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Georgia Tech Basketball Game Preview: Jackets Take to Road vs Clemson

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Georgia Tech looks to sweep the season series against rival Clemson

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

The last time Georgia Tech and Clemson faced off on the hardwood, the Yellow Jackets came in on a losing streak, getting blown out in their two previous games, each against AP Top 25 competition. Tech was able to come away with a big home win against the Tigers. This time, the Jackets are coming off one of their best weeks in years - two wins against teams ranked in the AP Top 15. With tournament talk starting to swarm around them, the Jackets have the eyes of the nation upon them as they head into the newly renovated Littlejohn Coliseum to take on fellow tournament hopeful Clemson.

The Tigers are off to a rough start in conference play but a strong non-conference schedule is keeping them on the bubble. Last weekend, they broke a six game losing streak, defeating Pitt on the road for their second ACC win. Clemson has a tough road ahead, so a win at home will be paramount to keep their tournament hopes alive.

Resume 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 13-8 5-4 N/A Next 4 Out 61 71 5-5 North Carolina (9) Ohio (106)
Clemson 12-8 2-6 N/A 10 seed 40 31 2-6 at South Carolina (24) at Georgia Tech (71)
Bracketology is from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Record against KenPom Top 50 and best win/worst loss are determined from the current KenPom.com 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 66.5 43.2 39.3 34.7 33.0 68.2 37.1 36.1 15.2 6.3 6.5
Clemson 75.5 69.3 45.3 43.4 35.5 34.5 71.4 34.2 36.3 13.8 8.0 4.7

Georgia Tech (13-8, 5-4)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 30 Corey Heyward Sr. 17.7 2.4 2 minutes played vs Clemson on 1/12
G 11 Josh Heath Sr. 28.8 5.8 8 assists vs Clemson on 1/12
G 5 Josh Okogie Fr. 28.5 15.2 17.9 ppg vs ACC
F 12 Quinton Stephens Sr. 34.1 10.6 8.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.1 bpg
C 44 Ben Lammers Jr. 34.9 14.7 23 points, 10 rebounds vs Clemson on 1/12
6th Man 1 Tadric Jackson Jr. 21.4 10.8 39.7% 3FG%

Clemson (12-8, 2-6)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 4 Shelton Mitchell So. 25.8 8.1 3.9 apg
G 12 Avry Holmes Sr. 28.3 11.1 39.8% 3FG%
F 15 Donte Grantham Jr. 29.9 9.3 80.0% FT%
F 5 Jaron Blossomgame Sr. 33.7 18.4 52.6% FG%
C 50 Sidy Djitte Sr. 24.3 6.3 7.6 rpg
6th Man 10 Gabe DeVoe Jr. 26.2 9.3 1.5 spg

Player to Watch

F Jaron Blossomgame

I talked about Clemson’s All-ACC forward in this space earlier this season, but Blossomgame is so far and away the Tigers’ best player that it’s difficult to put anyone else in this spot. There’s usually a second player that steps up and has a big game but it is near impossible to predict whom that will be. Earlier this season against Tech, Blossomgame scored 20 points on 8-13 shooting but, strange as it is to say when he shot 62% from the field and led his team in scoring, did not have a huge impact on the game.

Last time in this spot, I mentioned that Blossomgame’s three point shot had all but abandoned him this season. A 44.6% shooter behind the arc last season, the senior has had his percentage drop to 26.2% this season. However, since his last game against Tech, he has begun to find his stroke. Over his last four games, Blossomgame has shot 60% from deep on just under 4 shots per game. If he can continue this hot streak tonight, that may spell trouble for the Jackets.

What to Watch

Last time against the Tigers the Yellow Jackets did just about everything they wanted to do and came away with a convincing win. The defense led the way, holding Clemson 8.6% below their season average field goal percentage and 6.3% below their season average from behind the arc. Blossomgame got his, but Tech managed to keep another player from going off. The Tigers’ second leading scorer was Avry Holmes, who had 14 points, but shot only 4-11. Keeping Holmes and Clemson’s other shooters under control will be key again.

On the offensive end, Tech beat Clemson behind big performances from Ben Lammers (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Josh Heath (8 assists). The Jackets pulled away late in the game largely by getting open shots off of excellent ball movement. One potential difference between the last meeting and tonight’s will be the availability and health of Clemson starting center Sidy Djitte. The 6’-10” senior missed the Pittsburgh game with an injured knee. Clemson coach Brad Brownell is hopeful that Djitte will be back but his status is unknown as of this writing. Lammers did well against Djitte last time out, but he is still Clemson’s best option defending the post and his absence would severely hurt their interior depth.

Where to Watch

The game will be broadcast on your RSN Affiliate starting at 7:00 pm ET.