Posted: 10:26 am Thursday, March 13th, 2014

7 things to know about Tech-Clemson 

By Ken Sugiura

As we move towards tip-off of Georgia Tech-Clemson, scheduled for 9 p.m. (ESPN nationally, ACC Network in the region, WATL in Atlanta)…

1. I think Tech is positioned well. The Yellow Jackets obviously will have fatigue issues to deal with, but I think getting the first win out of the way is a considerable advantage for Tech. Being able to stay past the first day was of considerable importance to center Daniel Miller, for instance.

I would think a lot of the tension over not having accomplished anything in the tournament is gone. It might be one of those house money situations. Further, the Jackets shouldn’t need any more motivation, but they’ve lost nine games in a row to a team that they must think is not that much better than they are, if at all.

2. That said, the Tigers aren’t schlubs. They were 10-8 in the ACC and are probably on the NCAA tournament bubble. They are extremely efficient on defense, ranking 18th nationally in adjusted points per possession by kenpom.com.

“They’ve got all the pieces,” Gregory said. “They’re big, they’re hard to score on and they’re efficient on offense. They defend you well, they rebound the ball well, they have one of the premier players in the league in K.J. McDaniels.”

3. Perhaps the most important player for Tech will be forward Marcus Georges-Hunt, who will likely be the principal defender on McDaniels, who was named both the ACC player of the year and the conference defensive player of the year. Georges-Hunt may not need to score much, but he’ll have to do a lot of work on the other end. Worth nothing – McDaniels’ only game when he scored in single digits was in the first game against Tech, when he was 3-for-14 for eight points. I’m not going to say Georges-Hunt was solely responsible for that, but I’d think he played a part.

4. I think Gregory is a huge fan of point guard Rod Hall. He mentions him whenever Tech has played them. He described him after the Boston College game as “hard-nosed,” which is pretty high up there on the Gregory list of traits. (I’d guess “tough” is at the top.)

To that end, I think he thinks Corey Heyward could become a player similar to Hall over the course of his career. As a freshman, Hall played 519 minutes with 117 points, 39 rebounds, 34 assists and 28 turnovers.

Heyward’s numbers in 500 minutes – 28 points, 49 rebounds, 45 assists, 24 turnovers. A huge discrepancy in scoring, but Heyward is better (though not by much over 500 minutes) in the three other statistics.

This season, Hall, a junior, is averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 turnovers.

Heyward, obviously, is not much of a scoring threat. That said, he’s not asked to be much of one and he is also still a little more than a year removed from his second ACL tear. He’s shown flashes of burst to the basket, has obvious strength and can knock down an open 3-pointer. I imagine it’s hard to foresee Heyward developing into a solid ACC starting point guard, and perhaps he won’t, but probably the same could have been said about Daniel Miller becoming an All-ACC center when he was a freshman.

5. For whatever you can draw from the first two games, Tech proved it is capable of competing with the Tigers. The game went down to the final minute in the first loss, at Clemson Feb.4, and the Jackets led by nine early in the second half before turnovers and poorly executed defensive coverages gave the Tigers the opportunity to take the game. Tech was completely outplayed by a team that was at a much higher level of energy and players were bickering with each other as the meltdown ensued. It might have been the low point of the season.

Thursday’s game, I feel quite confident saying, is going to be ugly. It’s how games are when Tech and Clemson play.

“You have to play extremely hard, and you’ve got to have great toughness because that’s how they’re a tough team,” Gregory said.

6. Take this for what it’s worth: Clemson shot 47.7 percent and 47.4 percent in its final two regular-season games, a win over Miami and a loss to Pittsburgh. The Tigers were second-to-last in the ACC in league games in field-goal percentage at 40.2 percent. However, Miami and Pittsburgh both shot 50 percent, seven percentage points better than Clemson’s ACC season average for defensive field-goal percentage.

7. Tech is given a 35.6 percent chance of beating Clemson by teamrankings.com. But the Jackets’ chances of winning the ACC title have skyrocketed from prior to the tournament, from .11 percent to .18 percent.

41 comments
juvenal
juvenal

shame-someone goes 0-6 down the stretch, missing a chance for a Forrest moment, & we'll remember the 2 missed FTs & dunk more........

JubalFoster
JubalFoster

A fitting end to the season with another choke job down the stretch. Not much optimism for next year either. I'm pulling for Brian Gregory, but more improvement should have been made this year. 

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

On an earlier blog I stated I would reconsider my opinion of CBG. I have reconsidered it....He STILL sucks. He will be gone after next season!

TruthSpeaketh
TruthSpeaketh

GT is just pathetic at the foul line! Cost them the game.


SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

Yeah, it was.  That was a game we should have won.  Too many shot-clock violations and missed free throws.

POAD2013
POAD2013

The Missed DUNK was crazy.

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

Had to weigh in on the Heyward discussion. He's 9 for 34 from the field this season. That's just under 27%, and it's no accident.  His shot is brutal. He shouldn't be on the team, much less on the floor. Maybe he could walk on for CPJ?

POAD2013
POAD2013

Shooting bad from the FT line and it is killing the jackets.

POAD2013
POAD2013

Won the first half now need to win the second half too.

POAD2013
POAD2013

Some of the Guys I went to High School with have started a distillery and the product is ready to come out.

They are based in Florida. Check their site and have a try when it comes out.


http://adamsandleedistillers.com/

POAD2013
POAD2013

hursday, though it ends up being a huge deal for the Yellow Jacket football team. Rising senior Jamal Goldenreceived a "medical hardship" for the 2013 season, basically resulting in it being considered a redshirt season, after a shoulder injury in the North Carolina game sidelined him for the season.

THE FLATS - Georgia Tech's Jamal Golden, who was one of the nation's top return specialists in 2012, has received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA, basically replacing a 2013 season lost to injury.

Golden, who played as a true freshman in 2011 and earned honorable mention All-ACC honors as a sophomore in 2012 as a specialist, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the third game of the 2013 season against North Carolina. With the waiver, the Wetumpka (Ala.) product enters the 2014 season as a junior with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

"While we anticipated that Jamal would receive the waiver, I am happy for him," head coach Paul Johnson said. "I know it was difficult for him to watch from the sidelines last season, but he has worked hard to get healthy and he is eager to get started again this spring."

As a sophomore in 2012, Golden was the only player to rank in the top 10 nationally in both punt return average (6th/14.59) and kick return average (10th/28.35). Golden was named Tech's special teams player of the year and earned specialist of the game honors in the 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl victory over Southern California.

Prior to the 2012 season no Georgia Tech player had returned a kickoff for a touchdown since 1998, yet Golden returned two kicks for TDs - one in a win over North Carolina and a second in a home loss to BYU.

As a member of the Yellow Jacket secondary, Golden has seen action at safety, cornerback and nickel.

Golden has been cleared to participate in spring practice, which begins March 24th.

via RamblinWreck.com

This is a big deal with Golden being one of Tech's biggest playmakers, not only in the secondary but also on the team as a whole. This year he will be returning to the secondary along with Isaiah Johnson, instantly providing a big relief to a unit that was very depleted last season, before losing Jemea Thomas and Louis Young to graduation.

Golden also comes back as a return man, solidifying the return unit that was a bit of a rotating door in 2013. All that, not to mention that he's the best return man Georgia Tech has had since Jerrard Tarrant and possibly before that. Having two years of Golden's service is a big deal to this team, and something fans everywhere should be very excited about.

Excited to have Golden back for two full years? As he gains more experience, will he be even better than he's been? Excited to have him and Johnson back in the secondary this year?

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

I agree that Poole should be getting at least SOME minutes.  He's a big body and plays pretty good decent.  The problem is he can easily be a liability and quick!  Against Clemson at home a couple of weeks, he got two quick buckets and a nice defensive rebound.  After that, however, he commiteed 3 TOs by himself in 3-5 offensive possessions.  3 TOs in 6 minutes is an easy way to get yourself sit. 

Still think he should get more playing time.  .

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

Agree juvenal.  We need to get Poole in the playing rotation.  Does CBG have him on double-secret probation? It's the ACC tournament---we need all hands on deck, everyone contributing---even if it's just a few minutes. There is not that significant a drop off in talent, if any, so utilize ALL your assets, get your entire team involved in the game (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and have them play their best for whatever minutes they get on the court.  If we lose and CBG uses the excuse that we ran out of gas, then he needs to be fired on the spot. If it's a discipline issue with Poole, then met out the discipline and then move on.  You don't punish a player by not playing him like you're trying to teach him some long term lesson.  There's no time or sense of that.  Have him run laps or do push ups or whatever, but when that's done, it's back to right standing and ready to serve the team in whatever capacity.  We need to play to win...not to prove a point.  The best way to win is have as many players contribute as possible---maximum team effort.  Our goal is to win the ACC tournament despite the .18 percent chance we are given and the only way to win 4 more games in a row is to have everyone contribute. 

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

Robert Carter is good at basketball.   That is all.

DBT Jacket
DBT Jacket

It is hard to explain why Heyward is getting the amount of playing time he is, much less developing into a solid ACC starting point guard. As far as a burst to the basket and the ability to knock down an open 3-pointer, .....surely you jest.

POAD2013
POAD2013

At least the game is at 9 and that is almost 24 hours after the BC game.

juvenal
juvenal

Poole is rested........

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

Agreed.  I think it was a 5-7 minute stretch without a FG tonight.  I'm pretty sure we've gone nearly every game with a drought.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

No surprise coming from a bandwagoner like yourself.  If we win this game, you're mouth is probably shut.  Pathetic.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@drydirtroad  only 1 POOLE got kicked off the other Older Brother is still on the team.

juvenal
juvenal

Bolden did play a little better in the 2nd half, but as i recall, 1st touches were-missed three -almost bad pass-bad pass with frustration foul........

GGee
GGee

Yes, Yes he is. Just think what an extra 20pts, 10rebs would have done this season... Then add on top Traes AVGs for the games he missed or was injured. That equates to atleast a bubble team or last 4 in.

juvenal
juvenal

wish i could remember which genius said the early ACC problems had nothing to do with Jr. because he was nothing special.........my first post on the myajc site disappeared, sunshine.......

charlestonian77
charlestonian77

@DBT Jacket gotta call you out on your 'silly' post. 


let see... jergenson missed 28 games/ season (guard).... morris missed 23 games/season (guard) .... poole missed 18 games/season (guard)... bolden missed 4 games (guard)... golden missed 3 games (guard)  

we were so thin at guard when golden was injured we had to play a WALKON,.

yet you wonder why heyward is getting t he playing time he is?  well for starters he is a good defensive player.  and we are without 3 guards that were ahead of him on the depth chart.

go jackets beat clump sin

POAD2013
POAD2013

@BleedingGold  Miller makes the DUNK to go up by 4 in the OT tech wins. There were some bad calls on both sides. The FTs misses are what killed us the the first 40 min.

juvenal
juvenal

may as well be off the team.......

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@GGee  Probably would have helped a lot.   Might have been the difference in an extra couple of wins, actually.

DBT Jacket
DBT Jacket

@charlestonian77 Give me a break. Heyward is a very limited player, he should only bet playing 7-10 minutes a game max as a backup to Trae at the point. Bolden, Stephens and/or Poole should be getting his minutes. Having him as a starter for our program is a disgrace.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@juvenal  I think the toss was foolish in the UGA game because they showed no propensity for stopping the dive all game.   As for passing, again, I am open to agree with you, but I want to see data that shows more success through the air out of the 'gun as opposed to under center.   

juvenal
juvenal

as we have previously concurred, pitch to A-back not the only thing you can call on crucial 3rd downs, & sometimes you have no option except to pass.......

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@juvenal  I understand what I'm asking for is a lot, but I'm not calling for Roof's termination if he doesn't do it.   


I guess for the life of me, I just can't understand why the diamond/pistol/shotgun thing is such a huge deal for people.   All I've asked for is, from an X's and O's perspective, an explanation for why it would be better than what we do now.   To date, I have not heard one.  If the explanation was based on marketing and potentially helping recruiting, I'd find it a bit easier to grasp.  I am openminded on the issue, though.  I just want to know why there should be a change.   That's it.

juvenal
juvenal

going no matter who is coach-you are actually asking for much more innovation on the D than i am pondering in having the QB shift in the 25 seconds that are allowed IF you are sometimes going shotgun than always snapping the ball from where he lines up........both Gailey & Hewitt could have been fired for cause for probation brought on for not meeting aprs.......at no co$t......

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@juvenal  On offense?   Not really.   I think the offense has acquitted itself quite nicely, for the most part.   I would like to see Snoddy get a shot at B-back, but beyond that, I am satisfied with the performance of the offense, and I don't think something as simple as moving the quarterback a couple of yards back and squeezing the A-backs is some sort of magic potion.


On defense?   I would like to see less blitzing and more creativity.   I'd love to see a five linemen set with one LB and five DB's.   In obvious passing situations, I'd like to see us have two DE's hold the QB in the pocket and drop nine guys into coverage.   


Mostly, though, I'm usually not going to second guess what a coach does if I think it makes sense, much the same as I wouldn't criticize an emergency room MD who is forced to make quick decisions on how to treat a patient, unless it was wildly out of the norm and didn't make sense.   If the people you know want to pony up to terminate a football coach, that's their own business, but it seems silly to shell out $5MM (after the 2014 season) to a football coach not to work immediately after paying ~$7MM (I think) to a hoops coach not to work for a department that finished last year in the red and with no idea who the replacement would be and whether he'd be incrementally more successful.

juvenal
juvenal

initially had a post q:ing why we did not use diamond more, in response to your q if i was happy with the explanation, but it vanished(site was citing tech issues).....guess you were happy with the hints of changes(wait-you don't think we need any, right?)