Tomorrow night Virginia Tech (13-5, 3-2 ACC) travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (9-9, 2-3 ACC) in another possible resume boosting game for the Hokies.
Georgia Tech is not as bad as their record indicates, but their 151 RPI ranking would not look very appealing to the NCAA selection committee if the Hokies lose.
The Yellow Jackets don’t pose much threat in the paint; instead they rely havily on their guards to carry the scoring load. Iman Shumpert and Glen Rice Jr. lead the way for Georgia Tech, averaging 29.4 points, 10.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. If they get fatigued, there is plenty of guard help off the bench to step in and not lose a beat.
Georgia Tech’s inability to establish itself in the paint is where they have gotten into trouble. Freshmen Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey have failed to make an impact on a game during their short collegiate careers. This bodes well for a depleted Virginia Tech front court. Any time Virginia Tech takes on a weak front court means two things—Jeff Allen can afford to get into foul trouble and Victor Davila dominates the way fans want to see him dominate every night.
Because Georgia Tech poses a threat from its guards, Virginia Tech is expected to play man-on-man defense—instead of the 2-3 zone we have become accustomed to watch.
There is enough individual talent to defend on Virginia Tech’s starting five. But when Seth Greenburg goes to his bench, he will sacrifice defense for offense. Manny Atkins and Jarrell Eddie have done a great job coming off the bench to provide scoring, but they have not been expected to contribute much defensively.
Erick Green was recently voted the ACC player of the week. He is playing great basketball and enjoying a breakout season so far. With his ability to create his own points at the point guard position, it has freed up Malcolm Delaney to do what he does best—score.
Georgia Tech has struggled with its perimeter defense. At times, they appear to gift wrap an easy three-point shot. Allen and Davila can make life easy for Delaney, Atkins and Eddie shooting on the perimeter by establishing themselves in the paint. By dominating the inexperienced Georgia Tech front court, Virginia Tech’s sharp-shooters will be left open for some easy shots.
Tuesday night’s game is defiantly a trap game for Virginia Tech. Playing on the road against a team that is struggling to play a well rounded game, Virginia Tech cannot afford to overlook their opponent that can play better than their record suggests. Unfortunately a loss to a team ranked outside the RPI-150 doesn’t look good considering the lack of marquee wins.
In a game that can only hurt their chances for an NCAA tournament berth, Virginia Tech needs to shoot the ball well and establish their inside presence.