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Yellow Jackets Upcoming Opponent Preview

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We take a look at the rest of the Yellow Jackets' out-of-conference schedule.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yellow Jackets have about a month and five games left before heading into conference play. So far the non-conference season has been pretty unspectacular with a bad loss to East Tennessee State but victories over Arkansas and Tennessee. In these last couple games Georgia Tech has the chance to make a statement before heading into the meat grinder of ACC play.

VCU (5-3)

Notable Wins: Old Dominion
Notable Losses: Wisconsin, Duke, Florida State

This is VCU's first season since coach Shaka Smart left for Texas. The Rams have kept a similar play style of high pressure defense and fast-break offense. VCU is a little bit hard to judge so far. They have no impressive wins, but a trio of close losses to good teams isn't damning. They just had a close loss at Florida State, so they come into this game looking for something out of this road trip.

VCU is led by guards Melvin Johnson (19.9 ppg) and Korey Billbury (11.0 ppg). Johnson is an absolute beast and it is definitely going to be a priority to slow him down. The backcourt of the Rams is their biggest strength and is going to give fits to the Jackets all game. On the other hand, their frontcourt is not very good.  They rotate about four or five players in with none of them being particularly effective. About 40% of the time, VCU runs small-ball, with only one player taller than 6-5.

Keys to the Game

There are two keys to this game for Tech. They have to dominate in the paint. The Jackets have the size and ability to do so, and I expect them to take control of the game. On the other end, Georgia Tech has to handle the press better than they have in the past. VCU is as good as any team in the country at forcing turnovers, so the Jackets will have some, but limiting the damage of the press will determine their success in this game.

Georgia (4-3)

Notable Wins: None
Notable Losses: Chattanooga, Seton Hall, Kansas State

This season has been a huge disappointment so far for the Bulldogs, who have lost their only two games against decent teams, lost to Chattanooga and have not looked impressive against their cupcakes. They had high expectations and have not lived up to them.

Georgia has a very top-heavy lineup with four players averaging above 10 points per game (Yante Maten, Kenny Gaines, JJ Frazier, and Charles Mann). Outside of those four they receive very little offensive production. Yante Maten is their only scorer out of the big men, the rest of the production comes from their strong group of guards.

Keys to the Game

Despite being a much bigger team than VCU, the Bulldogs are a weak rebounding team. Tech needs to take advantage on the offensive glass because the Bulldogs have a very stingy defense.The second key is to not foul.  UGA gets most of their offensive production by driving to the hoop. Tech needs the big men to protect the rim without fouling. Georgia Tech has not given up too many free throws and they can't start this game.

Southeastern Louisiana (2-7)

This is the worst team GT will play all year. They have no wins against a D1 opponent and I don't expect that streak to end at McCamish.

Keys to the Game

As long as the Jackets don't take a team trip to Chipotle, they should win this one handily.

Colgate (3-6)

Colgate is not much better than Southeast Louisiana. They actually have some Division 1 wins, but are still a very poor team that Georgia Tech should have no problem with.

Keys to the Game

Arriving to the arena on time and playing their game.

Duquesne (7-2)

Notable Wins: Penn State (by 26!!!)
Notable Losses: Pepperdine, Pitt

Duquesne is a scary team for the Jackets to play. They are not a great team, but they match up very well against Georgia Tech and play a high variance strategy that lends itself to upsets. They shoot a lot of threes -- almost half of their shots are from behind the arc -- and they are very good at making them, shooting 41% from behind the arc.

Defensively they are not very good, but their biggest issue is that they give up a lot of wide open threes, allowing teams to shoot just as well against them. Georgia Tech has struggled to stop outside shooting and ,outside of Adam Smith, the Jackets are not great shooters, so this matchup spells trouble.

The Dukes are led by Derrick Colter, Micah Mason, and Jeremiah Johnson, all of whom shoot better than 40% from deep. The Dukes actually have the size to match up with the Jackets defensively, but none of their big men are offensive threats.

Keys to the Game

To win this game, Georgia Tech must defend the perimeter and make their open shots.  The Dukes are gonna make some threes but the Jackets really need to focus on not leaving men on the perimeter, even if it means less help on drives.