Last time we saw Brian Gregory and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-11, 1-8 ACC), we were hunched over grabbing our knees after the gut-punch buzzer beater that NC State’s Trevor Lacy drained to beat Tech 81-80 in overtime.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Now, with that not so distant memory behind the team and fans alike, the Yellow Jackets will take a trip to Durham, NC to take on the No.4 Duke Blue Devils (18-3, 5-3 ACC).
We already know about how powerful the Blue Devils are. We already know that coach Mike Kryzewski tallied his 1,000 win against St. John’s, and then followed that up with a 69-63 win over the No.2 Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville.
The fact of the matter is we know that Duke is a pretty good team, and even with Rasheed Sulaimon getting kicked off the squad for not meeting Duke’s behavioral standards, the Blue Devils are still loaded.
Coach K, has done a good job of adjusting to the times when it comes to recruiting. Kids are simply not trying to play four-years anymore if they know that the have a NBA future, and Mike Kryewski has decided to become part of the collegiate farm system.
Seriously can you blame him? He is getting some of the top recruits in college basketball and these youngsters can ball.
Freshman phenom Jahlil Okafor is a throwback style big man. At 6-foot-11, 270 pounds, he is heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition with his size and skill.
Duke center Jahlil Okafor has had games of 27 points and 28 points this season. (Photo: Jim O’Connor, USA TODAY Sports)
Okafor is a front-runner for the ACC Player of the Year Award and Naismith National Player of the Year award with averages of 18.3 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 66.4% from the field.
He is going to be a tough guard for Tech’s Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell down low.
Senior guard Quin Cook stands 6-foot-2, and is the second leading scorer for the Blue Devils at 14.4 points on 45.5 shooting from the floor and 40.3% from three-point land.
“Coach K” also get a solid contribution from his other freshman phenom in 6-foot-6 forward Justise Winslow who averages 10.9 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Duke is the second leading scoring team in the ACC at 80.6 ppg while giving up 64.5 points per contest, which is the eighth best in the conference.
This game for the Yellow Jackets is going to come down to three things if they are going to pull off a major upset at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
First off, Tech has to make shots. The Jackets can defend all they want, but if they are not making shots, their effort will have been wasted defensively.
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Secondly, the Jackets must control the tempo. The best way for the Jackets to control the tempo is to limit the turnovers. If Duke is able to create turnovers and get out in transition, they are going to be getting easy baskets to go along with their halfcourt execution. That could put Tech out of the game quickly.
Finally, Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell must stay out of foul trouble so they can attempt to hold Jahlil Okafor in check. Brian Gregory is going to need both of those big bodies available to him if there is going to be a chance for the upset.
In Brian Gregory’s interview on the Georgia Tech Athletic Channel, he touched on what it is going to take for the Jackets to pull off the upset on Wednesday evening, and also the difficulties Jahlil Okafor could pose for his team.
Travis Jorgenson is going to be key for the Yellow Jackets. His 14 points and four assists against NC State were big.
This game will be televised on ESPN2 at 7 PM EST, and can also be streamed on the WatchESPN app. You could also listen to this game on local Atlanta radio on 680AM and 93.7 FM, as well as Sirius 91 and XM 91.