cookman, anything is possible in this game, especially considering UTRGV already beat Bethune Cookman by 18. While the Jackets should easily handle the Vaqueros, they simply cannot overlook anyone at this point in the season, especially with Jackson and Okogie suspended. That said, Tech is still much more talented and matches up well, hopefully resulting in a commanding win.