It’s a battle of ACC teams on the floor down in Hotlanta. The Virginia Cavaliers are on the road as they travel to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Saturday night. Virginia was defeated 54-50 on the road by #9 Florida State in their last game Wednesday night. Georgia Tech comes in off a 78-74 home loss to Notre Dame in their latest contest Wednesday night. The Cavaliers own a 42-39 edge in the all-time series between the teams and have won the last five meetings, including an 81-51 triumph at home in the most recent matchup on February 27, 2019.
Virginia Cavaliers Hoping to Regain Last Season’s MagicVirginia won the national title last season under Tony Bennett but also saw three of their key players depart. No longer are Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter out there to make plays on either end of the floor for the Cavaliers. The Virginia system is still the same: a slow pace and grinding out possessions on offense while suffocating the opposition defensively. This season, the problem is trying to figure out where to get the offensive production from. Virginia has yet to put up more than 65 points in a game while being limited to 55 or less on seven occasions. As it stands, the Cavaliers come into this one on a three-game slide where they have scored 53, 55 and 50 points.
The Cavaliers come into this game putting up an average of 55.3 points a game this season, which is 351st in the nation. Virginia grabs 35.1 boards a night while dishing out an average of 11 assists per contest. The Cavaliers are stifling defensively: they enter this contest #1 in the nation in scoring defense by allowing a measly 49 points per game. Mamadi Diakite is the team’s leading scorer as he puts up 13.1 points plus 6.8 rebounds per game this season. Braxton Key (10.4 points, 7.2 rebounds) and Kihei Clark (10 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists) are solid secondary options. Jay Huff, Casey Morsell, Tomas Woldetensae and Kody Stattman all log key minutes for Tony Bennett’s squad. The Cavaliers shoot 40.2 percent from the field as a team on the year. Virginia connects on 5.2 triples per game this season while sinking a dismal 26.6 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers have been average at the charity stripe, hitting 71.4 percent at the line so far this season.
According to KenPom, no one takes the air out of the ball more than the Cavaliers, who are dead last in the nation in tempo with 59.5 possessions per game. Virginia holds the ball the second-longest per possession (21 seconds) in the nation. The Cavaliers are just 321st in effective field goal percentage (45.2 percent) and 347th in three-point shooting. Those poor numbers are tough for even Virginia’s herculean defense (second in defensive efficiency) to overcome. The Cavaliers are third in effective field goal percentage defense (41.4 percent), fifth in two-point field goal percentage defense (40.6 percent) and 15th in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.2 percent) this season.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Seek to Even RecordGeorgia Tech has had a weird season when you look at it in its entirety. The Yellow Jackets opened the season with back to back wins, which they immediately followed with back to back losses. Georgia Tech then won two straight only to drop three in a row, including an 18-point home loss to Ball State. Since that point, the Yellow Jackets have alternated wins and losses in their last eight, including a win over North Carolina at home sandwiched between a road loss at Florida State and a home defeat to Duke. If the pattern holds, Georgia Tech would win here and return to .500 on the season. Then again, with the way the season has gone, why would we expect a pattern to stay true to form?
OH MY, JORDAN USHER 💥 pic.twitter.com/I1C1ICYukG— ACC Network (@accnetwork) January 16, 2020
The Yellow Jackets put up an average of 67.9 points per game offensively, putting them 271st in the nation, which is why the team has struggled this season. Georgia Tech pulls down 35.6 rebounds per contest while dishing out 13.2 assists per game. The Yellow Jackets are 154th in the nation in scoring defense as they give up just 67.9 points per game this season. Michael Devoe leads the team with 16.5 points per game on the season. Moses Wright (13.8 points, eight rebounds) and Jose Alvarado (10.4 points, 5.3 assists) each average in double figures for coach Josh Pastner. James Banks III (10.4 points, 7.5 rebounds), Jordan Usher, Bubba Parham, Evan Cole and Khalid Moore each average at least 3.6 points per game on the year. Georgia Tech shoots 44.6 percent from the floor as a team this season. The Yellow Jackets shoot 28.9 percent from beyond the arc as the team knocks down an average of 4.9 three pointers per game. Georgia Tech is slumping at the charity stripe as they shoot 65.9 percent as a team this season.
According to KenPom, Georgia Tech has done a solid job on the defensive end of the floor. The Yellow Jackets are 90th in the nation in defensive efficiency on the season. Georgia Tech is a stellar 33rd in effective field goal percentage defense (44.7 percent), 78th in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.9 percent) and 38th in two-point field goal percentage defense (44 percent) this season. For good measure, the Yellow Jackets are 46th in block percentage (12.6 percent) on the year. Georgia Tech will push the pace as they are 101st in tempo with an average of 70.3 possessions a night.
The top trends for this contest according to Covers.com:
- Cavaliers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
- Yellow Jackets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games