Moses Wright was an efficient 8 of 9 shooting in Tech's home game vs. Florida A&M (photo credit to ramblinwreck.com)

After a brutal loss to uGA and, on top of that, losing our top 2019 target to the dwags, the Yellow Jackets needs a big morale and confidence boost. That chance will come tonight against the Wright State Raiders out of Dayton, Ohio. The Raiders play in the Horizon League with a current record of 7-5, without having played a Power 5 conference (P5) team. In his second year following a stint at South Dakota State, Scott Nagy is the man in charge for the Raiders and is coming off an impressive 20-win season. This season Wright State is a very heavy guard led team, with multiple guys getting playing time at the same position.

The leading scorer for the Raiders at 13.6 points per game is 6’3” senior #13, Grant Benzinger. This guy is a straight up sniper who I witnessed first hand last year. He put up a 32 piece against Georgia State one year ago and almost left Atlanta with the win. He can fill it up quickly, and if we try to guard him like Fletcher Magee we will be in trouble. This is a game where we should not be playing zone.

Also in the backcourt for Coach Nagy is 6’4” senior #1, Justin Mitchell. He is the second leading scorer at 11.2 points per game and leader in assists with 35 this season. He rarely comes out of the game and when fatigue sets in, he is prone to turning over the basketball. His season high of turnovers is 8 against Gardner-Webb. Look for Jose Alvarado to take advantage of this and get multiple steals and fast break opportunities leading to some more Moses Wright/Josh Okogie alley-oops.

The final starting guard for the 3-guard system is 6’4” redshirt junior #3, Mark Hughes. He is averaging 9.9 points per game this season and likes to launch three pointers. In the last game he took 11 three pointers…. he made 2 of them. His season high of three pointers made is 4 and he has done it twice, both going 4 for 6 from the three-point line. If he just spots up and takes the easy shot he is efficient, though he likes to try and create and that is where all the misses occur.

The big man for Wright State is 6’11” redshirt junior #22, Parker Ernsthausen. He does not have much offensive game but still averages 8.9 points per game. He relies on over rotation by the defense and getting easy put backs/layups. Defensively he struggles keeping his arms up and tends to hack. If Lammers plays (as he probably will) expect him to be at the free throw line a lot this game.

The other big is 6’9” 275 pounds #11, Loudon Love. 275 pounds might be a little generous because this is a big boy. As you can imagine he sets hard screens and is hard to move off the block. This is a player Ben Lammers might have some problems with on the boards. While in the game, Love is relentless and is determined to get the rebound as he averages 8.3 boards in 24.1 minutes per game.

Prediction: If Georgia Tech can contain Grant Benzinger and not let him go off, the Yellow Jackets should win by double digits. I expect Jose Alvarado to have a nice game with steals and assists. Okogie and Tadric should be able to get into the paint to draw fouls and convert lay-ups due to poor defense from Benzinger. Moses Wright is once again the wild card tonight, but I think he puts up 15 and is a beast in transition like in the FAMU game. Tech by 12.

Tech coaches, players and fans hope to see a 100% healthy Ben Lammers on Sunday (photo credit to ramblinwreck.com)

Coming off a well-needed break for finals and healing nagging injuries, the Yellow Jackets are set to take on Florida A&M University on Sunday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion. The Florida A&M Rattlers better known as FAMU are 1-12 this season with their lone win over Albany State.

The leader of FAMU is Coach Robert McCullum. McCullum is in his first season, after spending the previous 3 years as an assistant coach for the Oregon Ducks. He knows that he has a rebuild on his hands and is focusing on changing the culture for the Rattlers.

The Rattlers tend to depend on three main players to succeed, starting with 7-footer #34, Isaiah Martin. He is a long lanky big man who does his job: rebound and try to affect shots at the rim. Another key player for FAMU is a 6’6” senior wing #0, Desmond Williams. Williams is just that solid upperclassmen that can do a lot for a team but doesn’t excel in any aspect. He is a player that McCullum can trust and will be on the floor for most of the game. For scoring, FAMU turns to senior guard #22, Marcus Barham. He is the shooter of the group and can score in bunches. In his last game against Stephen F. Austin he made 5 out of 7 threes while putting up 26 total points.

Prediction: Georgia Tech SHOULD dominate this game and win by double digits. I will be looking to see if Ben Lammers looks healthier and gets back to attacking the boards and blocks like we are used to seeing. I want to see Curtis Haywood II take more shots and be more assertive. He is arguably the best three-point shooter on the team and just needs to trust his skills and trust Coach Pastner that he will not be pulled for shooting the open shot. I imagine another solid game for Jose Alvarado as he can continue to grow as our point guard of the future and present. This game is set up for AD to have a huge game, but I have feeling Moses Wright takes advantage of the open 15 footers when the Rattlers sag off to help with Lammers. Speaking of AD, I want to see Gueye more assertive around the basket, and be on the perimeter about 0.0% of the time. He is a nice rebounder and enforcer around the rim, but does us no good when he drifts out to the three-point line. Lastly, it will be interesting to see if Josh Okogie dresses and warms up with the team due to Pastner’s comments on his conditioning levels. Personally, I think it would be a good morale booster for Okogie to dress and get that game feel again even though he technically is not playing yet. Deep down I had a weird feeling about the Grambling game, but they have way more talent than FAMU. Tech by 15.

Here’s to not playing Fletcher “Steph” Magee.

Freshman Curtis Haywood III (#13) is 8 for 12 from deep over Tech's last three games (photo credit to ramblinwreck.com)

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.

Tadric Jackson (#1) back in action vs. North Texas (photo credit to ramblinwreck.com)

This is what you all have been waiting for…the Nerd Bowl is here. On Tuesday evening, the Yellow Jackets will play host to the Northwestern Wildcats. The last time Tech played the Wildcats was in 2014, and Tech fought for a 66-58 victory led by Chuck Mitchell’s 13 points. On the very end of the bench for the Yellow Jackets was a guy from Texas named Ben Lammers. The Laminator only played 2 minutes, accumulating 1 rebound and 1 shot attempt…which fell short. Tadric Jackson, who was also on the team, played a whopping 5 minutes and scored 0 points. Safe to say things will be different this go around.

Northwestern is coming off a great season, accumulating a school high 24 wins and receiving the first bid to the NCAA Tournament in school history. In the Big Dance, the Wildcats knocked off our friend Bryce Drew and the Vanderbilt Commodores in round 1. In the second round they lost a thriller to the eventual runners-up, Gonzaga Bulldogs. Leading the culture change and winning way is 5th year Head Coach, Chris Collins. Chris is the son of NBA Coach, Doug Collins (the guy who couldn’t win with Michael Jordan). Chris Collins played at *sadly says* Duke University. After playing one season professionally in Finland, he decided to take up coaching. Collins started coaching as an assistant in the WNBA, then moved onto Seton Hall for 2 years, and eventually back to his alma mater Duke, before making the jump to the head man at Northwestern.

The Northwestern Wildcats are 4-2 so far this season with losses coming against a solid Creighton team and an under the radar all-senior led Texas Tech team. Leading the Wildcats is the 6’3” senior point guard out of Greensburg, Indiana #30, Bryant McIntosh. He has the most assists in Northwestern history and led the team in points last season at 14.8 points per game. The Wildcats run their offense through him, and you will see an endless amount of pick and pops to get him or a spot-up shooter open for a three.

One of those spot-up shooters is 6’5 senior, #20, Scottie Lindsey. To put it in the most formal way possible, this guy gets buckets. He has 8 three point attempts in each of the last 2 games and has a season high of three-point attempts at 11. He averages 17.8 points per game this year with a season high of 26. He will get his shots up, it just comes down to limiting his open looks. If he hits a tough contested jumper, give him props and move onto the next play.

Next in the arsenal for Coach Collins might be a familiar name to Jacket fans. Standing 6’7” out of South Holland, Illinois is #4, Victor Law. Coming out of high school, some including me thought Law was Tech bound. We now know how it played out and Law is making the best of his decision. Law is a long elite defender and is built like Coach Pastner’s former player at Memphis and current Denver Nugget, Will Barton. He was named to the All-Big 10 defensive team and his wingspan is ridiculous. He is no slouch offensively as he has already busted out a 30-point game against Creighton and is averaging a respectable 13.2 points per game this year. Vic Law is a player every team needs on their team, and I am still a little bitter about losing out on him…. good ol’ Brian Gregory.

A duo of 6’8” upperclassmen hold down the front court for the Wildcats, #5 Derek Pardon and #44 Gavin Skelly. Pardon is more of the down low on the block guy, and Skelly stretches out the floor and expands to the three-point line. Last year Pardon lead the Big 10 in field goal percentage at 61.7% during conference play. To go along, Shelly has reached 14 points twice this year already and is shooting 54% from three.

Prediction: Northwestern comes out in a zone, most likely 2-3, to offset the size of their big men and to force the Jackets to knock down the three-point shot. They will likely focus on taking away Lammers and make someone else beat them. I’m expecting that if they do turn to the zone, Tadric will have a big game in the paint from the low block or high post. When he gets the ball close to the basket, he is very hard to guard. Though, this game might come down to if Curtis Haywood II can keep his silky shooting going, along with Tad, Alston, Jose and one of Moses, Evan, or AD hitting the open jumper. Defensively, I am looking forward to seeing how Alvarado handles McIntosh and if he can speed him up causing a few turnovers that we know McIntosh has in him. I think we put it all together in this one, and grind it out against a solid team without Okogie. Tech by 4.

The Governor's Cup

ATLANTA, GA – Tech fans, this one will be short. It’s as tough to write about this game as as it is to continue reading or hearing about it.

We lost. We lost in all three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams. There should be no confusion about the outcome. Georgia Tech was outplayed and outcoached, according to head coach Paul Johnson.

There’s not much else to say. There’s not enough lipstick to disguise the pig today.

Was there a silver lining? No, not from today’s thrashing.

So how did we arrive here this year? That part is unclear.

What is clear is that no one’s expectations were met – not the players nor coaches. Said Johnson, “This [season] was disappointing to me. This season we had a chance – ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ – you can’t play that game but we had a chance for this to be a much better year than it turned out.”

The odds of backing into a bowl game are slim to none. Said Johnson of his team’s prospects, “I don’t think there’s any uncertainty.”

The season ended with a thud, and I will take the opportunity to end this article the same way.

P.S. Go Jackets.