STS: Shakin the Southland
FTRS: From the Rumble Seat
After a close loss to FSU, Georgia Tech has 11 ACC losses, but only one by double-digits (at UVA). Because of that, it's hard to figure how good the Yellow Jackets really are. Would you say they're closer to the 11-loss cellar dweller that lost to VT or the squad that took Notre Dame, Syracuse, NC State, and Duke to the wire? How much of it is bad luck vs. bad play?
I really do think it's right in between. Due to Tech's rebounding, they can stay with most teams on any given night. That ability to destroy most teams on the glass gives the Jackets a chance at most games that they regularly wouldn't. When that disappears, it really exposes them for what they are - an extremely poor shooting team that struggles to create anything with the half-court offense. I do think most of it is bad play. The main bad luck game of the year was against NC State when the Wolfpack made a buzzer beater from way behind the three-point line to win. Other than that, it seems like Tech is in games because of the reasons stated above, and they don't really have the ability to close games out when they need a basket at the end.
With that said, how's Brian Gregory's job security?
It should be a pretty hot seat for Gregory at this point. He's failed to gain any momentum for the team since taking over. Adding to that is the fact that Tech has failed to get any significant recruits that could alter the direction of the program. With that said, it's been noted that the AD still supports Gregory and is behind him during this process. That could be because they don't want to buy out another contract due to the Paul Hewitt atrocity, and they're waiting for that to be cleared. I wouldn't be surprised if he was fired after this year, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he was given another year.
With familiar names like Daniel Miller, Trae Golden, and Robert Carter Jr. gone, will SF Marcus Georges-Hunt carry most of the offensive load or do the Jackets move the ball around and count on a different player to emerge (if they're lucky) each night like Clemson does?
The offense at this point is pretty much to hope for Marcus Georges-Hunt to score, and if he doesn't, you hope for Charles Mitchell or Demarco Cox to clean it up on the boards. There are of course other guys who can score, but none of them have been consistent enough to be considered much of a threat every night. Georges-Hunt has been pretty awesome this year, and it's tough to see the effort he puts in almost every night not be rewarded with victories. His shooting hasn't been great, but he's been relentless getting to the rim.
Georgia Tech is last place in three-point percentage in league play (31.8%) and under 30% if you include non-conference games. Do you think Clemson should mix in more zone looks as they've done at times or can Georgia Tech effectively attack a zone defense?
A zone defense is definitely a great option against the Jackets. Syracuse implemented it earlier in the year, and Tech looked hopeless against it. Due to poor perimeter shooting, the defense can really set back and look to stop Georges-Hunt from penetrating and not giving good positioning to the big men down low. I expect the Tigers to go to the zone early and see if the Jackets will be able to knock down jumpers.
Clemson is riding a 10 game wins streak against the Jackets, but maybe more amazing is that from 2010 to 2014 those 10 victories account for 24% of Clemson's ACC wins. Given our football struggles at Bobby Dodd, another road win in this series would be especially sweet for us. Does this recent history add anything to the rivalry game for your fanbase?
In previous years, I would've likely said yes to this, but I can't now. The interest in the program has been steadily declining the past couple of years. There are still the die-hard fans that hate losing to Clemson in any sport, but most people are just looking forward to baseball and spring practices at this point. It hasn't been pretty basketball to watch lately, and until the program shows some signs of momentum, I don't expect the majority of fans to give basketball very much significance.
Finally, with KenPom giving GT a 65% chance to win, I'll let you predict the outcome of the game.
Combining a very good Clemson defense with Tech's offense doesn't give me the best feeling about this one for the Jackets. I'm expecting a low scoring battle from the start. Tech will once again dominate the glass, but a poor shooting performance once again dooms the Jackets late in the game when a bucket is needed. The Tigers edge another one out against Tech, 56-54
We thank Tyler Duke for taking time to answer our questions. You can see the other half of the Q&A at FromtheRumbleSeat.com and be sure to follow Tyler on Twitter.