Date: March 4, 2014
Tip-off Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV Channel: RSN (Click here for affiliates), ESPN3 (Online)
Radio: 106.7 FM (Atlanta Flagship), Full list of Local Affiliates
Live Stream: Watch ESPN (Click here)
Just over 2 weeks ago, the Syracuse Orange were undefeated at 25-0 and ranked #1 in the country. However, they’ve lost 3 out of their last 4, and because of those struggles, it may seem reasonable to think that Georgia Tech has a puncher’s chance on Tuesday night.
Let’s all take a step back.
Even with their recent hiccup, Syracuse is still ranked #7 in the country in the polls and #11 in KenPom’s latest rankings, and Tech ranks 137th in those same KenPom ratings. Add in the fact that the game is in the raucous environment of the Carrier Dome and that Tech was just beaten soundly by a far less talented Florida State team in a far less intimidating venue, and it begins to take shape.
If there is a tidbit of positive thought (and it’s a stretch), it is that Syracuse plays at a glacial pace on both ends. The Orange are 345th out of 351 teams in adjusted tempo (wow), and because of that, they are prone to playing closer games than you might imagine. Still, Tech absolutely must make outside shots against Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone in order to compete, and with the possible exception of Chris Bolden (who isn’t playing particularly well right now), that isn’t the strength of this team by any stretch.
Up front, the Jackets can match Syracuse body for body (at least with the top 3 guys), but in the backcourt, Tech’s weakness will be easily exposed by All-American candidates in Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair. The perimeter problem in Atlanta has been well-documented in this space, but if there was ever a day for Trae Golden to have a positive outburst, it would be well-timed.
Our pals in Vegas have the Yellow Jackets as 14.5-point underdog in this game, and if you get past the “wow” factor of that large of a spread, it makes a good deal of sense. KenPom also has projected a 15-point loss for the Jackets on the road, and with how they’ve been playing combined with an angry and talented Syracuse team, this has all the makings of an unpleasant Tuesday night.
Be sure to stay tuned for updates (follow us on twitter @ATLBeatBlog) and check back later tonight for a full game recap.