#89 R.P.I. Georgia Tech @ #57 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech basketball concludes a trifecta of a three-game homestead vs. the other Atlantic Coast “Tech” on Wednesday night down in a pleasant by January standards New River Valley.
The Wrambling Wreck of Georgia Tech attends at 11 up and 6 down on what has been a bit of an uneven if not yo-yo’ing Smothers Brothers kinda of year. As the Yellow Jackets have been stung by inconsistent play, or a lack of mid-range talent(s) beyond a fairly sprite Top-3 or four ballers. Georgia Tech is 3-2 in A.c.c. play and they have been much better at home down in the ATL than they have out on the road all season long. As Georgia Tech does present some difficult internal match-ups in the paint and they probably do court the best pure-Center in Atlantic Coast terms that you’ve never heard of. So this is an oddball match-up of sorts, although what you want to know is… who will win? Read on to find, out…
Georgia Tech Head Coach: Josh Pastner: Age=39, 176–79 (.696) overall, first year 10-6 so far at Georgia Tech.
Kid, Josh Pastner, is a Glen Dale, Wv., native and the son of Marla and Hal Pastner. Hal is a high school/A.A.U. coach and basketball promoter in the Houston (Tx.) area. Josh Pastner knew he wanted to be a coach since he was in the 5th grade. By the age of 13 he was publishing the Josh Pastner Scouting Report of local high school talent in the Houston metro’ area. At the age of 16, the Houston Hoops A.A.U. squad was turned over to Josh Pastner by his father/coach Hal; as this was Josh’s first job as a head coach! While a teenage A.A.U. coach, Josh Pastner coached future NBA players such as Emeka Okafor, T. J. Ford and Daniel Gibson. WOW!
Baller Josh Pastner was a walk-on freshman on the 1997 N.C.A.A. Championship University of Arizona basketball team. After winning the NC2A title, Pastner was able to finish his degree in only two and a half years, taking as many as 33 credit hours per semester. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Family Studies from Arizona in December 1998. He finished his master’s in Teaching and Teacher Education in December 1999 before beginning work on his doctorate and starting his coaching career in 2000 as a graduate-assistant under Lute Olson at Arizona and later at the University of Memphis under John Calipari. On April 6, 2009, Josh Pastner was selected to replace John Calipari as head coach at the University of Memphis. At Memphis coach Josh Pastner only won five conference titles in his seven years as the big whistle; including one C-U.S.A. Coach of the Year award in 2o13. Josh made the March Madness big dance at Memphis his first five season’s; then declined lesser post-season invites in his final two shotgun to Coach-Fu tenured years. Josh is known to be one of the best young hotshot recruiters in the land, including inking the #1 recruiting class nationally for Memphis in 2010. To put it mildly, Josh Pastner is a basketball coach and nothing other than a basketball coach. Coach Josh Pastner also courts a rep’ for lack of post-season success with a lot of one-n-done high roster turnover early entry type talents.
Wrambling Wreck at a glance:
- 7th in blocks (6.4 bpg)!
- 49th in FG percentage D allowed (39.6%).
- 297th in scoring O (67.1 ppg).
- LAST (347th) in 3-point makes per game (3.8)!
- everything else nearly average to a dull C— across the board.
- no injuries listed.
Tech Returning Starters=1
Georgia Tech Strengths:
- 15.4 ppg and a virtual double-double at 9.9 rpg does not suck; and neither does one #44, Ben Lammers. Ben is the Jackets leading scorer and rebounder and FG percentage leader at a deft looking 56.6% this season. The 610”, 228 lb. San Antonio, Tx. native is making a helluva a case for Atlantic Coast Most Improved after posting -pardon the positional pun- after posting a relatively meager 3.4 ppg last year. Can you say a whopping 452% betterment in scoring from this year to last? Or how about an A.c.c. leading 3.3 blocks per game! Good, or should I type out great for third best in the freakin’ Nation! Now mix in 55% overall and 82% from the charity-stripe and you suddenly have a very keen all-around baller who plays both ends of the court pretty damn good. The whispers say that Ben and his boy next door looks -which will get him carded to buy beer until he is well into his 30’s –stacked up 20 lbs. of right-mass this off-season. The book says he has step-out to the elbow range and that he seals the lane well enough, and finishes like a stud at the rim. Ben is a National Honor Society member and honor roll student studying Mechanical Engineering when he is not pursing his interest(s) in studying WWI and WWII on the side. And no, I’ve never read that before in bio’, either. Not half bad for a senior year high school’er who had to have his knee cleaned up and was not VHT (very highly touted) coming out of Texas; (only 19th ranked C in the land). Ergo, to wit, therefore, Ben’ is a Pro’, be that domestic or exported.
- Quinton Stephens is a 6’9”, 197 lb. string-bean looking P/F who actually -somehow- managed to cut 6 lbs. of weight this off-season? Quinton is an elongated, slender looking ‘tweener Forward with excellent shooting touch and range from a perennial winning program at the Marist School. He is said to have a versatility and an textbook approach to the game. He is more of a rebounder and defensor although his O has improved all the way up to a fourth best 10.6 ppg to go with 7.7 rpg albeit on only 35% overall. As Quinton has never quite lived up to his lofty high school numbers in college; even if both of his parents played Pro’ ball overseas.
- 6’4”, 2o7 lb., Josh Okogie (pronounced: “oh-KO-gee”) is a rookie year baller with a big time scholastic Georgia homespun scoring rep’. The book says that Josh is an overall versatile perimeter player with the length; athletic ability and basketball I.Q., which enable him to compete at all three perimeter positions. Okogie can impact the game at both ends of the court and is a multi-dimensional offensive threat, able to create scoring opportunities for him and teammates. Right now Josh is netting you second best 14.2 ppg on virtually five boards to boot. He shoots a serviceable 43% overall, 35% from range and 75% on his FTA’s. Yes, there is room for some betterment there, although a lotta other 18 year old debut collegiate ballers wish they had Josh’s foibles and ceiling; alike. The Lagros Nigeria native won an AAAAAAAA (octa-A) championship in Georgia as a senior and has a very springy/athletic build and look to his game; and Josh also leads the Jackets in steals at 1.3 spg if you need him. Plush he has been on fire in the last couple of weeks earning his third A.c.c. rookie of the week award while dropping 18.4 ppg on average in the process.
Georgia Tech Weaknesses:
- A downright gutting virtual 50 ppg and 20 boards departed the ATL late last spring.
- Georgia Tech was tabled penultimate or 15th in a 15 team A.c.c. race by nearly, everyone preseason.
- Some whispers were less than 100% enthused by the Josh Pastner hiring after such a slipping, almost: defunct Exodus @Memphis.
- After the Top-4 Jacket scorers detailed above/below; scoring is hard to come by and drops to 6 ppg or less for the duration.
Jacket Bench: (depth=1 and change)
Tadric Jackson is a 6’4”, 2o9 lb. third year Koufax or southpaw left-handed pseudo Pt.G. with the ability to score in a variety of ways. Tadric can explode to the basket, create for others, and defend with intensity. Jackson has made the A.c.c. all-Academic team both of his years at Tech after coming to the Jackets on the heels of winning a AAAAAA (hexa-A) state championship with Tift County High School and being named all-class Player of the Year in the state in 2o14. Jackson is said to be more parts distributor and less parts shooter/scorer from the edge. Though 11 ppg, 3 dimes, 3 rebounds and 44% from distance off the pine does not suck. Nor did Jackson’s Top-10 Qb ranking in-state (Georgia); neither his 68th basketball ranking nationally outta high school according to ESPN.com; although his masonic or bricky FT-shooing (50.7%) is a real live bugbear at the moment.
Abdoulaye Gueye and Corey Heyward at least give you some spot minutes here and there off the Jacket pine. Abdoulaye Gueye by way of Dakar Senegal fame is a 6’9”, 211 lb., r-Soph., 7′ 3” wingspan frontcourt rebounder and defender who is pretty under-cooked everywhere else. 1.1 ppg with 3 boards and a block on 38% from the floor and a horrific 25% on FTA’s says, so; although the book here reads that Gueye is developing and that he is a natural leaper who runs the court well enough. Corey Heyward is a 6’1”, 212 lb. r-senior veteran type Pt.G. who looks a bit like Derek Fisher of L.a. Laker fame. Heyward was a AAAAAAA (septa-A) Player of the Year, VHT Georgia high schooler who has seen his collegiate career cut down to size per two ugly left-knee blowouts that have truncated what game he does have left (God Bless, twice). 2.6 ppg on 38% ovearall and 36% from range is about all poor Corey has left. And yes he is the son of “Ironhead” Heward of Pitt and five team N.f.L. bulwark Rb fame; R.I.P. r, Senegal
Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:
Number of Jackets who could start @V.Tech=1, maybe, 2?
The takeaway here is… that this is suddenly a pretty significant game for both Tech’s, although perhaps more so for the other Tech from the ATL.
As this is precisely the kinda game that makes or breaks post-season dreams in just six weeks time; as both teams need to win this one, both teams can win this one, as each team has a couple of favorable match-ups to exploit. Nonetheless, here is what the data mining of trends was able to uncover…
- VT is +1 on rest, and hosting this A.c.c. basketball game where the home team wins 70% of the time in historic terms. EDGE=VT.
- VT does have only one win since last year however, whereas GT has been playing .5oo ball of late. EDGE=GT.
- VT has been 6% better on O overall and 4.9% better from deep on the year. GT however has been the better defensive team overall by 4.5%. EDGE=push.
- In Home/Away terms VT enjoys a huge +16.1% aggregate FG% margin overall and a shiny looking +11.6% advantage from downtown. Significant EDGE=VT.
- However, GT has played the better overall ball in the last two weeks. At +1.9% from the floor; although VT holds a noticeable +9% from beyond the arc.
The one thing those raw differentials are not (quite) tell you is that coach Buzz and companies defense has really slipped of late. 6.6% worse overall on FG% and 3.8% from deep in the last two weeks.
So either Virginia Tech basketball shoots well enough to win this one on the long-ball at home; or they, don’t. As the Stephens and the Lammer’s kid(s) are really bad match-ups for the Hokie front-line down low in the paint no matter how you cut it.
That and I just do not like our combined and growing –29 rebounding deficit since this 25% O&M winning percentage brand of basketball since the New Year began.
As there is something intrinsically off, or tired about this Gobblers hoops squad at the moment; or both. –beyond the extrinsic post match-up ills in the key; which Georgia Tech obviously holds in their favor here in this midweek contest.
(55% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=72, Georgia Tech=75