Some thoughts from the Georgia Tech loss to Miami Tuesday night.
1. Offense is really, really struggling right now. Effective ball movement isn’t there, and the guards are having trouble creating off the dribble, which means not a lot of easy shots. As I wrote in the game story, Tech’s rate of assisted baskets (if that is the correct term) is lowest in the ACC at 46.4 percent.
“Our margin of error is so small,” coach Brian Gregory said. “You have to make all your free throws. Every shot around the basket, you can’t come away empty. You need to finish all those and then on the other end, you’ve got to get one or two more stops.”
2. Not a great home-court environment, not too surprising given the game time (9 p.m.) and opponent. The announced crowd was 5,009, which wasn’t very reflective of who was actually in the building. Further, Tech wasn’t playing well, so fans were either quiet or getting on Tech players, some of them rather pointedly. At one point, Miami coach Jim Larranaga yelled at one of the officials to complain about the fact that his team had yet to shoot a free throw 27 minutes into the game, and it seemed like the whole arena could hear him.
3. A couple positives from Tuesday: Tech out-rebounded Miami and turned the ball over eight times after a 22-turnover game against Clemson. Forward Julian Royal had 11 points (on 5-for-7 shooting) with five rebounds. Gregory noted his improvement and his soft shooting touch from the perimeter. He should get some more shots on pick-and-pop plays.
“Our guards are going to have to be able to look for and him on some of that stuff because he’s proven he can make those shots now,” Gregory said.
4. Tech has lost four in a row and it’s not exactly a leap of faith to say it could run to six. The Jackets’ next two are at No. 7 North Carolina and at No. 23 Florida State. However, the schedule softens considerably in the second half, starting with a home game with Boston College Feb. 4, an eminently winnable game. Of the final eight games, there’s only one game against a team with a winning ACC record (N.C. State).
This isn’t exactly a bold prediction, but I think it’ll go better than this first stretch has so long as the team doesn’t falter. The Jackets are playing hard and for the most part defending well, which will keep them in most games. At some point, that will coincide with better shooting games.
“You’ve just got to keep doing things like [rebounding well] and eventually more good things will happen,” Gregory said.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog