In the game story:
The multiple personalities of Georgia Tech aren’t just a week-long phenomenon. The team that lost to Georgia last week only to beat No. 5 Duke on Saturday came back to earth Wednesday in an 82-75 loss at Virginia.
Not that the oddsmakers expected any differently.
The No. 20 Yellow Jackets were two-point underdogs to the unranked Cavaliers, which is a pretty good indication of the treachery on the road in the ACC.
That’s a good and fair point. I think it’s a bit over blown, but still, a good point. (About the ACC road treachery, that is)
So instead of claiming their first ACC road win in two years against the team picked to finish last in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets will try to end their drought Saturday at No. 12 North Carolina.
The thing is, theoretically, North Carolina isn’t that much better of a team than Virginia. A lot of UNC’s stature is based on perception and not actual quality play. This season, at least.
For illustrative purposes, I’ll present a chart with Georgia Tech, Virginia, and North Carolina’s AP rankings and Kenpom rankings. The Kenpom rankings represent an honest attempt to quantify production. The AP rankings represent the bullshit summary opinions from a few clueless writers:
Team AP Kenpom Georgia Tech 20 26 Virginia 12 55 North Carolina NR 47
North Carolina has two things going for them that Virginia didn’t. One, if the Dean Dome isn’t the biggest college basketball venue in the country, it’s close. I’ve sat in the nose bleeds at both Phillips Arena and the Dean Dome. The players look like ants at the Dean Dome, they’re fairly visible at Phillips. Some of this has to do with design choices, etc. Point is, it’s a really big venue, and don’t think it won’t be at full capacity when Georgia Tech comes to town. The crowd could be more of a factor.
EDIT: I’m told per Wikipedia that the Dean Dome seats 21,750 and is the 5th largest college basketball venue in the country.
The second thing they have going for them is Roy Williams. I know little about Tony Bennett, but he’s no Roy Williams. And neither is Paul Hewitt….
Continuing with the article:
“It’s been tough,” Hewitt said of his team’s recent up-and-down stretch, which applied to Wednesday’s game as well. “I thought we did some good things in the first half then we got out of our rhythm in the second half. The last eight minutes we didn’t do enough to put the game away.”
Paul, buddy, you’re a good orator. You’re well spoken, you’re good at always saying the right things.
However, you’ve got to quit blaming “rhythm” for all of your team’s problems. I think it’s time for you to admit that this team is flawed in some capacity beyond “rhythm problems”. Rhythm doesn’t lose to Georgia and Virginia. Poor coaching and play does.
Tech was abysmal from the free-throw line (3-for-11 after going 22-for-28 vs. Duke).
What the fuck is that? Seriously. 3-for-11 from the free-throw line? What the fuck is that?
Lawal was only 2-for-6 at the line, missing four in a row in the first half, which would have been five if not for a lane violation.
“Just not going through my progressions,” said Lawal, who had improved his free-throw percentage from 55.9 percent last season to 70.6 percent. “I’ll get in the gym tomorrow, get in about 100, 200 [free throws], get this thing back on track. I was rushing.”
I like how Lawal is stepping up and taking responsibility, here, but this problem goes way beyond Lawal. It’s been a systematic weakness of the team for quite some time now, and there’s really no excuse for it.