Friday, December 8, 2006

Commodores look to Go to 12-1 at Home Against Yellow Jackets

For the first time since the 1963-64 season, Georgia Tech will be traveling to Memorial Gym to take on the Commodores in the second of a four-game annual series between the two schools. Last year the Jackets beat the Dores 76-67 in Atlanta. History would appear to be in our favor, as the Jackets are 8-23 against Vandy in Nashville, and 1-11 in Memorial Gymnasium.

However, as much as history has smiled upon us, given our play over the past few weeks and the immense talent of the Georgia Tech team, Saturday could be a very, very ugly game.
Don't be fooled by Tech's youthful starting lineup. Tech PG Javaris Crittenton and F Thaddeus Young were both top-10 recruits last year. Crittenton is averaging 14.8 points and 5.5 assists per game, while Young is averaging 12.4 ppg and 4.4 rebounds per game.

The Jackets are very deep on the bench as well. Ra'Sean Dickey, Mario West, Mouhammad Faye, and Anthony Morrow are all experienced and proven players coming off the bench. They also get a lot of playing time as Tech coach Paul Hewitt does a good job of utilizing his depth.

The Jackets are number 2 in the ACC in scoring offense (86.1 ppg) and lead the ACC in field goal percentage (51.4). However, they do have a tendency to get out of control and not take the best available shot. In addition, defensively this team has struggled mightily since the Maui Invitational where they performed solidly, beating Purdue and Memphis to get to the finals against UCLA. Since that game, the Jackets have allowed their opponents to shoot no worse than 51.7 percent from the field in any half.

Naturally, the biggest key to our game will be our shooting. When Shan Foster and Derrick Byers are on, they are a tremendous scoring combination. In addition, rebounding and second chance opportunities will be of the utmost importance. Georgia Tech has only a minor size advantage, and therefore utilizing good technique and boxing out will be of extreme importance.

Playing EXTREMELY good defense will also be key for the Commodores. As mentioned earlier, Tech has a tendency to force things and take some bad shots (which they also tend to make, I might add). But it is of the utmost importance for the Dores to force bad shots and capitalize at the other end of the floor. Vanderbilt must improve their inside-out game in order to win, as at this point it strictly relies on the out.

All in all, this will be a tough match-up for the Dores, but good shooting and exceptional defense could keep history in our favor.

1 comment:

Seamus O'Toole said...

I'm going to remain--insist on remaining--stubbornly optimistic for the moment. Aside from the ETSU domination, the Dores have looked woefully uninspired in every game to date. It's not that EVERYTHING is going wrong, it's just that we can't seem to put it all together.

We'll shoot well, but turn the ball over. Or we'll force bad shots, but get outrebounded. Or we'll play good defense and draw some key fouls, but won't be able to hit the broad side of a barn from the floor (like last night). Or we'll play an otherwise close game but get into foul trouble, or fail to work the ball inside and draw fouls, or miss free throws when we do get to the line...

I'm not willing to write this team off as bad or even mediocre yet, but we're still a far cry from putting together all the pieces it takes to win (consistently). While the season is long, basketball is the kind of game where once you gel, you can get red hot and put together a streak of wins. For now, I'm holding out hope that Saturday could be the start of a streak where we finally see our guys play together comfortably, all counter-efforts by their head coach notwithstanding.