Saturday, December 27, 2008

game preview: Georgia Tech

Regular content resumes Tuesday afternoon. Sunday and Monday posting is extremely unlikely, but there's a big game tomorrow, so we need a game preview.

Virginia Cavaliers (5-4, 0-0) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-3, 0-0)

Possible starters:


PG: Sammy Zeglinski (12.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.6 apg)
SG: Calvin Baker (9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.3 apg)
SF: Sylven Landesberg (18.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.2 apg)
PF: Mike Scott (10.4 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.1 apg)
F: Jamil Tucker (7.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.4 apg)


PG: Iman Shumpert (11.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 6.0 apg)
SG: Lewis Clinch (18.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg)
SF: Zach Peacock (9.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 apg)
PF: Gani Lawal (16.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 0.6 apg)
C: Alade Aminu (13.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.8 apg)

This is our little teaser of an ACC game; after this, a couple more nonconference games before the real deal begins. It's a good matchup, too. Our first and only game with the Jackets, which is a shame because both teams could use another game like this on the schedule somewhere.

See, Georgia Tech isn't particularly good. So far they look better than us both on the stat sheet and in the standings, but like us they have an ugly blemish of a loss on the record - GT lost to Illinois-Chicago a couple weeks ago.

Point I'm trying to get across here in a very roundabout way is that this is a winnable game, and damn do we need to win it. Their starting lineup is a little bit better than ours (they have two boardmonsters that Mike Scott is going to be hard-pressed to win battles against) but we're a little deeper, with Tech's Maurice Miller out with a broken nose. Part of Tech's struggles, though, had to do with Lewis Clinch's academic ineligibility. Now that he's back, he's taken over the offense to the tune of 18.3 points a game. Clinch is a quantity-not-quality shooter, however, and if the team takes Dave Leitao's sermons about defense to heart, he can be forced into a bad shooting night and gobble up shots from other players besides. Physical play on Gani Lawal is another must - he's second on the team in scoring besides Clinch, but a poor free-throw shooter. Both he and 6'10" Alade Aminu do better from the field than from the line.

The implications of this game are practically nil from a conference standpoint. Both of these teams are looking at a double-digit seed in the ACC tournament and some very tough skating ahead. But neither wants to finish last, and a win here goes a long way towards that. This game will set the tone for the rest of the ACC season and from where we stand now is as close to a must-win as any the rest of the way.