The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will travel to the Petersen Events Center on Saturday for a tough ACC battle against the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Kevin Stallings is in the midst of a tumultuous season with the Panthers. Pittsburgh lost four of its first five games of the season and the Panthers enter the weekend riding a four-game losing streak in ACC play. Stallings has been forced to start five freshmen after losing senior Ryan Luther for the season with a stress fracture in his right foot. Luther was averaging 12.7 points and 10.1 rebounds for the Panthers in 10 games this season.
Line: Georgia Tech -5.5
Okogie leading improving Yellow Jackets’ squad
Georgia Tech topped Notre Dame 60-53 on Wednesday evening to improve their record to 2-1 in ACC play this season. Josh Okogie scored a team-high 17 points, while Ben Lammers added 10 points and 10 rebounds to help the Yellow Jackets win their third straight game. The Yellow Jackets enter the weekend ranked in the top-50 in several defensive categories.
Josh Pastner’s squad has limited opponents to just 96.2 points per 100 possessions (43rd in the NCAA) this season. The Yellow Jackets have been especially tough on teams inside the three-point arc. Teams are shooting 43.0 percent from two-point range against the Yellow Jackets’ defense this season. Georgia Tech also sports block and steal rates that rank in the top-25 in the country.
Okogie leads the team in scoring on offense, averaging 19.6 points per game. The sophomore has only played in eight games so far this season due to injury and suspension.
Tadric Jackson (13.7), Jose Alvarado (13.1), and Lammers (12.2) help round out the Yellow Jackets’ offensive attack.
Stallings forced to start five freshman
Pittsburgh comes into Sunday’s matchup with a 8-9 overall record and an 0-4 record in conference play. Stallings’ squad has turned the ball over on 22.0 percent of their offensive possessions (311th in the NCAA) so far this season, while only forcing turnovers 16.3 percent of the time on the defensive end of the floor (310th in the NCAA).
Pittsburgh is scoring just 101.1 points per 100 possessions (221st in the NCAA). The team is shooting 52.1 percent from inside the arc (96th in the NCAA), but the Panthers have gotten just 43.8 percent of their total points from there this season (309th in the NCAA).
Instead, Pittsburgh has relied heavily on taking three-point attempts, shooting 46.2 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc (27th in the NCAA).
The problem is, they have only shot 33.1 percent from distance on the year, which ranks 256th in the nation.
- Yellow Jackets are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 vs. Atlantic Coast.
- Yellow Jackets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Panthers are 0-6 in the last 6 meetings
- Panthers are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 vs. Atlantic Coast.
The Panthers have struggled against top competition, going 0-7 in top-100 games. While this technically doesn’t qualify as one of those games, this is still a very tough Georgia Tech team. The Yellow Jackets are better than their record indicates. They played more than half of the season with their leading scorer (Okogie) and are fresh off of two wins against opponents that ranked in the top-30 on Ken Pomeroy’s College Basketball Rankings. They don’t shoot a lot of threes, but they should be able to cover the number at home against Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.