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Georgia Tech Basketball: Season Predictions

On opening night, we break down our expectations for this season.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Pensa

Most Likely Scenario

Predicting a “most-likely” outcome for this season is incredibly tough because there are so many question marks around this Georgia Tech roster. The Jackets lost significant contributors from last season, but may have the deepest roster in Josh Pastner’s time at Tech. A team which is used to going just 7, maybe 8 players deep now has double digit players who could potentially contribute significant minutes this year. What that means is that there are lots of opportunities for players to step up. While I do expect to see multiple players step up, I struggle to see the Jackets finishing near the top of the conference primarily because of that lack of star power. Additionally, this Georgia Tech team is expected to be one of the best shooting teams Pastner has had but may struggle defensively. This style of play could lead to more streaky performances from game to game and this team might lose a couple games they should win due to a cold shooting night. The Jackets were picked by the ACC media to finish last in the ACC, but I do not see them finishing that low. I expect this team to finish somewhere in the middle of the conference with a record somewhere around .500.

Best Case Scenario

A best case scenario for this Georgia Tech team involves a lot of young players stepping up and taking major strides from last season. Deebo Coleman steps up and becomes a go to scoring option and one of the leading scorers in the conference. The two transfers Lance Terry and Ja’von Franklin do not see a significant drop in production switching from low-major conferences to the ACC and are key contributors. Kyle Sturdivant and Deivon Smith provide great veteran leadership and become one of the more stable backcourts in the conference. Rodney Howard, who I picked as my x-factor for this team, makes major strides in his game and becomes the post presence this team needs in order to open up the floor for all the shooters. The Jackets sweep a relatively easy (outside of Iowa) non-conference schedule and control home court, picking up home wins over Virginia and Duke. They finish with 20+ wins and a berth into the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Worst Case Scenario

This is probably the easiest of the three predictions as it is pretty easy to see how things could go downhill quickly. The Jackets, who finished 12-20 last year, lose three starters in Michael Devoe, Jordan Usher, and Khalid Moore. No one steps up to fill their roles and this team ends up even worse than last year. Young guys like Deebo Coleman and Miles Kelly do not see improvement in their games. The transfers are overwhelmed by the level of competition and do not become impact players. Tech loses a couple non-conference games to lesser quality opponents and then gets overwhelmed in conference play, finishing the season with single digits in the win column. New Georgia Tech Athletic Director J Batt decides it’s time for a change and Josh Pastner is fired at the end of the year.

Jake Grant

Most Likely Scenario

I think the most likely scenario is, as always, a Tuesday game at the ACC Tournament. Given about half the conference plays one, this isn’t all that surprising to many fanbases, but given some of the very real questions that can be asked after last year (see: lack of a serviceable ACC-caliber center), I think it is completely reasonable to expect a somewhere between .450 and .550 ACC win percentage, with likely a slightly better overall record due to the ability to pick up a few games in the non-conference slate. My biggest hope, though, is to avoid all shadows of baffling non-con losses to non-factor low majors. That, I am certain, we can all agree would portend a not-so-fun outcome.

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

Best Case Scenario

Best case for Tech is that everything clicks for the Jackets. Kyle Sturdivant and Deivon Smith have good play as veteran guards, with Miles Kelly and Deebo Coleman take the step forward from the freshman years that seemed to show a lot of flashes of something biggest,. With Rodney Howard leagues better up the middle, Tech is able to once again be a force inside the paint and out from distance. In the best case, Tech is a tournament team going away and gets to show up after the first day at the ACC Tournament. I don’t think this is most likely (see: my most likely entry) but it is certainly within the realm of possibility, especially having not yet seen the team in action.

Worst Case Scenario

There is no middle presence. None of the young talent steps up. Tech eats a second buyout in a four or five month period. Laughed out of the ACC Tournament with a game that is never in doubt after halftime. It would certainly not be very fun.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Sisbarro

This team is picked last in the ACC and on face value if I was someone who didn’t pay attention to Georgia Tech basketball, I’d get why. The Jackets lost their two best players: Devoe and Usher on a team that finished 12-20 and their highest returning scorer averaged 7.6 points last year. I get it - I get why the media would think the Jackets will be bad. However, I just don’t see it. Several talented freshman played big minutes and several first year transfers had to make a big impact last year. The biggest jump is usually seen from first to second year and there are lot of players I can see taking a big step. But who? And how many? Those are the questions that lead to 3 scenarios:

  • Minimal Returning Player Growth and Negligible Impact by Transfers: 12-19
  • Couple Players Take a Step or Impact Transfers (Most Likely) : 17-14
  • Several Players Take a Step + Impact Transfers: 21-11 (NCAAT)

Reed Bakich

Most Likely Scenario

Kyle Sturdivant and Rodney Howard become dependable senior leaders and with an increased role are able to provide modest improvements in production. They get a boost from one other guy - likely Coleman - but there are visible holes in Tech’s lineup and ultimately it caps the ceiling on the team. Again, the state of the ACC allows them to compete on most nights but the current roster doesn’t give them enough firepower to truly surprise anybody and they lack a true identity. They finish somewhere between the middle and bottom of the pack in the ACC.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Louisville vs Georgia Tech Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Best Case Scenario

The best case scenario for this team starts with taking care of a relatively obstacle-free non conference schedule in order to build momentum for ACC play. Entering his senior season, Rodney Howard makes a huge jump like other Tech big men before him and becomes a defensive anchor for which the team creates their identity around. Upperclassmen guards Deivon Smith and Kyle Sturdivant provide steady distribution in the backcourt while. Increased playing time sees Deebo Coleman become a legitimate offensive weapon. Free from injuries, Tristan Maxwell becomes a consistent X factor with his 3 point ability. In a conference with very few elite teams, Tech is able to grind out wins and compete on a nightly basis resulting in a surprise NIT bid.

Worst Case Scenario

In true Tech fashion they stumble out of the gate against an overmatched non conference opponent and never recover. With the departures of Devoe and Usher and limited returning production from the 21-22 season Tech struggles to score without a go to guy for much of the season. Rodney Howard can’t stay out of foul trouble which exposes Tech’s front court depth. None of Tech’s bevy of young backcourt playmakers really develop into an all conference level. Ultimately, Josh’s Pastner’s lack of creativity leaves the Jackets in a position where they can’t overcome an roster that has middling talent. They finish somewhere near the bottom of the ACC standings for the second straight year and Coach Pastner finds himself back on the hot seat.

ACC Media

2022 ACC Preseason Poll (101 total votes)

1. North Carolina (90), 1504
2. Duke (2), 1339
3. Virginia (6), 1310
4. Miami (2), 1138
5. Florida State, 1064
6. Notre Dame, 971
7. Virginia Tech (1), 921
8. Syracuse, 700
9. Wake Forest, 672
10. NC State, 548
11. Clemson, 528
12. Louisville, 477
13. Boston College, 368
14. Pitt, 320
15. Georgia Tech, 260
First-place votes in parentheses