Georgia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. Georgia State (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
KenPom Rankings: Georgia Tech - 115; Georgia State - 229
Efficiency Rankings: Georgia Tech - Offense 157th, Defense 90th; Georgia State - Offense 256th, Defense 179th.
KenPom Prediction: Georgia Tech 72 - 67 Georgia State. Georgia Tech is given a 65% chance to win.
About Georgia State
The Panthers enter this one sitting at 1-0 on the season after defeating Coastal Georgia by a score of 76-59 last Monday. In the opener, Georgia State was led by Ja’Heim Hudson who finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.
This is the first season for Georgia State under new head coach Jonas Hayes. Hayes comes to Atlanta following a run as an Assistant Coach at Xavier which culminated in him being named as Associate Head Coach in his final season and finally interim head coach for the final 4 games of last season. Hayes replaced Rob Lanier, who left to take the head coaching job at SMU.
The Panthers are a fresh group of faces this season, losing their six leading scorers from last season. However, they are not without talent. Skilled guard Dwon Odom followed Hayes from Xavier. Odom was a highly recruited talent out of Georgia in high school and had some big games in his two seasons at Xavier. Brenden Tucker also transferred in after averaging double figure scoring at the College of Charleston. Junior Evan Johnson enters his third season with the Panthers, looking to take the next step forward after playing in 47 games over his first two seasons. Previously mentioned Ja’Heim Hudson, who had a monster game in the opener, played in 27 games and started in 12 last season as a freshman.
The last two meetings between Tech and State both ended in overtime, with the Panthers winning two years ago and the Jackets winning last season.
Georgia Tech looked pretty rough in the opening half against Clayton State, but things started to click in the second half. While the Jackets are certainly the more talented team in this game, they cannot afford another slow start like they had last game. It also does not help that this will be an away game, playing on Georgia State’s court. Vegas has the Jackets as just a 1 point favorite in this game. However, I think they come out a little more focused and pull away by halftime. After the last game, Pastner mentioned that the ball was sticking too much and Tech did not have enough ball movement on offense.....“The open man’s gotta be the go-to man. The go-to man’s gotta be the open man”. Expect that to be a key focus tonight. Jackets by 10+ in this one.