The day is finally here. A day which is over a decade in the making. On Friday afternoon, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will make their return to the NCAA tournament.
No. 9 Georgia Tech (17-8) vs No. 8 Loyola Chicago (24-4)
KenPom Rankings: Georgia Tech - 31; Loyola Chicago - 9.
Efficiency Rankings: Georgia Tech - Offense 113.5 (25th) Defense 94.7 (51st); Loyola Chicago - Offense 110.6 (49th) Defense 86.9 (3rd)
KenPom Prediction: Georgia Tech 63 Loyola Chicago 66. Georgia Tech is given a 39% chance to win.
Let’s start of by stating this is a very good Loyola Chicago team. They are ranked inside the top 10 on Kenpom and most people will tell you this team is more talented than the team which made the Final Four back in 2018. They are incredibly well coached and play stifling defense, as evidenced by their top 5 defensive ranking.
Players to Watch
Missouri Valley Player of the Year Cameron Krutwig (15.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 57.9% FG, 0.0% 3-pt FG; 67.4% FT) is the big name to watch here. Fans may recognize his name as he was a freshman on the 2018 Final Four squad. A very old school center, he does his work almost entirely in the post, but also leads the team in assists.
Another name to know is MVC defensive player of the year Lucas Williamson (8.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 42.3% FG, 36.0% 3-pt FG; 79.5% FT). Williamson was second on the team in scoring and led the team in assists.
Other key contributors are Braden Norris (8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 43.6% FG, 40.0% 3-pt FG; 82.9% FT), Keith Clemons (7.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 46.4% FG, 46.7% 3-pt FG; 73.5% FT), Aher Uguak (7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 62.9% FG, 35.5% 3-pt FG; 73.5% FT), & Marquise Kennedy (7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 49.6% FG, 23.3% 3-pt FG; 84.3% FT).
About Georgia Tech
Obviously, the big news at this point is the loss of Moses Wright. The ACC player of the year will not be in action due to Covid protocols. The loss is felt even greater given that the frontcourt is the area with the least depth for the Jackets. Will Rodney Howard see significant minutes? Will Tech go with an ultra-small lineup which pushes Jordan Usher or Khalid Moor to the 5? We will have to wait and see what Josh Pastner has in the game plan.