Article Reasons To Remain Optimistic After Jackets Lay An Egg

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Reasons To Remain Optimistic After Jackets Lay An Egg

#5 Moses Wright finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds vs. Syracuse(photo credit: ramblinwreck.com)

ATLANTA, GA – There’s no sugarcoating Saturday’s ACC home opener vs. Syracuse.  The Jackets laid an absolute goose egg in more ways than one can comfortably count in a 97-63 loss to the Orange.

No energy.  Slow offensive execution versus the 2-3 zone.  Poor scout and/or poor recognition on defense.  Anemic free throw shooting.  Outrebounded by 10 against a team who just ten days ago was outrebounded by the Nittany Lions of Penn State by 29.

The list goes on.  Others will dissect it.  I will not.  At the end of the day, enough others will do it for us and we’ll end up more frustrated than McCamish Pavilion rims following a charity stripe attempt by the home team.

Speaking of charity, this post mortem will try to make lemonade out of today’s performance. To do so though, this forager requires ingredients from beyond December 7, 2019.  In other words, let’s interpret this game in broader context than a single, isolated data point.

Coming in to today, Georgia Tech’s KenPom adjusted defense was ranked #24 in the country.  Following today’s performance?  Double it, #48 in the country.  Today’s defensive performance was an aberration when compared to the Jackets’ whole body of work.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize how lethargic the Jackets battled on the defensive end today.  That said, effort has rarely been an issue for this squad.  Put me in the corner that believes effort won’t be an issue going forward, either.

How about the offensive end?  What gives?  Tech shot just 38.7% from the field versus the Orange today.  This is materially below a season average of 45.2% in their first six games. Mike Devoe was held to 2 of 12 from the field for 7 total points, well below his season average of 23.8% per game.  This was a decidedly poor offensive performance, but it’s not a sign of things to come.

Some might say the offensive output was due to the Orange’s 2-3 zone, the likes of which teams rarely encounter.  While the Jackets and Orange have engaged in several pry-your-eyes-out battles on the hardwood, there isn’t a clear pattern of performance.  Prior to today, Josh Pastner was 3-1 versus Jim Boeheim.  In Tech’s last game versus the 2-3 in January 2019, the closest game we have to the current roster mix of both squads, the Jackets tickled the twine at the Carrier Dome to the tune of 59.5% on their way to a 73-59 road ACC win.  That performance was a role reversal and surprise to many, including Vegas.

One of the key contributors in that game was Tech point guard Jose Alvarado, unavailable today.  He notched 19 points and proved to be a smooth operator inside the zone.  He along with Jordan Usher are two of the most important pieces to this year’s roster, and neither were available today. At a minimum, both are certain to be a helpful, and hopefully incessant, injection of energy that this team and the fan base needs.  The upside?  TBD, but the evidence suggests Jose is the straw that stirs the drink, and Usher is arguably the best athlete on the team.  With regards to how the full roster projects against the Orange, we get to test the theory when the Jackets pay a return visit to Syracuse in February.

Bottom line is the Jackets have to find a way to claw their way out of another year of postseason purgatory.  Today’s loss is likely meaningful in a bad way for the Jackets’ NCAA tournament resume.  Barring a dramatic turnaround, the Orange are destined for the ACC’s bottom tier this year.  That makes today’s result a “bad loss” in the eyes of the selection committee.

Thankfully, in recent years the bubble has been littered with teams who have proven they can lose to anybody.  The difference between those selected for The Dance versus those who were not often boiled down to “who did you beat?”  The good news for this year’s squad is there is a lot of runway remaining to stack big wins and prove they can play with the best.  Their first opportunity for a big win is one week from today, when the Jackets look to rebound (pun intended) and make a statement in the Bluegrass State against the top 10 ranked Kentucky Wildcats.  Go Jackets!

 
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herb

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
982
Wait. . . Seriously, I thought we were already banned this year from the tournament? Did they overturn that?
 

YlJacket

Helluva Engineer
Messages
2,589
Solid effort. It is only one game. But a really sucky/****ty/horrible very bad day game.

I hope this is a simple as Jose and Usher coming back/on board. However, we have multiple players playing at a level way less than expected/hoped for this year. Today may be simply a bad day against a weird defense or it could be a sign of multiple issues causing our starting center to not start 2 games in a row and players to be checking out. Time will tell - probably not UK where we will get waxed regardless - but shortly after that.
 

GT11

GT Athlete
Messages
265
Still room for optimism . Plan to attack the zone was correct, but didn’t execute. No Alvarado makes big difference. Cuse could focus on Devoe. I’ve seen what they can do when they have all pieces. Usher, Devoe and Alvarado together makes big difference. I’m not given up. I support CJP and the team
 

Peacone36

ACCBasketballReport.com
Contributing Writer
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9,431
Location
North Carolina
Still room for optimism . Plan to attack the zone was correct, but didn’t execute. No Alvarado makes big difference. Cuse could focus on Devoe. I’ve seen what they can do when they have all pieces. Usher, Devoe and Alvarado together makes big difference. I’m not given up. I support CJP and the team

It’s a given that Syracuse would key on the ACC’s top scorer. It’s on our coaching staff to game plan to get others involved.

the part that is the most frustrating is that everyone wants to run and jump on the “Missing Jose” train. According to metrics (I know and I agree) Jose has been one of our worst offensive performers when on the court. His value is his expertise of the zone we run. Fantastic. We may have only given up 80 and lost by 16 yesterday.

We either need to get serious about basketball on an ACC level or join the Sunbelt. We are a basketball school in a basketball conference pretending we are a football school. It’s ****ing tedious.
 

MiracleWhips

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
582
Still room for optimism . Plan to attack the zone was correct, but didn’t execute. No Alvarado makes big difference. Cuse could focus on Devoe. I’ve seen what they can do when they have all pieces. Usher, Devoe and Alvarado together makes big difference. I’m not given up. I support CJP and the team

Yea I’m still pretty optimistic. I’d say yesterday’s loss was a mix of effort and not having our 3rd year starting pg. Question I have is what do you think our rotation will look like once usher and Alvarado are in the mix?


Personally I would like to see a bit more of shembari/usher and a little less from devoe and bubba. Maybe bubba will prove to be a solid contributor once Alvarado returns but he just gives up so much defensively I’d just rather take shembari at this point.
 

GT11

GT Athlete
Messages
265
It’s a given that Syracuse would key on the ACC’s top scorer. It’s on our coaching staff to game plan to get others involved.

the part that is the most frustrating is that everyone wants to run and jump on the “Missing Jose” train. According to metrics (I know and I agree) Jose has been one of our worst offensive performers when on the court. His value is his expertise of the zone we run. Fantastic. We may have only given up 80 and lost by 16 yesterday.

We either need to get serious about basketball on an ACC level or join the Sunbelt. We are a basketball school in a basketball conference pretending we are a football school. It’s ****ing tedious.

Totally disagree. When any team doesn’t 2 of their top 3 players they will have issues. If both were playing it would make a difference. I don’t care a @@@@ about metrics. I know what I see. Jose’s value is in ball distribution. That allows Devoe and others to score. Usher will provide the highest energy of all the other player on both teams put together. This will cause issues defensively for the other team and make our defense even better
 

Oakland

Ramblin' Wreck
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848
Location
Georgia
We either need to get serious about basketball on an ACC level or join the Sunbelt.
Speaking of the Sun Belt, former Sun Belt Conference member Western Kentucky beat Arkansas in OT yesterday. Hmm.... I heard someone yesterday mention we play like a church league team. I wonder which conference they play in.
 

bos

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,009
So will Usher play vs. Ball State? Next Wednesday. I believe that's when he becomes eligible.
 

Peacone36

ACCBasketballReport.com
Contributing Writer
Messages
9,431
Location
North Carolina
Totally disagree. When any team doesn’t 2 of their top 3 players they will have issues. If both were playing it would make a difference. I don’t care a @@@@ about metrics. I know what I see. Jose’s value is in ball distribution. That allows Devoe and others to score. Usher will provide the highest energy of all the other player on both teams put together. This will cause issues defensively for the other team and make our defense even better

Eh we looked like **** against BC and Elon as well. This isn’t a single game thing.
 

GT11

GT Athlete
Messages
265
Did we win? I’ll take any win. Unfortunately we plan to the level of the competition. I don’t care if every win is by 1. A win is a win.
 

THWG16

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
765
Totally disagree. When any team doesn’t 2 of their top 3 players they will have issues. If both were playing it would make a difference. I don’t care a @@@@ about metrics. I know what I see. Jose’s value is in ball distribution. That allows Devoe and others to score. Usher will provide the highest energy of all the other player on both teams put together. This will cause issues defensively for the other team and make our defense even better
Excuses , everyone has injuries , this is a trend
 
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