UVA vs Georgia Tech Preview: A Critical Rematch
In a rematch of UVA’s closest ACC contest this season, the Wahoos travel down to Atlanta to tip off against a dangerous yet inconsistent Georgia Tech squad. With two wins in the last week, the ‘Hoos have been a bit off of late and will be hoping to notch a good win tonight against the Yellow Jackets
What Georgia Tech has done this season
Having lost three of their last five, Georgia Tech is another team in the second tier of the ACC who have a few nice wins including victories over Florida State, UNC, and a dominate win against Clemson, but also have disappointed in games that they could’ve won with losses to Georgia State, Mercer, Duke (hehe), and a 16-point defeat to Louisville.
Breaking Georgia Tech down
Nonetheless, as we saw back in January, this Yellow Jacket team can compete with the best in the ACC as they have a number of top-tier players who will be in the running for a number of ACC honors. Tech is led by a three headed monster of 6’0” point guard Jose Alvarado, 6’5” big guard Michael Devoe, and 6’9” big man Moses Wright. Alongside those three, versatile big man Jordan Usher and small point guard Bubba Parham round out the Yellow Jackets’ starting lineup.
UVA Defense vs GT Offense
Offensively, Alvarado and Devoe are both lights out shooters from deep and are more than willing to chuck up a high volume of shots. That said, they’re each extremely capable handlers who are adept at getting their teammates involved. With Parham, the three of them make up what is essentially a three-point guard backcourt which proved to be a bit troublesome back on the 23rd.
In the frontcourt, both Usher and Wright gave the ‘Hoos fits on both ends of the floor. Usher put up 19 points in that contest while Wright added 13 and five blocks. Wright’s defense against UVA’s pick and roll negated Kihei Clark all game as Tech played drop coverage and relied on Wright to prevent Clark from finishing at the rim. Only in the final minutes did Kihei score his first bucket of the game which more or less sealed the victory for UVA.
UVA Offense vs GT Defense
On the other end of the ball, Georgia Tech runs a variety of different defenses. Of late, the Jackets have used a 1-3-1 zone. Against that defense, the ‘Hoos were very effective once they started hitting shots and stretching the defense out while also finding Huff and Sam Hauser in the middle. With Hauser’s ridiculous efficiency from the midrange (58.3% shooting from the midrange this season) and Huff’s playmaking ability, they’ll look to once again force the Jackets to play man. When Tech does play man defense, they do a lot of switching. So, it’ll be important for UVA to take advantage of mismatches when they arise.
Additionally, the Yellow Jackets’ defense relies on forcing turnovers. On average, their opponents turn the ball over 15.2 times per game. In contrast, he ‘Hoos have posted the seventh lowest turnover rate in the country. One of those patterns is going to break and whichever does could determine the outcome of this contest.
UVA will win if: The ‘Hoos take care of the ball and find their shooters. The offense has been a bit stagnant of late so look for them to find ways to get Hauser and Huff going early. Expect to see Huff screening and popping a great deal to try and pull Wright out of the paint.
Georgia Tech will win if: the Yellow Jackets force UVA to turn the ball over on the perimeter and make the guards beat them. Then, on the other end, they’ll look to Alvarado and Devoe to carry the load as scorers from the perimeter.
Score Prediction: UVA 67 - Georgia Tech 61
This will likely be another slog of a game but I think that UVA will adjust as it is necessary offensively and pull away in the final minutes.
(Image - UVA Athletics)