2011-2012 ACC Preview: #8 Georgia Tech

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 8th-place finishers, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

As you'll read below, chances are this outside jumper didn't go in (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 7-7

Key Wins:
November 18- Georgia Tech 73, VCU 60
December 7- Georgia Tech 68, Georgia 56

Tough Losses:
December 3- Tulane 57, Georgia Tech 52
December 22- Mercer 65, Georgia Tech 59

Starting Lineup:[table id=19 /]Last Year Against Duke:
February 20, 2011 at Duke- Duke 79, Georgia Tech 57

This Year Against Duke:
January 7, 2012 in Atlanta

The Good: This is one of the best rebounding teams you’ll see in the ACC, and if you can control the glass you’ll be able to keep yourself in games. The Yellow Jackets average 39.3 rebounds per game which is good for 34th in the nation, and rank second in the conference in rebounding margin, outrebounding their opponents by nine boards per game. Their ability to control the glass significantly rebounds opponents’ second-chance opportunities, which is one of the reasons Georgia Tech is third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just under 58 points per game.

The Bad: This team cannot shoot. It can defend, it can rebound, but it cannot shoot. Despite the fact that the Yellow Jackets have shot a very respectable 45.9% from the field this year, they are shooting an abysmal 27.8% clip from beyond the arc. Not a single member of this team’s starting five shoots greater than 31% from 3-point range. This creates a very simple formula for beating Georgia Tech: you jump out on them early, force them to take shots from the perimeter to try and catch up, and you will come away with a win.

The Crazie: For a team that can’t hit the side of a barn door with a 3-pointer, it still boasts the fifth-best field goal percentage in the conference. This is a testament to how efficient Georgia tech is inside. It’s no secret- they will attempt to control the paint to win a basketball game. Glen Rice Jr. only shoots 30.8% from beyond the arc, but he shoots a staggering 65.6% this year on two-point field goals. Brandon Reed shoots 23.8% from long range but 50.0% from inside the arc. This is a team that you will certainly have to defend from the inside out, but if you are playing relaxed interior defense, they can hurt you.

Player We Love To Hate: Glen Rice Jr. Not only do the Cameron Crazies love to pick on players with NBA pedigree that might not live up to their fathers (completely ignoring the amount of NBA pedigree we’ve seen in Cameron from Austin Rivers, Seth Curry, Nolan Smith, and Gerald Henderson over the last few years), he also poses the greatest threat to this Duke team. He’s stepped up his scoring game this season, posting 14.7 points per game including 19 or more on four occasions this year. He is also exactly the type of player that this year’s Duke team has trouble defending- a big, stocky wing player that loves to bang around inside. He also rebounds surprisingly well for a player that is only 6-foot-5, pulling down 7.4 boards per game which is good for second on the team.

The Bottom Line: We appear to finally have worked our way out of the ACC’s cellar. This is by no means a bad team, but it is by no means a good team either. In fact, this is one of the most interesting teams in the conference because of the stark contrast between its strengths and its weaknesses. They definitely have the tools to cause teams that are more talented than them trouble, especially when they are playing on their home floor. However, this team is a full step below what you’d consider NCAA tournament material.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina