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Georgia Tech Basketball: Pitt Preview

Georgia Tech Needs To Turn It Around Against Panthers

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech is playing really bad basketball. They’ve now lost 7 straight games and have barely looked competitive in most of those games. They really need to turn it around in the final five games for a respectable finish.

On the other side, Pitt is facing a similar slide. After starting 2-2 in the ACC, they have now lost 9 straight games. Unlike the Yellow Jackets, there have been some close losses (like a double overtime loss to Wake Forest and two 3-point losses to NC State and VT). Jeff Capel’s first ACC season with the Panthers started out surprisingly well, but the team has played down to their expectations since then.

Pitt is lead by freshman guard and former Tech recruit Xavier Johnson. Johnson is averaging 16.7 points per game and over 30% of possessions end with him when he’s on the floor. He is joined by guards Trey McGowens and Jared Wilson-Frame. They average 12.1 and 11.3 points per game respectively on 41% shooting each.

One issue that Pitt has is its size. 6’10” Terrell Brown starts at center, but he plays less than 20 minutes per game and is very inconsistent. As a team the Panthers are blocked on a full 15% of their shots, the worst in the nation. They also give up a 33.6% of possible offensive rebounds, 335th in the country. James Banks has been struggling recently, but he has to on his game tonight to take advantage of this.

Sidy N’Dir, Au’diese Toney, and Malik Ellison also get plenty of play time, all under 6’6”. The only other big man to get any run is 6’9” Kene Chukukwa who backs up Brown at center and only averages 3.9 points per game.

This game is very winnable for the Jackets. The Yellow Jackets on defense need to force turnovers, protect the glass, and avoid fouling. Pitt is not a very efficient offense, but what they do score they score because of their aggressiveness on offensive rebounds and their ability to draw a foul. Offensively Tech needs to start hitting shots against a decent defense and they can help themselves by grabbing offensive rebounds and giving themselves easy shots off of that.

This game takes place at 9 pm eastern at McCamish Pavilion on ACC Network. My prediction is that Pitt breaks their losing streak and picks up the win. Georgia Tech has been playing horrific offense and I haven’t seen anything that makes me think this will change.