The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team will look to win the NIT Tournament Championship over the next few weeks but first, they have to get past the third-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.
While it’s not the tournament bid that Josh Pastner’s squad was looking forward to, the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team is playing in a postseason tournament.
Last Time Out:
Last time out for Georgia Tech saw the Jackets take a tough loss to Pittsburgh in the opening round of the ACC Tournament. The loss to the Panthers whom the Jackets beat just a few weeks prior officially ended all hopes for the Jackets to make the NCAA Tournament.
The game showed the struggles that the Jackets suffered from throughout the season, especially from the charity strike. A streak of five missed free throws in a row ultimately doomed the Yellow Jackets in the end.
Known the Opponent:
At the beginning of the season, it seemed as Indiana was headed for a strong season. In their first game of the season, the Hoosiers defeated the third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks 103-99. They also were able to defeat another third-ranked team in North Carolina on their way to an 8-1 record.
After that 8-1 record, however, it was all down for the Hoosiers. Tom Crean’s squad would just go 10-14 over their last 24 games including an end of season five game losing steak. On the road this season, Indiana struggled mightily going 2-8 on the season.
While it wasn’t as strong as a season as Indiana hoped for in the 2016-17 season, there was still quite a bit of promise showed from the Hoosiers. The first notable stat from the Hoosiers is their offense that’s average 80.2 points per game, ranked 33rd in the nation. The second notable stat is against teams with RPIs of above 50, they’re 15-4, which doesn’t spell good news for the Jackets who have an RPI of 106.
The Hoosiers have a variety of shooters including four players averaging 11 or more points on the season. That being said, it won’t be any easy task for the Yellow Jackets defensively, that being said Ben Lammers will have to be strong on the boards as the Hoosiers leading rebounder averages just 6.6 rebounds per game.
Players to Watch:
Georgia Tech: C Ben Lammers
For the Yellow Jackets, all their key victories have one common consistency. A strong performance on both ends from center Ben Lammers. In their ACC Tournament loss to Pittsburgh, Lammers had an extremely silent. During the Yellow Jackets upsets of North Carolina, Florida State, and Notre Dame, Lammers averaged 14.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. While Indiana isn’t anywhere near one of that of a top ten team, Lammers will still be a huge key in the Jackets victory on Saturday.
Indiana Hoosiers: G James Blackmon Jr.
One constant for Indiana this season has been junior guard James Blackmon Jr. The Marion, Indiana native has been stellar this season averaging 17.9 points, 4.8 boards, and 1.9 assists per game. Blackmon will take a considerable amount of shots and can get hot any second. If the Hoosiers win tonight, look for Blackmon to have a big day.
It’s not going to be the easiest game for the Yellow Jackets, but in a potentially packed McCamish, the Yellow Jackets pulling out an upset victory wouldn’t be shocking. While the Hoosiers are an extremely dangerous team offensively, the Yellow Jackets have been rather strong defensively throughout the season.
If Ben Lammers and Josh Okogie can have strong games while the rest of the team especially Tadric Jackson can be consistent the Jackets should be able to put up points. Defensively, keeping James Blackmon Jr. will be the key but the Jackets can’t forget about Robert Johnson and Thomas Bryant.
In the end, the Jackets should find themselves in a close game that goes down to the wire.