Georgia Tech’s top ten defense according to Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings is a vast improvement over last year shows just how much of a difference Josh Pastner has made in his first year at Georgia Tech.
Last season Georgia Tech’s adjusted defensive rating according to Pomeroy was 98.5 which ranked 79th in the country. Now, 79th is a pretty solid placing when considering there are 351 teams in Division 1 college basketball. Compared to where the Jackets sit this year in Pomeroy’s defensive ratings, last year’s rating seems merely decent.
This season, the Jackets defensive rating is 90.5 which ranks not just in the top 50, 25, or 15 but the top ten in the country. To be exact, their 90.5 rating is the good enough for sixth in the country. The teams in front of the Yellow Jackets are five teams that are left in the NCAA tournament, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Virginia Cavaliers, Florida Gators, South Carolina Gamecocks, and West Virginia Mountaineers.
For the Yellow Jacket’s it’s the first time since 2013 that they rank in the top 10 of defensive rating since 2004 when the Jackets made their run to the NCAA Tournament title game. Under Brian Gregory, the Yellow Jackets were decent defensively but only cracked the top 50 once in his five seasons.
"Yellow Jackets defensive ratings under Brian Gregory:2016: 98.5 (79)2015: 93.9 (43)2014: 99.0 (73)2013: 91.7 (32)2012: 96.5 (96)Average: 95.92"
Defenses Under Pastner’s Watch:
For Josh Pastner, the top of the Pomeroy defensive ratings is no stranger. While at Memphis, Pastner’s teams ended in the top twenty-five in defensive ratings two times over his seven
seasons. His best season came in the 2012 and 2013 seasons when the Tigers had the 17th best defense in both seasons.
Here are Memphis’ complete defensive ratings and their respected ranking under Josh Pastner.
"Memphis Tigers’ defensive ratings under Josh Pastner:2016: 96.3 (47)2015: 95.9 (63)2014: 96.5 (50)2013: 89.3 (17)2012: 89.6 (17)2011: 93.6 (63)2010: 96.4 (115)"
As one can tell, Josh Pastner’s teams at Memphis were strong defensively. After having a rough season in his first year at the school, with the 115th ranked defense, Pastner never dropped below 63 in the Pomeroy rankings. Outside every season but 2015, Pastner’s Memphis squads were better defensively than the Yellow Jackets.
Add his top ten defense this season with the Yellow Jackets and it’s easy to see that Josh Pastner’s teams are some of the most defensively sound in the country. While his offenses may struggle at times, his team’s defenses will always keep themselves in games.
Sky is the limit for Georgia Tech defensively:
What makes the Jackets defensive rating even more amazing is when considering what he had to work with this season. As anyone associated or familiar with the program knows, the Jackets were projected to go winless in the ACC and have a horrendous season.
Coaches who saw the Jackets prior to the season wished Pastner good luck and was happy they didn’t have to deal with the rebuilding program. For Pastner it was merely a challenge despite having limited talent, the Jackets shocked the ACC and won eight games in the ACC a number that allowed Pastner to win ACC Coach of the Year.
With more talent only coming in, players gaining valuable experience, and returning the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, the Jackets defensive ratings should once again sit inside the top 25 if not the top 10. With all that being said, just a look at the Jackets improvement on the defensive side of the ball shows how good of a coach that Josh Pastner is and how the sky could be the limit for the Jackets going forward on the defensive side of the ball.
It also shows just how major of an impact Josh Pastner has made on the program since arriving on campus last April. Add in his skills when it comes to recruitment and there’s an easy way to see how Georgia Tech can become a contender under the guidance of Pastner.
With that being said, the Jackets are more focused on their NIT Semifinal matchup coming up this weekend against California-Bakersfield or UT-Arlington.