After a thrilling victory in Georgia Tech’s ACC home opener against Miami, the Jackets are set to face the Yale Bulldogs out of the Ivy League at McCamish Pavilion Saturday night. If you were excited for the Nerd Bowl vs Northwestern, I think we have raised the bar! Yale is 7-8 overall this year with key losses to Creighton, Wisconsin, and TCU but are coming off a win over Kennesaw State, 89-74.
Coaching the real Bulldogs (roll tide!) in his 19th season is James Jones. He was the Ivy League Coach of the Year back-to-back in ’15 and ’16 and is the winningest coach in school history. In 2016 Yale made it to the NCAA Tournament but sadly lost to Duke in the second round 64-71. With only two seniors on the roster, Yale is depending on some young but talented players to get the job done while continuing to develop.
The main youngster for Yale is the 6’7” sophomore out of Porter Ranch, California #24, Miye Oyi. Coming into this match-up Oyi is averaging 17.2 points per game and is shooting 35% from behind the arc. He has no problem putting shots up and is either on fire or less accurate than Jacob Eason trying to find the open receiver. Against Albany he was 2 for 10 from three and has gone 1 for 6 multiple times, but then goes 4 for 7 against TCU. If Tech can make him shoot tough shots early, it could cause him to not find his rhythm at all or ideally when it’s too late.
Another young talent for the Bulldogs is the 6’10” freshman out of West Palm Beach #20, Paul Atkinson. Most of the shots he takes are high IQ plays (big shock, right?) and his field goal percentage reflects that at 71.3%. Atkinson is coming off a 20-point game against Kennesaw State but like most freshman, he sometimes disappears and has long scoring droughts. Defensively, he plays longer than he is and has a nice wingspan that gives him the ability to affect shots or even block them. This leaves me questioning why he only has 4.7 rebounds per game. He has the tools to make it happen on the glass, so for him it is about continuing to learn the game on the collegiate level and putting a whole game together…hopefully right after Ben Lammers drops a 30 piece on him.
One of the few upperclassmen for Coach Jones is 6’7” junior #32, Blake Reynolds. He was second on the team last year in made three pointers but is only shooting 29% this year while averaging 11.3 points per game. Like Oyi, he is really hit or miss. Against Bryant University he was 4 for 5 from three but turned around next game against TCU and went 0 for 8 on three pointers and 0 for 10 from the field. Don’t get me wrong though, he can still shoot the ball, especially from the free throw line. He has only missed three free throws this entire year and should really try to get there more often. Georgia Tech just has to put pressure on him right off that bat and force bad shot attempts. If his shots fall, give credit, and then clamp down next possession.
Prediction: Georgia Tech should control this game from the start but that remains to be seen. I expect Jose Alvarado to build off of the best 7 turnover game I have ever seen and play well again. Yale does not have anyone in the back court that can control Jose or Jackson. This is another game where Tadric and Okogie should get in the lane whenever they want, and if Atkinson goes up to block the shot, drop it off to Gueye or Lammers for the dunk (grab the ball with two hands AD!). Based on patterns from the past we will play down to the competition and let them hang in all game…I say, nah, time to put a whole game together. Tech by 12.