Steven's preview at SectionSix
For the most part, Georgia Tech would like to play at a faster pace. So far they're ranked 16th nationally in tempo, averaging 72.8 possessions per game. But they can be held to much under that by a team that dictates the pace. Against Maryland they played the fastest-paced game of the year with 82 possessions...four days later they played their slowest with just 66.
Now, granted, that 66 possession game came against Duke, possibly the best defensive team in the country. Duke's going to take a lot of teams out of their gameplan.
Coach Paul Hewitt landed one of the nation's top prep players this week in Derrick Favors, but Favors can't help the Jackets' thin rotation this season. Only nine players have seen any significant minutes this year, with three players -- Gani Lawal, Iman Shumpert and Alade Aminu -- averaging over 71% of their potential minutes. Conversely, the Pack doesn't have a single player averaging more than 68.7% (Ben McCauley) and goes 12-strong in meaningful minutes played.
The bulk of Georgia Tech's offense will come from inside the arc (64.2% on 2PT shots, 2nd nationally), so State will need to find an answer in the post defensively that it did not have against Florida State. Lawal will be their primary go-to man, as he's scoring over a fifth of Tech's points (22%).
The Jackets are one-point favorites on the road -- not surprising given how down everyone is on the Pack after the blown game against the 'Noles -- but if the Pack can once again limit their turnovers while turning the other team over, they stand a good chance to win this game at home.
(Sidenote: how is it that the Pack has only turned the ball over 20.8% of the time, and is still middle-of-the-road in this category [180th]? I swear it feels like 40.8%)