What to Expect: Georgia Tech

  • 03/13/2017 12:32 pm in

Indiana is headed for the National Invitation Tournament. The 18-15 Hoosiers will travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Tuesday night at Hank McCamish Pavilion.

The Yellow Jackets, the No. 6 seed in the Syracuse quadrant, are 17-15 overall and 14-4 at home. The game will be broadcast at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN with Mike Morgan and Paul Biancardi on the call:

Indiana’s 2016-17 season, which began with great promise, is now destined for a secondary postseason tournament. The Hoosiers weren’t among the 68 teams selected for the 2017 NCAA tournament and accepted a bit to the NIT as a No. 3 seed.

Normally, the higher seeded team hosts in the NIT until the semifinals rounds, which are played in New York at Madison Square Garden. But the Hoosiers are the only higher seeded team without an arena conflict not hosting their first round game.

Why?

The official word from Indiana is that the decision not to host was made because students are out of town for spring break and students make up a significant portion of ticket holders. Indiana also said it would host any subsequent games in which it is the higher seed that are played on March 20 or later.

While the absence of students might be a part of it, declining enthusiasm and fanbase anger about the state of the program can’t be dismissed as serious considerations for the decision, either. The last time Indiana hosted an NIT game, just over 5,000 fans showed up.

Whatever the reason for Indiana’s decision to decline hosting, the games must go on. Indiana, once ranked in the top 3 of the Associated Press top 25 poll with wins over two No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament, is an NIT team.

MEET THE YELLOW JACKETS

Georgia Tech was projected to be one of the worst teams in the loaded Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets exceeded expectations this season and finished 8-10 in the league with a 7-2 record in conference games at McCamish Pavilion. Among the home victories for the Yellow Jackets: North Carolina, Notre Dame and Florida State.

The surprising season for Tech earned first year head coach Josh Pastner ACC coach of the year honors. And it appears Georgia Tech is hungry to play in the NIT with Pastner telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “We’ll need to play, obviously, really, really well, but it’s a great opportunity for our program. One, it’s postseason. Two, it’s Indiana. Three, it’s a home game. Four, it’s national television. It’s huge for our program.”

Tech is playing a tight rotation with just seven players seeing major minutes recently.

The frontcourt anchor is 6-foot-10 junior Ben Lammers, the ACC defensive player of the year and a second team All-ACC selection. Lammers is second on the team in scoring at at 14.3 points per game, leads the team in rebounding at 9.3 per game and plays a team-high 35.2 minutes per game.

Lammers commits just 2.6 fouls per 40 minutes and has the 27th best block percentage in the country. Lammers is also a reliable free throw shooter as he knocked down 76.2 percent from the stripe in conference play.

Quinton Stephens, a 6-foot-9 senior, joins Lammers on the front line. Stephens is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per game and second in rebounding at 7.6 per game. He finished the season as the ACC’s ninth best defensive rebounder. Stephens also hit 47 3-pointers this season, but shot just 30.7 percent.

ACC all-freshman guard Josh Okogie looks like a building block for Pastner. The 6-foot-4 Okogie leads Tech in scoring at 15.5 points per game. Okogie was third in the ACC in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) at 58.3 percent and knocked down 74 percent from the line in league play.

Joining Okogie on the perimeter are 6-foot-2 senior Josh Heath and 6-foot-2 junior Tadric Jackson. Heath was fifth in the league in assist rate in conference play, but is also very turnover prone. He is, however, a solid finisher (54.4 percent on 2s). Jackson is Tech’s third leading scorer at 11.8 points per game and is a high usage, low efficiency offensive player. Jackson made just 26.2 percent of his 3s and 55.8 percent of his free throws in ACC games.

The name to know off of the bench is 6-foot-4 freshman Justin Moore. He averages 4.4 points in 20.4 minutes per game.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

Georgia is an elite defensive team that struggles to score. Indiana, on the other hand, is a very good offensive team that struggles to get stops. Which style of play will win out?

The impressive numbers on Tech’s ledger include the nation’s seventh best defense at .91 points per possession allowed and a top 40 opponent free throw rate number. The Yellow Jackets had the best 2-point field goal percentage defensive in ACC games and also the top block percentage. Quality looks could be difficult for Indiana to come by.

Both teams are turnover prone, but the Hoosiers should have an advantage on the offensive glass if they’re aggressive. Georgia Tech was just seventh in defensive rebounding percentage in the ACC.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The NIT is all about a team’s mindset. It’s not a desired destination for any team and winning the event means relatively nothing nationally. Which team will have come out with the mindset of doing whatever necessary to keep its season alive?

The Vegas line currently favors Indiana by 4.5, but Pomeroy likes the Hoosiers by just one. Sagarin favors Georgia Tech by roughly four once adjusted for home court.

When Indiana beat Kansas and North Carolina in November, this isn’t the outcome that anyone expected come March. But less than four months removed from that win over the Tar Heels, an NIT road game is IU’s reality.

(Photo credit: Mike Comer/Getty Images North America)

Filed to:

  • I suspect that they’re defense is going to be smothering as well, since that’s one of those things that pure motivation can positively affect. They’re playing in the NIT after their first-year coach won ACC COY honors — I’m sure they’re happy to be playing in the NIT but probably think they deserve to be in the big dance. I expect they’ll have a chip on their shoulder, and I have no idea how our players will respond. Even if our guys are also motivated — say, to support CTC — things like shooting aren’t so positively affected by a high energy level.

  • GaHoosier

    IS ANYONE GOING TO THE GAME?

    My seats are in section 114.

  • Jiron52000

    I am attending. I am a GAHoosier as well. When they beat GT, I plan to head to Athens to watch them beat UGA as well!

  • GaHoosier

    Assuming we get past GT, then I will also head to Athens (hoping for night game) to watch them beat the Dawgs. One game at a time.

  • Jiron52000

    I will see you there. I will be screaming Hoo, Hoo, Hoo, Hoosiers! I will never quit rooting for my team!

  • Missing Moye

    The juniors have had 3 seasons of practice and game experience – the freshman have barely gotten to play (especially in the case of Jones/Gelon). I think the experience is more valuable to them than someone who’s gotten years in the system. I’m not sure how much difference one or two games is going to make for the upperclassmen, but might make a huge impact on the young players.

    It’s not the first time we disagree and won’t be the last. I’m not sure who won the JBJ debate. His defense did get better this year, but was it really serviceable?

  • Missing Moye

    Funny the difference a year makes. I went back and was reading comments from this time last year. I was taking a lot of heat for warning everyone not to get too carried away about CTC’s results last season, that it takes more than 3 months of a turnaround season to erase 17 years of coaching habits. I see pretty much all of those people in favor of making a change now. This isn’t really intended to be a “I told you so” sort of post, but rather just pointing out how bad of a season it was to have adamant folks shift to the complete other side of the fence.

  • I’d call that one a draw. JBJ’s defense did get a touch better, I’d argue, but I’m not sure we could really tell because the team defense took a step back. I never thought it would ever be great, but I thought it would be good enough with better team defense around him. Alas.

  • IUMIKE1

    Right, it’s not like defense became a problem all of a sudden this year. If he hasn’t been able to see that defense, is, and pretty much always has been a problem, then Crean isn’t going to have an epiphany and say, man I think I better hire a defensive specialist.

  • IU84

    Glass and Crean are incompetent morons. Only when IU fires Glass does IU athletics have a chance. Glass middle name is Medicore. He’s fine with it.

    FIRE GLASS & CREAN — the incompetents

  • Shaggy_C

    Since Glass has taken over as AD, IU has had a national championship in soccer, multiple B1G championships in basketball, B1G championship in swimming and diving (not to mention the huge number of IU olympians in Rio), B1G champions in Track and Field, back to back bowl games for football, IU baseball back to back B1G champions…Seems to me like we’re living in a bit of a golden age of IU athletics, at least compared to decades past. All of this has been done while greatly improving the facilities for both fans and athletes and creating an “Athlete Bill of Rights” that sets a model for how collegiate sports should treat their players. Hardly fair to call him an “incompetent moron” given the results of his efforts.

  • Shaggy_C

    The 1980 Indiana Hoosiers won the B1G and made it to the Sweet 16.

  • N71

    For me it would be seeing the Missouri AD in the stands.

  • Tcuomo

    Memphis fans disagree

  • Fifer39

    LOL! That could backfire too though!

  • pcantidote

    If he can somehow pull off a miracle and bring in a great / elite basketball coach then you’d have to argue that he may be the greatest AD of all time.

  • RMK Assembly Hall

    Sure sounds like an I told you so comment. 🙂 Most of us have been wanting to move on from Cream since the Sweet 16 Syracuse game. We saw all that we needed to see that game when it came to CTCs limitations. Time to move on.

  • Shaggy_C

    I think the great Ralph Floyd will probably forever hold that title, but I don’t think Glass has been too shabby!

  • Brad

    Is that the game when Crean said at halftime that “we don’t need to make any adjustments” and then we proceeded to get stomped in the second half?

  • Brad

    I’m not sure where you see that they love playing together. There is no leadership or player accountability on the team. They seem quite disinterested most of the time. Bryant is constantly frustrated with his teammates and JBJ is just out there trying to get his. If he cared about the team he would play more inspired.

  • pcantidote

    Sure sounds like a hindsight is 20 / 20 comment. Let’s be clear, anyone calling for his job after the Syracuse game is a moron. Period. Context matters.

  • John D Murphy

    I don’t really disagree with anything you said. I just don’t think our shooting is random our in our control. Teams that don’t allow us to sit at the 3 pt line disrupt our offense and this team doesn’t seem able to cop or adjust. Even though we don’t have as many great shooters as some of TC’s past teams, this year’s squad seems even less able to adjust. My example is the play that Vic, Will, and Troy lived on: deep on the base line next to the end line about 9 ft out to receive the pass and then attack the basket. Where is it this year? If other teams let us create the spacing (i.e. bad teams) then we have a shot at shooting well. On the other hand, we have shown the ability to outrebound some good teams. I think the rebounding is more in IU’s control and shooting is more a by-product of whom we are playing. Just my opinion.

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  • sarge

    Good for you, thoughts on tonight’s game?!

  • IUBizmark

    Are you implying that playing in the NIT hurt the team?

  • Yeah, I’m not actually familiar with the guy. Just reviewed quickly, not much of a resume — although, it sounds a bit like CTC’s resume only with fewer years in that program. So, I take back my comment in its details, but not it’s gist.

  • vicbert caladipo

    A few interesting tidbits about the NCAA and NIT selections. There was much discussion throughout the year about ranking and the various ranking systems. Most of us didn’t like RPI with a few even thinking they don’t rely on RPI much anymore like in the past. That is false. According to some shows I watched, RPI was the #1 measure in if you got in and where you got in with SOS and road wins also factored high. Who you beat was factored in next. For example Xavier, a team I felt shoudn’t have gotten in or at least been a 10 or play in because of 13 losses got in with a 36 RPI and winning 9 road games. Vandy with 15 losses was another team most thought shouldn’t have made it but they beat 5 top 25 teams. 3 were against FLA(which I is BS, just cuz you got another teams #). They had an RPI of 38. Most feel the biggest seatng snubs were Wichita ST at 10 and UW at 8. Both their RPIs were in the 30’s and WS had a terrible SOS even though they won 31 games. In contrast IU needed to win the tourney to get in because their RPI was so bad. Someone posted yesterday that recruits didn’t want to come to IU cuz we of missing the dance. They said in jest, “come to IU where you can be the 69th best team. In reality when you consider how the NIT fields were picked(last four outs were the #1 seeds in the NIT) we were the 79th best team being the last 3 seed picked so 11th best in the NIT. Add that with 68(NCAA) and you have 79. Guess what our RPI is? Yep, 79. So there ya have it as far as what committees find most important. Now as far as reality goes and what actually happens in the tourney, it is the advanced metrics that are the true test, specifically BPI. Of the last 5 champions 4 were in the top 3 in BPI with UConn being the only exception, but they were the exception to every rule that year. Also the last 3 years EVERY 12 and 13 seed that beat a 4 or 5 had a better BPI than their higher seeded opponent. If you are looking to fill out a bracket say always pick the team with the better BPI. So if this year holds true, the top 3 BPIs are Vill, GONZ, and UNC and as predicted earlier, I’m going with Gonzaga. Enjoy the games. GO IU!!

  • Arch Puddington

    Then we basically agree. I mean, there is no disputing that some teams are better than others at disrupting our shooting, and it sounds like Georgia Tech will be one of them. Rebounding can only help (as will keeping our turnovers to a minimum), but if we shoot poorly, whether due to their good defense or just a cold night, we are almost certain to lose. We just don’t do enough other things well to make up for it if we are not hot. If there is any good news, it is that Georgia Tech does not appear to be very good on offense, although even there there are concerns. Their leading scoring is their PG, and he has only taken 60 3-point shots all year (for comparison, TB has taken 59), but has taken 204 FT’s (our highest total for a guard is Blackmon with 84). So what’s clear is that he makes his living by penetrating and getting fouled. As I don’t need to tell you, we are not exactly skilled at stopping that kind of player. Hard to see a victory here.

  • RMK Assembly Hall

    Haha I know right. How wrong us morons were. 😉

  • pcantidote

    It isn’t a question of right or wrong, it is a question of context, which I wouldn’t expect a moron like you to appreciate.

    If you are firing a coaching who just built on a solid 2012 season, spent a decent portion of 2013 as the #1 team, won the B1G outright, earned a #1 seed in the NCAA, and advanced to back to back S16s, well then you are virtually firing almost every coach every year. It’s moronic and they just isn’t any other way to look at it.

  • I think that is a much different situation. Considering they won the NIT and then gained Isiah Thomas.

  • RMK Assembly Hall

    Perhaps you can calm down and avoid personal attacks with unseen strangers over the internet. Lol. Moving on was not the decision to be made at that time. But that game showed a lot about what type of coach he was. He wasn’t a good long term fit here. Context blurred reality to the less discerning, making it less obvious to some genuine fans. Time clearly has revealed what we saw that night unfortunately.

    Great guy and family man. Good coach with strengths and weakness. Time to move on.

  • pcantidote

    Well then if it wasn’t the decision to be made at that time, then there wasn’t much sense in carrying on like a fool about firing him then, was there? You saw nothing that night. Nothing that profound can be gleaned from one game. You were just butt hurt and not emotionally intelligent. Sorry for the personal attacks but it is “fans” like you that are the problem.

  • RMK Assembly Hall

    Man, you know me so well. I’m pretty sure that you’re the “butt hurt” one attacking me over nothing.

    Indiana fans are some of the smartest in the country. They know a good coach when they see one. I can’t wait until they get the right fit!

  • RMK Assembly Hall

    Yeah that’s the one! There was something about Crean that I just wasn’t sure of. And that game raised major red flags. Unfortunately it was a major precursor of things to come.

  • To watch, or not to watch. That is the question.

  • RMK Assembly Hall

    What problem exactly? im just not sure who is the emotional “butt hurt” one here. Indiana fans are very intelligent and wish for a top notch coach. We know one when we see one!

  • The direction of sports seems to be going in a different direction. Basketball, football, baseball, soccer. A mediocre

  • pcantidote

    Toxic negativity.

  • No. But that 1979 team also didn’t have Isiah Thomas.

  • RMK Assembly Hall

    I don’t cheerlead for mediocrity. Offense wins games, defense wins championships. Ctc wasnt a fit. I wish these “toxic” fans you speak of had more of an impact years ago.

  • harrison hoosier

    can the Tom Crean era (error) finally be over after this no-show at GT? The man makes $6 per MINUTE every minute of every day and the best we can do is 18-16?

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