Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-4) at Georgia Bulldogs (7-2)
The college basketball slate is full of excitement today as much of the top twenty-five is in action. The kids are on winter break, the non-conference games are coming to an end, and you know what that means, the college basketball action is about to heat up!
We are featuring a great non-conference matchup today between the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech and the Bulldogs of Georgia.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will take the short trip to Athens, Georgia to face intra-state rivals, the Georgia Bulldogs. The Yellow Jackets come sputtering into this one, losers of three out of their last four games, including a couple of really bad losses to Wofford and Grambling State.
Georgia, on the other hand, is just outside the top twenty-five with a 7-2 record, and already has two big resume-building victories against Saint Mary’s and Marquette.
The Bulldogs are -4.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 127.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.
The Georgia Bulldogs have struggled on the road this season. Both of their early season losses came in hostile territory, against San Diego State and UMASS. Neither of those losses are terrible ones, but I’m not sure either of those teams are hearing their names called on Selection Sunday either. Luckily, tonight they get to play on their home court.
Georgia really struggles to score the ball. At just 73 points a game the Bulldogs are forced to win things on the defensive end of the court, and when you aren’t a consistently good shooting team, you are going to occasionally lose games that you shouldn’t. And that has stung the Bulldogs a couple of times already this year.
The upside on Georgia is what really excites me about them though. The wins over Saint Mary’s and Marquette, both very strong teams that will be playing late into March, shows us that the Dawgs can play with anyone. And they are going to need to this year as the SEC is significantly better than it has been in recent memory.
The SEC boats seven teams currently ranked in the top forty and several other teams just outside of it, including Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, and these Georgia Bulldogs. I can see the league getting six to eight teams into the Big Dance this season, something that is greatly improved over the two or three teams they have gotten in over the last decade.
We are about to find out if these Bulldogs are for real, but first, they need to take care of business at home against the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech just isn’t a very good basketball team this year. They are one of the lowest scoring teams in the country at an abysmal 65 points a game and are only shooting 43% from the field as a team.
Those type of numbers are going to get Georgia Tech destroyed in the ACC. They don’t shoot the three well, they can’t rebound, and they miss a lot of free throws, there really isn’t a lot of good that can be said about the squad this year.
Their one redeeming quality, if you want to call it that, is that the Yellow Jackets have done a decent job of keeping most of their games competitive this year. Of their four losses, they average a margin of loss of just three points. They don’t get blown out, but they aren’t winning many games either.
Both of these teams are atrocious on offense. This game won’t be pretty and could be a grinder of a game that ends up in the fifties. I am all about college basketball, but I doubt I’ll be glued to my screen watching this ugly affair.
That doesn’t mean I don’t see some clear value here though. While Georgia Tech has some moral victories and can boast about keeping the games close, I am not sure I would be bragging about losing close to Grambling State and Wofford.
The big stat that sticks out to me in this matchup, is rebounding. The Yellow Jackets are 228th in the nation on the boards, they give up lots of second chance hoops on the offensive end and get outrebounded regularly.
The Bulldogs on the other hand? They are an elite rebounding team. Georgia is in the top forty in the country snatching up boards, and they are going to get significantly more shot attempts than the Yellow Jackets tonight.
This game is going to be a poorly paced and slow basketball game. Neither team can score, but the Bulldogs can rebound the ball well and are also a great shot blocking team. It won’t be a pretty affair, but I see Georgia wearing down the Yellow Jackets and grinding out a hard-fought victory at home and just barely covering the number.
I have a feeling that this number is going to move towards the favorite so if you like Georgia, and I do, I suggest getting your bets in early. It wouldn’t shock me if this game closed out at -6.5 or -7, so jump on it now.