Saturday, February 22, 2014

Georgia Tech Basketball: Yellow Jackets Look To End Skid Against Clemson Tigers

One side of this picture has enjoyed their head to head meetings/Orangeandwhite.com
If it's possible to have a big game when you are 13-13 overall and 4-9 in ACC play, then Georgia Tech has one Saturday vs Clemson.  Brian Gregory played the first 10 ACC games with just nine scholarship players and has played at times with just seven scholarship players.

The Tigers are fighting to get on the NCAA bubble in what has been a surprising season thus far for Brad Brownell's picked to finish 14th in the preseason.   Five points about Saturday's Noon matchup between the Tigers and Jackets. 

1. Clemson is looking for its 9th consecutive win over Georgia Tech.
In addition to the current streak, the Tigers have won 14 of the last 17 meetings.  Clemson has the lowest all-time winning percentage in ACC games all-time (35%) yet hold a 41-31 advantage over GT in regular season ACC games.  Clemson also leads the all-time series 64-59.  Even Bobby Cremins was only 19-21 vs Clemson.  Your average fan would never guess this series record or even the recent dominance as Tech is perceived to be the much stronger program due to their higher level NCAA Tournament success.  The exact opposite is true in football where GT holds a 49-27-2 series lead. 

2. Is Brad Brownell doing a good job or is Brian Gregory doing a bad job?
According to VerbalCommits.com, the average recruiting ranking for the Tigers is 2.8 out of 5 stars whereas the Jackets rank on average 3.4. Despite this recruited talent advantage Gregory is 0-5 vs Clemson while Brownell is 7-0 vs Georgia Tech.

3. If it seems like Clemson wins ALL the close games against Tech it's because they do
The five Gregory coached losses to the Tigers have come by 2,19, 3,3, and 4 points or an average of 6 points.  The average drops to 3 points if you exclude the biggest loss.  Georgia Tech has really struggled offensively against the Tigers failing to score more than 62 points in any of the last seven meetings.  Defensively, Tech has held Brownell's club to an average of 58 points so expect a low scoring game Saturday.

4. Close losses are not just relegated to games against Clemson.
According to @MattThompson87 in games decided by 5 points or less (i.e. the Clemson series) GT is just 16-35 since 2006.  If you remove the 2nd Round NCAA Tournament year of 2010 the record drops to 8-30.  The Tigers are favored by one point Saturday.

5. Does this game have significance for Gregory's future at GT? 
This game is not a make or break for the third year coach; he will back next season.  But, going 0-6 versus your biggest ACC rival adds to the sour taste the 2013-14 season has had.  The biggest complaints against Gregory are his lack of player development.  Losing for the sixth straight time to a squad with perceived lesser talent only add to this charge.

Clemson SB Nation Blog Shakin The Southland has a great writeup on how the Tigers won the first meeting of the season here and mentions the Ken Pom projected score of 57-55.  How would Tech fans handle ANOTHER close loss to Clemson?

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