True, the Yellow Jackets lost to the No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 83-76 in double-overtime. But the most important thing that a team could establish was firmly put in place in the loss — an identity.
Georgia Tech made it known on Saturday that defense and rebounding, above all else, are what is going to make or break this team’s ACC hopes and postseason chances this season.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
I know that looks like a “well duh” statement, but after the effort exerted by the Yellow Jackets in the loss, the calling card was made perfectly clear.
This weekend marks the first loss that the Yellow Jackets have suffered this season where the opposition shot horribly from three-point land and still won.
Tech as a team going into the Notre Dame game had held their opposition to 28% shooting from downtown. They held N0tre Dame to 21.1% from three-point on Saturday afternoon.
In the previous losses, Marquette shot 40.9% , USC Upstate shot 38.5%, and Dayton shot 55.6% from three-point range.
The only reason Notre Dame ultimately came away with the win is because they shot 53.3% from the field overall.
Georgia Tech’s overall field goal percentage allowed to this point is 43.2%. Teams are hitting only 27.7% from deep against the Jackets through 13 games.
All of this means that defense is going to make or break the Yellow Jackets from this point forward, as if we did not know that trait is something that Brian Gregory did not want to instill in his team anyway.
Georgia Tech has still outrebounded every team they have faced this season. They are currently +11 in the rebounding department, with a team 40-29 rebound margin.
Jan 3, 2015; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Pat Connaughton (24) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets forward Charles Mitchell (0) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Martinas Geben (23) fight for a rebound in the first half at the Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame won 83-76 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
The Yellow Jackets 43.8 total rebounds per contest are tied for third in the ACC with Louisville.
This is no surprise since Coach Gregory’s philosophy is predicated on owning the offensive and defensive glass.
So in the end, what are we trying to say? We are trying to say that Brian Gregory has a team where he can win or lose his way.
We are saying that his blueprint for winning is laid out, and the players are playing it out.
We are saying that barring injury, the success, or lack there of, cannot be blamed on the team not playing to the strengths that they hang their hat on.
As much as people will complain about poor outside shooting, that will be the only complaint people can have. Everything else is being played according to Gregory’s “Book of Hoyle”.
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Brian Gregory’s blueprint can win a lot of ball games with this roster. Once the defense gets tougher against dribble penetration, the Jackets are going to be hard to beat.
Defense, rebounding, depth, and ball-control are all attributes this teams has, and it can take them pretty far.
A postseason berth is not out of the question at all. Tech just needs to get a few wins against some ranked teams.