Previewing Georgia Tech’s 11th game of the ACC season, against Wake Forest. The game will be broadcast on regional sports networks, including Fox Sports South in Atlanta, and on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. More television information here.
Watch out for Thomas
Wake Forest forward Devin Thomas looks like someone who could give the Jackets a lot of problems. He is a physical player and efficient scorer and gets to the line 10 times a game. Given the problems that Tech has had with post defense, Thomas is a candidate for 20-plus points.
Coach Brian Gregory hasn’t hidden his disappointment with his team’s defense, particularly given that it’s often been the Jackets’ strength in his first four seasons.
Odd as it might seem, as I’ve written before, the best offensive season in Gregory’s tenure has coincided with possibly Tech’s worst on defense under his watch. The Jackets are ranked No. 100 in adjusted defensive efficiency by kenpom. Tech’s rankings in Gregory’s first four seasons: 105, 39, 70, 29.
“The ball has been in the paint way too much,” Gregory said. “Way too much.”
The Jackets have won the past 10 games in Atlanta against Wake Forest, a streak that includes games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Philips Arena and McCamish Pavilion. The last time that the Demon Deacons beat Tech in Atlanta, ironically, was Feb. 2004, when the Jackets were on their way to the NCAA final. Wake Forest freshman Chris Paul scored the clinching basket with 12 seconds remaining for the Demon Deacons, overcoming 27 points by B.J. Elder.
Mitchell coming off ‘terrible’ game
Tech forward Charles Mitchell had a season-low two rebounds against Miami on Sunday.
“That’s terrible on my behalf,” Mitchell said after the game.
Mitchell said he was in a position where he was up against an athletic group of front-court players for Miami. His two rebounds came in 29 minutes of play, his most in the past seven games.
Gregory was not ecstatic about Mitchell’s ouput on the glass, nor forward Nick Jacobs (four rebounds in 28 minutes). He said that “there’s an energy and a commitment level to going (to the glass) every time,” both on offense and defense.
After 13 double-digit rebounding games in his first 15 games, Mitchell has had one in the past eight.
Jackson picking it up
A player who has picked up his play is guard Tadric Jackson, who has scored in double figures in back-to-back games (15 points against Duke and 13 against Miami) while shooting 9-for-12 on two-point field-goal attempts. It’s the first time in his career he has had successive double-digit scoring games. Jackson is at his best going to the basket and finishing. I suspect he’ll continue to get more time as long as he sticks to that.
“Tadric’s practicing well and playing well, so he’s going to be rewarded with more minutes,” Gregory said.
Consistency (in one regard, at least)
I had this statistic in my story for Wednesday’s paper and myajc, and it took a little bit of work to figure out, so I’ll write it wherever I can, perhaps even in a football post. I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I found it interesting. Of the 78 teams in Division I who had eight or more conference losses going into Tuesday’s games (which includes Tech at 2-8), the Jackets were only one of two teams that had lost all of its league games by less than 10 points. The other was Alabama State. (The Hornets, you may interested to know, have probably had it even worse than Tech. Their eight losses have been by a combined 36 points and three have been in overtime. They may not be too bad. They beat Virginia Tech in the season opener.)
I think it means that Tech is more competitive in its league than most (or all) eight-loss teams (which is damning with the faintest of praise) but perhaps also that it’s not doing a very good job of winning close games if it has so many losses by close margins. I guess that isn’t exactly news, but I’d say the number does substantiate what is happening with the team.