TOP RATED PLAY ON:
Georgia Tech +2.5
I released GT as a TOP RATED PLAY selection a weeks ago, and they didn’t disappoint bringing home another solid Winner over the Panthers, in their final regular season home game…Today, both teams will face off again, but for the first time ever in the ACC tournament.
Pitt’s woes has been on the road this season, where they are just 1-7 in ACC games…And although, this game is now on a neutral court, the Yellow Jackets still possess the same Edges that propelled them to a 61-52 victory in their last game over Pitt.
EDGE #1:….G Tech’s Solid Defense will again be KEY!
G Techs defense provided the main Key Edge to them securing that important win over the Panthers in their first game…And it again will be the Key Edge the Yellow Jackets have to getting another win against them today.
Coming into the ACC tournament, the Yellow Jackets are ranked 3rd in the conf in Scoring defense allowing just 68.8 ppg…1st in the conf in FG% defense allowing just 40.7% shooting from the field….and 5th in 3pt FG% defense allowing just 32.9% from long range.
Nationally, G Techs defense is ranked 7th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com (90.8 points allowed per 100 possessions), having played against 7 teams in the ACC who are ranked in the top 30 as the most efficient offensive teams in the nation.
G Techs ability to use different defensive schemes was effective in keeping the ACC’s best offenses off balance and from finding any rhythm…And the results of that, was many teams struggled to reach their points and FG% shooting averages.
G Techs solid Defense in the 1st Game:
-Result #1: Vs Pitt, G Techs defensive schemes was also effective against the Panthers offense as the Yellow Jackets defense dominated holding Pitts offense, which averaged as solid 74.6 ppg and 44.5% shooting from the field…to just 52 points, 37.7% shooting from the field, just 30.4% from long range and 50% from the line…In addition, they also out-rebounded Pitt 28-25 in defensive rebounding.
-Result #2: After holding Pitt’s offense to 22.6 points under their scoring average and 7.1% below their shooting average…G Tech’s defense has now held 9 of their ACC opponents to 10 or more points below their conf. season scoring averages, and also 11 opponents to more than 5 percentage points below their season shooting averages from the field.
G Techs solid Defense will lead to another win today.
-Forecast: G Techs stout defense, the strength of the team, which led them to victories over NC, Florida St and ND…should be able once again to lead the Yellow Jackets to another win over the Panthers today.
Pitt currently provides an easier mark to conquer twice this season, and it is because their offense, unlike the other top ACC offenses, still ranks near the bottom 1/3rd of the conference in several key categories, except FT shooting…In addition, Pitt’s offense has been cold of late, averaging only 60.5 ppg in their last 6 games, 24 points below their seasons average…And last but most importantly, Pitt’s lack of depth and secondary scoring options to Young and Artis, has already shown the Yellow Jackets how to go about keeping their offensive production in check…Facing a suffocating defense like G Techs without other scoring options is an impossible thing to do with success, as once they adjust to keep scorers out of rhythm, who else can Pitt turn to provide points.
Pitt depends on its offense to lead the way…but once it’s contained, like it was in the first game, Pitt will be out of options as their defense is not strong enough to carry them.
EDGE #2:…..“The Lammerator” will Dominate again.
G Techs center Ben Lammers, who was just named second-team All-ACC and conference Defensive Player of the Year…will be highly motivated today to show the nation why he is deserving of such honor…On offense he ranks in the top 20 in the ACC in scoring averaging 14.6 ppg and 5th in FG% shooting 51.3% from the field…However, it is his play on the defensive end where he is one of the best rim protectors in the nation.
When G Tech changes to their zone defense, Lammers is positioned right in front of the rim making it very hard for opponents to score against…And because he can take away everything at the front of the rim, G Techs defense can dictate the terms of the game…Not many players have that kind of ability.
G Techs center Lammers is also currently the nations #2 shot blocker, averaging 3.45 blocks per game…He currently has 100 blocked shots in 31 games this season…And he is also 3rd in the conference with his 9.3 rebounding average per game.
The bad news for Pitt, which I believe they already know, is that they will still have no answer for Lammers inside…and that is why he will again give the Yellow Jackets another Big edge today.
G Techs center Lammers in the 1st Game:
-Result #1: G Techs Lammers, led all in scoring with 20 points and shooting 62% from the field and 4 rebounds…Pitt had no answer to stop him, especially in the 2nd half where he scored 15 of his 20 points.
-Result #2: G Techs defense had 3 blocks and forced 13 Panther turnovers.
G Techs Lammers should have another dominant day today.
-Forecast: Lammers is a big Key to G Techs offense and with Pitt being so weak on defense, allowing 75.2 ppg, which ranks 254th in the nation…I can’t see him not having another big scoring day…In the first game, it took him part of the 2nd half to score over his average…I can see G Tech running more plays through him today, as Pitt has no answer to stop him.
When he is on the defensive end, his ability to protect the rim with his blocking and rebounding average of 9.3 reb pg gives the Yellow Jackets another reason to lock down on Young and Artis…In the first game, Lammers only had 4 rebounds, but he had 9 rebs in his last game vs Syracuse…So, I look for him to be more productive in this game, which doesn’t bold well for the Panthers.
The bad news again for Pitt, is that their lack of depth and their inability to play strong on the defensive end, will again open this game up to be taken over by Lammers and the rest of the swarming Yellow Jackets team.
EDGE #3:….Pitts Offense & Defense both Struggling.
The Panthers offense was one that possess the fire power and scoring ability to keep up and match any one of the teams in the ACC…No one doubted this, as they have possibly the best 2 offensive players in the ACC in Young and Artis, who averages 20.2 ppg and 19.2 ppg and rank as the 5th leading scoring tandem in the nation, with their 39.4 ppg…In addition, when you add Jeter and Jones with them, you have a team led by 4 senior starters who account for 71.8% (1569-of-2186) of Pitt’s scoring this year…But, even with all of their talent, people still wondered why the Panthers and sitting at the bottom of the conference.
Well, for one, it is because Pitt offense is being undermined by their shitty defense, which is giving up 75.2 ppg (which ranks 254th), 47.4% shooting from the field, 39.9% shooting from long range and 8.6 three-pointer pg in conference play…Their poor defensive play has also led to a -6.4 scoring margin, -2.1 rebounding margin and -1.6 turnover margin.
Everything could be blamed on the defense…But, that is no longer the case as recently, it has not only been Pitts poor defense and lack of depth that is resulting in continued losses…In fact, Pitts once potent offense has gone cold of late, averaging just 60.5 ppg (24 points below their seasons average) in their last 6 games…And with Pitts lack of depth and secondary scoring options, there seems to be no answers to fix it either.
Forecast: Pitts struggled all season…and now with their offense struggling as well…it doesn’t look good for them vs G Techs solid defense.
Other THINGS & EDGES:…..Favoring G Tech.
*Three keys for G Tech – The Jackets are 17-3 this season when they shoot a better percentage from the floor than their opponent… are 13-0 when scoring 70 points and 16-3 when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
Forecast – G Tech in the first game shot a higher% from the floor then Pitt, 46.2% to 37.7%….And they also attempted more FTs than Pitt, 15 to 9.
*Pitt has been outrebounded over the past 4 contests, including a 49-28 edge on the offensive glass….Pitt is 2-11 on the season when being outrebounded.
Forecast – G Tech outrebounded Pitt in the first game 33-31 and I don’t have any reason to believe that they can’t do that again.
*Pitt is 14-4 on the year when shooting a higher percentage from the field than its opposition…The Panthers are 8-2 on the season when shooting over 50% from the field.
Forecast – Again, against this G Tech defense and with the current struggles on offense, I don’t see Pitt being able to achieve either of those stats.
*Pitt is 11-1 on the year when scoring 80 or more points in a game and 4-15 when failing to reach that mark.
Forecast – 80 points scored against this GT defense won’t happen especially since Pitts offense is currently struggling and has only averaged 60.5 ppg in their last 6 games…and G Techs defense also only gives up 68.8 ppg.
Bottom line is G Tech already beat these Panthers last week and with the seasons struggles on defense, now being joined by the Panthers offense that has gone cold in the last 6 games where they averaged just 60.5 ppg, 24 points below their season average…How can any one back these Panthers, and especially against one of the ACC best defenses, led by one of the nation’s best rim protectors, in Lammers.
The Yellow Jackets won for me last week and I am jumping right back on them again in today’s game, which they are currently listed as the Underdog….Wow, I will gladly take those points and ride the Tech train all the way to the bank……GO JACKETS!
Side Note: Pitt is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS loss.
Side Note: Pitt is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
Side Note: G Tech is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU loss.
Side Note: G Tech is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following a SU loss of more than 20 points.
Side Note: G Tech is one of two teams to finish the regular season with a winning record of 3-2 over the top 4 seeds in the ACC tournament…The other was Virginia.