Georgia Tech (2-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. Northern Illinois (1-2, 0-0 MAC)
KenPom Rankings: Georgia Tech - 119; Northern Illinois - 292
Efficiency Rankings: Georgia Tech - Offense 177th, Defense 77th; Northern Illinois - Offense 291st, Defense 277th.
KenPom Prediction: Georgia Tech 74 - 60 Northern Illinois. Georgia Tech is given an 89% chance to win.
About Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois comes to Atlanta sitting at 1-2 with their lone win coming in their most recent outing against DII Purdue Northwest. In their previous two games, the Huskies lost to DII Illinois Springfield and Northwestern.
Northern Illinois does not have a rich basketball tradition. They are entering year 2 under the Rashon Burno regime, but failed to win double digit games last season, finishing just 9-21. Unfortunately for the Huskies, things are not expected to be much better this season. In the preseason media polls, Northern Illinois was selected to finish last in the Mid-American Conference.
Northern Illinois is led by Junior Keshawn Williams. Williams led the team in scoring last season with 16.3 points per game. In the opening 3 games of this season, he is averaging nearly 19 points per game. Another player to watch is David Coit who is in his first season with Northern Illinois. Last year, playing for Atlantic Cape Community College, he scored over 30 points per game, leading the nation in scoring at the NJCAA Division III level. In the season opener against Illinois Springfield, Coit scored 31 points. Sophomore Zarique Nutter was the MVP in the Huskies win last Monday, scoring 20 points.
The Jackets have had a shaky start to the season. In the opener against DII Clayton State, they went into halftime all tied up and needed a game winner from Miles Kelly to defeat Georgia State last Saturday. That gives me slight concern, but there is pretty much zero excuse to lose at home to a team predicted to finish last in the MAC conference. Vegas has the Jackets as 12.5 point favorites in this one which feels low, but may make sense with the struggles Tech has had to start the season. The Jackets should definitely win, but the question will be by how many points and how early is this one put away. I’ll be hoping for a 25+ point victory, okay with a cover, disappointed with a single digit win, and panicking with a loss.