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Georgia Tech Basketball Game Preview: Boston College Comes to Town

The Yellow Jackets return to ACC play against the Eagles

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

During the preseason, when anyone was asked to predict how the ACC would shake out this season, two teams were always named last. Georgia Tech and Boston College. This afternoon, those two teams will meet on the court for the only time this season (barring an ACC tournament matchup) in what was supposed to be each team’s best, and possibly only, chance at a conference win. Instead, both teams won their first conference game and come into this weekend with a combined 7 ACC wins. While Boston College is still in the ACC cellar, Georgia Tech finds themselves squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble, something that was unthinkable a few months ago.

The Yellow Jackets took a break from ACC play this week, using a game against Division II Tusculum as a chance to rest up, get healthy, and give the bench some minutes. They should enter this game as healthy as they have been in some time. Senior PG Josh Heath rolled his ankle against Tusculum, but is expected to play. His primary backup, freshman PG Justin Moore, missed the last two games with an abdominal injury but practiced this week and may be able to go today. On the other side, the Eagles enter on a 8 game losing streak. They stole a couple of wins to start conference play, but have struggled greatly since.

Team Comparison

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 14-10 5-6 N/A First 4 out 78 80 5-6 North Carolina (10) Ohio (109)
Boston College 9-16 2-10 N/A N/A 190 155 1-9 Syracuse (46) Hartford (329)
Braketology is from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Record against KenPom Top 50 and Best Win/Worst Loss are per the current 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 68.2 67.1 43.5 39.5 35.0 33.1 69.0 37.2 35.9 15.4 6.3 6.3
Boston College 73.2 76.3 45.6 45.8 38.0 34.0 67.2 35.5 34.1 15.4 5.2 2.9

Projected Starters

Georgia Tech (14-10, 5-6)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 30 Corey Heyward Sr. 18.2 2.3 0 FG last 3 ACC games
G 11 Josh Heath Sr. 28.4 5.7 4.7 apg vs ACC
G 5 Josh Okogie Fr. 28.5 15.4 17.8 ppg vs ACC
F 12 Quinton Stephens Sr. 33.0 10.6 8.2 rpg (6th in ACC)
C 44 Ben Lammers Jr. 34.1 14.7 9.4 rpg (2nd in ACC), 3.3 bpg (2nd in NCAA)
6th Man 1 Tadric Jackson Jr. 21.5 10.4 38.7% 3FG%

Boston College (9-16, 2-10)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 0 Ky Bowman Fr. 28.0 13.5 0.99 ast/TO
G 25 Jordan Chatman So. 23.0 8.6 48.8/48.2/94.4 FG%/3FG%/FT% vs ACC
G 1 Jerome Robinson So. 34.1 19.5 (4th in ACC) 1.68 spg (4th in ACC)
F 2 Connar Tava Gr. 27.2 6.5 Teammate of GT F Kellen McCormick at Western Michigan
F 15 Mo Jeffers Gr. 21.0 5.4 5.8 rpg
6th Man 11 A.J. Turner So. 30.6 8.6 21 mpg, 2.7 ppg since moving to bench (3 games)

Player to Watch

G - Ky Bowman

Bowman’s backcourt-mate Jerome Robinson is one of the best volume scorers in the ACC, but Bowman is the more efficient scorer and has the potential to go off in any game. The freshman point guard was the difference in the Eagles’ first conference win, going for 30 points and shooting 7/8 behind the arc against Syracuse on January 1st. He has been excellent since then, proving himself to be a very good shooter. He is still finding his way as a ball handler and sometimes struggles with turnovers (he has more turnovers than assists this season). That said, in their last time out against Pittsburgh, Bowman had 6 assists and just 1 turnover. If that’s a sign of things to come, he could quickly ascend to the ranks of the elite ACC point guards.

What to Watch

In the national picture, Boston College is a supremely average team. According to KenPom, their offensive efficiency ranks 166th and their defensive efficiency ranks 153rd out of 351 teams. Unfortunately for the Eagles, average nationally puts you near the bottom of the ACC, where their offense ranks 14th (GT is 15th) and their defense ranks 13th (GT is 10th nationally, 3rd in the ACC). BC likes to push the tempo; however, their starting guards struggle with turnovers. Their only player with significant minutes and an assist to turnover ratio greater than 1 is 6th man F A.J. Turner (3.6 ast/TO). This lack of effective ball handlers could play into the hands of the Georgia Tech defense, who have had some success forcing turnovers against uptempo teams.

As mentioned in the introduction, Georgia Tech PGs Josh Heath and Justin Moore have been a little banged up but are expected to play. If they can’t go or are limited, Tadric Jackson will likely see a lot of time running the offense. Jackson already initiates the offense often while he is on the court but he could see his minutes increase depending on the other guards’ availability.

Coach Josh Pastner will continue to integrate redshirt freshman F Sylvester Ogbanda into the rotation. Ogbanda saw his first extended minutes against Wake Forest last weekend, fouling out in just 14 minutes. Ogbanda has some potential, and the Jackets just need a few minutes out of him to spell Lammers and Stephens, but the freshman has to reign it in and cut down on his fouling. True freshman F Christian Matthews may have also earned more minutes, following his 8 point performance against Wake Forest. Matthews has some work to do as a shooter and ball handler but is a very good shooter and has a quick release.

Where to Watch

If you’re going to McCamish, make sure to get there early to get your Matt Harpring Bobblehead.

If you can’t make it out, the game will be broadcast on your RSN affiliate at 5:30.