I’m sitting in the lobby of the RBC Center, waiting for will call to open so I can get my credential to go inside. My first trip to this arena. I’ve heard good things from an environment/noise standpoint and am looking forward to it.
“I remember two years ago, we played N.C. State, that’s when Moe Miller had his mask when he broke his nose,” guard Nick Foreman said. “They were like, Hey, Moe, Jason called, he wants his mask back.”
Anyway, a few thoughts about the game. First, win or lose, it should be a good test of where Georgia Tech is after the strong showing (relatively speaking) in the loss to Duke. From an amateur psychologist standpoint, you could see how it could be satisfying and sap some of the team’s edge. I don’t think that’ll happen, though. Still, you wouldn’t have thought the Jackets would lose to Fordham, either.
I asked Jason Morris about what the team had learned that it could take on the road, and he talked about playing energy and effort from the opening tip, that sometimes the team had been too relaxed at the start of games last year. I asked him if I could expect to see an all-out effort from the start, and he hedged and gave what I thought was a pretty mature answer that I included in my story that ran in Wednesday’s paper.
“You can say it as much as you want, but we’ll see once we tip off how it goes, but that is the plan, coming out full-fire, full-fledged, because we have lost the last four games,” he said.
I do think, though, that the team may have turned a corner in the Duke game.
Said Morris, “I guess last game is the first time I feel like everyone started believing in themselves and believing in the system.”
That said, I don’t know that this will be a linear progression. In fact, I’d say I’m pretty sure it won’t be. If I had to guess, there’ll be games when the Jackets play like they did Saturday, others where they just don’t have it and lapse into old habits and others where the other team is on its form and there’s little Tech can do. But I think that’s what makes this season interesting to watch.
Anyway, things I’ll be watching:
Rebounding. Tech is No. 3 in the ACC in rebounding margin at plus 6.7. N.C. State is second at plus 7.4 and is third in the league at offensive rebounding percentage. If you’re wondering, Tech was eighth at plus 1.0 last season, but that was at the end of the season.
Rebounding “is a clear and concise example of how hard you’re playing, the intensity that you’re playing with and the energy that you’re playing with,” Brian Gregory said. “That’s a pretty good marker to look at. When we’ve rebounded the ball well, we’ve played pretty well.”
N.C. State point guard Lorenzo Brown. Second in the ACC in assists per game at 6.8. Gregory raved about his ability to stay in control of his team and called him “a special player.” Obviously, a tough matchup on both ends for Mfon Udofia.
Guard Glen Rice Jr. He came off the bench to score a career-high tying 28 points against Duke. How will he follow it up?
How well can Tech, specifically Kammeon Holsey, presumably, get a body on C.J. Leslie, the Wolfpack’s active forward?
Story in News & Observer about N.C. State’s wealth-spreading offense under Mark Gottfried.
Sort of Tech-related. Former Tech football defensive coordinator and N.C. State linebackers coach Jon Tenuta got a promotion and raise, to associate head coach for defense and a two-year deal worth $400,000 annually. Tenuta briefly jumped last week to Illinois before returning to N.C. State.