The Yellow Jackets spent much of conference season with eyes on the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, some poor late season performances put the Tournament out of reach. Tonight, the Yellow Jackets received an NIT invite. Given the pre-season expectations for this team, this is fantastic, but many fans are surely going to lament missing the tournament.
Georgia Tech has been given a 6 seed and will face 3-seed Indiana in the first round at McCamish Pavilion. Normally the game is played at the higher seed, but Indiana’s arena is under construction so the Yellow Jackets will get to host. Indiana started the season very strong with wins against North Carolina and Kansas. But, they started struggling in the middle of the season and really fell apart at the end of the year, ending just 4-9 in the last 13. This should be a tough game.
The Yellow Jackets play their first game at Tuesday at 9 PM at home. Should Georgia Tech advance, they have some interesting possible matchups. Georgia is awaiting in the second should they win their opener against Belmont. That possible revenge match would be in Athens. If the Jackets win 2, they face a possible matchup against Syracuse who the Jackets split with this season.
One thing to note is that the NIT is trying out some new rules this year. These rules seem to be a test run for moving to quarters. The big one is a total change in the bonus system. Instead of accruing fouls per half, fouls are accrued in 10 minute periods i.e. quarters. The fifth foul (and all fouls past the fifth) lead to 2 free throws (same as the double bonus). Once the clock hits 10:00, the number of team fouls is reset. There is no more 1-and-1.
The other change is more minor. If the ball is inbounded in the frontcourt, the shot clock is only reset to 20 seconds, instead of the full 30. This occurs unless the shot clock was higher than 20 seconds at the time of the stoppage, in which case the higher amount applies.
I don’t think these changes will have too drastic of an effect on the game, but I do think it will hurt Georgia Tech some. This slightly diminishes the punishment for fouling and the Jackets are generally pretty good at not fouling. Before teams were only given 3 fouls per 10 minutes before reaching a bonus, while now they have 4 fouls per 10 minutes. Hopefully it does not make too much of a difference.