Clemson has lost 3 straight ACC tournament games, but Georgia Tech has lost 9 straight to the Tigers. Something has to give. To figure that out and learn more about our closest ACC rival's basketball program, we caught up with Joey Weaver, the head writer at From the Rumble Seat.
STS: Shakin the Southland FTRS: From the Rumble Seat
STS: Daniel Miller is a guy we talk about whenever we mention Georgia Tech. We like guys who stick at a school for 4 let alone 5 years and improve throughout. He has finally become a star player both defensively--getting named to the ACC All-Defensive Team--as well as offensively--posting an Ortg of 116 and being named to the 3rd Team All-ACC. What is next for Miller in terms of NBA prospects?
FTRS: It's definitely looking like Miller will play in the NBA, if only for defensive abilities. He's never really been an offensive stud (he's pretty average offensively), but defensively he's very impressive, and the thought is that teams will like him for that. He's not a flashy pick, and I can't think he's a first-round guy. Realistic is probably the second round, and probably mid-to-late in the second are the best chances for when he'll be taken.
STS: Georgia Tech has loads of potential as a program with a gorgeous new facility located right in Atlanta. You'd expect the Jackets to have a roster with plenty of Georgians, but 13/17 on roster seems a bit excessive, especially when you consider that most of these are not local studs like Derrick Favors. What are your thoughts on the recruiting and the future with Brian Gregory?
FTRS: For some reason or another, Brian Gregory has had a tough time getting the recruiting stuff quite right at Georgia Tech. He did a great job of bringing in Robert Carter Jr and Marcus Georges-Hunt, two guys that have worked out really well, and he secured two talented transfers in Trae Golden and Stacey Poole Jr (the former working out much better than the latter). Somehow though, he's been almost overly concerned with signing players from Georgia, especially considering the lack of talent in-state the last couple of years. There have been more than a few issues with this program that haven't been solved since Gregory took over, but recruiting is certainly one of them.
STS: Speaking of the new facility, I visited for the first time during our second meeting of the season and was completely blown away. Clemson's renderings look extremely similar to what you've done which leads me to ask how the fan reaction to the new home has been and to what level you think it impacts for the program's future?
FTRS: I'd say that the fans love the stadium itself and are very proud of it -- and with good reason. As for what's happened in the stadium, that's a different story. It's a great facility and a really nice thing to show recruits, and so hopefully it has a positive impact in the coming years in some way or another. However, the stadium itself is really just the program's shell, in a way, and unfortunately the last couple of years have been comparable to putting a brand new Mercedes-Benz shell on top of a 1998 Honda Civic body. I mean, it looks really nice...but is the product as a whole really all that good?
STS: Both GT and BC struggled for long stretches last night as they settled far too often. I was very surprised by Daniel Miller's lack of involvement. Surely that wasn't in the gameplan. With that said, what does GT need to win today?
FTRS: I think the "big men" trio of Miller, Carter, and Kammeon Holsey need to have a really good game (on both sides of the floor) to matchup with Clemson's talent inside. At least going toe-to-toe with them and giving their best effort is going to be a must for the Yellow Jackets to have a shot. Beyond that, they need to limit turnovers on offense, badly, and make the most of every scoring opportunity. That includes scoring points in transition, which will be crucial considering how hard points have been to come by for Tech against this Clemson team over the last couple of years.
STS: Do you think last night's overtime session will have any impact on today's game? Could it push Gregory to use a zone defense, which I contend they should utilize regardless?
FTRS: The overtime could have an effect on the game, but how much effect is yet to be seen. The biggest issue fatigue-wise is going to be the Jackets' lack of depth. In Wednesday's game, Tech had 9 players check in to the game, and two of them played 5 minutes or less. After losing Travis Jorgenson for the year and Solomon Poole's dismissal, coupled with Stacey Poole Jr's absence (DNP-Coach's Decision in each of the last three games and only 33 minutes in the last month), and what you have is a really thin team that will break if faced with foul trouble or an injury to any one player. Fatigue could be an issue, but if so it'll be accentuated by the glaring lack of depth in this team.
STS: You just knocked off Boston College for the third time this season. Now we'll try to turn around and do the same to you. Additionally, it would be 10 in a row in the rivalry. Do you see that as something of special significance or it is hardly discussed in GT circles. Finally, do you think it happens?
FTRS: The recent losing streak to Clemson has certainly not gone unnoticed. It's one of the bigger criticisms of Brian Gregory, to be honest, who is a combined 0-6 against the Tigers to this point since joining Georgia Tech. Now, I don't see this game as a "must-win" type of deal for him or anything, and if we do win I don't see it going too particularly far for him. It may just be a monkey off of his back and earn him some short-term goodwill with the fans, but it's not as big as if we were to knock off Duke in the following game or something. As for whether it actually happens, I don't know, and I'm very interested to see. As Boston College demonstrated today, hard as it may be for lightning to hit the same place 3 times, it's just as hard to avoid it when it's already happened twice. I do like Tech's chances a lot more given their recent bill of success and newfound confidence, but picking them to win against a team that's proven time and again to be superior is a tall task for even one of the most optimistic of fans. But, I think it would make for a good story in line with the current run, and I think that the time has come for Gregory to get the monkey off his back in this particular series. Jackets in a close one, 57-55.
STS: We thank Joey for joining us on short notice after their win over BC. You can follow Joey at @FTRSLilBroey. The game is tonight at 9pm on ESPN. If you'd like to read our responses to their questions you can jump on over by clicking here.
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