Tuesday, January 17, 2012

a civil conversation with From The Rumble Seat

It is a thrice-yearly ritual, and a pleasure of course, to swap questions with the Georgia Techers at From The Rumble Seat.  That is the next hoops opponent, so it's that time again.  You probably know the drill by now, and the other half the conversation is found at FTRS.

1. Is life without Paul Hewitt everything you thought it would be? Compare Hewitt and Brian Gregory for us.
Hewitt was a recruiter and a politico in the basketball world. He had more friends outside of Georgia Tech than inside. He recruited well nationally. He wasn't a great regular season coach but really performed in short turnaround settings like tournaments comparatively speaking.
The big difference we've seen with Brian Gregory is that he is a much better in game coach. He doesn't have the accumulated talent or experience of some of Hewitt's better teams yet so it's hard to compare their successes and failures. I think most Tech fans are happy to see a team fighting on every play and playing strong team offense. Also, Brian Gregory won Tech's first game in Athens, Georgia in 13 tries.
2. Being temporarily homeless and playing at the Hawks' arena, what kind of home court advantage will GT enjoy on Thursday?
There won't be much of an advantage, I would venture to say. Duke fans were in force against Tech in the last home game and I'm not sure where the student body even sits in Phillips Arena. If there are more than a few thousands fans, I will surely be impressed.

3. What kind of defense will GT deploy? Is it any good?

Tech uses mostly man defense from what I've seen. We feel like we match up athletically with most teams we've met. Unfortunately, the defense hasn't really limited Georgia Tech. Turnovers and poor shot decisions have really limited this squad. The defense is actually not too bad. We're limiting opponents to 61.5 points per game (5th in ACC) and have the second best field goal defense in the conference at 0.382. Once again, we're just hamstrung by execution on offense.
4. What's the best way to limit Glen Rice, Jr.?

Going back to question 3. If Glen's cohorts are limited, he will be limited. GRJ needs Mfon Udofia, Jason Morris, and Brandon Reed to play well so the defensive focus can be put entirely on him. If Mfon is having a turnover heavy night, GRJ and the rest of the offense will struggle. Glen Rice has been fairly good for us this season but he cannot win in spite of other key players having poor performances. Limit Mfon and you'll limit GRJ.

5. Mike Scott gets the ball in the low post. Who's guarding him? Will Tech see if Holsey can handle him, assign big-ass Daniel Miller to the job, or will Scott see nothing but double-teams til his head spins?
Daniel Miller has been playing the 5 pretty well defensively and Holsey is very athletic 4. I imagine Scott will see a mixture of guys rotating against him. Daniel Miller is leading the team with 2.8 blocks per game. He's 9th in the ACC in total rebounds per game and just behind John Henson in blocks per game.

6. Also you must make a final score prediction. It is the only way.
UVA is playing really well. I see the Cavaliers knocking off Tech in Atlanta by about 12. I'll give the Hoos a 67-55 win.
Time to take this opportunity to point out that Mike Scott made the midseason watch list for the Wooden Award.  Tolja so.  I don't expect that he's the best player in the country, but official confirmation that he's one of the top 25 is nice to see.  He's probably top 15 or so.  Of course, the commentary on the article is still pretty pacist.  Not sure how some of the names mentioned as potential all-Americans got the nod over Scott.  I'll stipulate to one thing: some of those players are on really good teams, surrounded by better players than we have, and their stats would be better if they were the unquestioned top dog the way Scott is.  That said, #EndPacism.
UVA also held steady in this week's coaches poll and moved up a spot (tolja so again) in the media poll, assisted by Louisville's WTFer against Providence and Michigan's ugly loss to Iowa (dammit.)  The next game the Hoos will likely be the underdog in will be the road tilt at Florida State (though it's possible we might be dogs by a point or so at NC State) and thus there's a fair-to-decent chance we exit January at 19-2.  I wouldn't bet on it, because all basketball teams have inexplicably shitty games at one point or another and we're certainly not impervious to that.  Lunardi seems to think the Hoos are in for one or two of those, because he suggests that by season's end, we'll end up in an 8-9 game.  I'm much more optimistic than that, of course, but maybe irrationally so.

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