I know you guys were excited for the Nerd Bowl vs. Northwestern, but tonight we have a match-up that is even better. The Sponsored by Russell Athletics Bowl! Fresh off the game winner against Northwestern in the Big 10/ACC Challenge, which the ACC won by a landslide of 11 games to 3, Georgia Tech sets their eyes on fellow Russell representative, Grambling State. You might know the Grambling State Tigers by their logo. They have a big G, exactly like that one team that Auburn football will be smashing in Atlanta on Saturday. The Grambling State Tigers out of Grambling, Louisiana play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and are led by first year head coach Donte’ Jackson. Prior to joining the Tigers, Jackson was the head man at Stillman College in Alabama. A cool fact about Jackson is during the 2016 season, he held both the athletic director position and the head coaching job for Stillman. Safe to say he was not on the hot seat.
So far this season Grambling State is 1-5 with their lone win coming against Texas-Rio Grande Valley. The toughest game they played was on the road against Iowa, where they played tough but fell short 74-85. The Tigers are a tough team to get a solid read on. Obviously when you have only won one game you are struggling, but at times they play so brilliantly. They hung in with a Big 10 team on the road but then turned around and got beat by teams with effectively the same amount of talent as them.
Running the show for the Tigers is the 6’0” sophomore guard out of Tacoma, Washington #1, Ivy Smith Jr. In the lone win for Grambling State, Smith Jr. had a career high 27 points along with 6 assists. Coach Jackson puts his trust in Smith Jr, and gives him the keys to the offense. As Ivy Smith Jr. goes, the Grambling State Tigers go. Most young guards who have the ball in their hands a lot tend to make mistakes and Smith Jr. is no different. Our guards and wings should be able to get him to cough the ball up.
The do it all guy for Coach Jackson’s Tigers is #11, Axel Mpoyo. He is a 6’8” junior out of Meridian, Idaho. He leads the team in minutes and fills the stat sheet in all different categories. His season high in points is 21 vs Iowa. He has racked up double digit rebounds multiple times this season along with multiple steals a game. Mpoyo is a solid upperclassmen that his coach can rely on.
Prediction: Georgia Tech harasses the guards on the perimeter and gets out in transition. I look for Jose to have a huge game on both ends and at least one alley-oop to Moses Wright. If Tech can take care of business early, we should be able to get Ben some more rest before a big game against Tennessee on Sunday. Tech by 12.