The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team will continue their homestand on Tuesday night when they take part in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, taking on Northwestern.
The Jackets enter Tuesday night with a 3-1 record and winners of thee straight. The Jackets latest victory came last Friday against North Texas, the Jackets putting together their best game of the early season. Northwestern, on the other hand, are just 4-2 on the season, a sold start for the Wildcats who made their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance last season.
After three-straight dominating efforts from center Ben Lammers, the rest of the Yellow Jackets have taken a load off the potential All-ACC first team center.
Freshman point guard Jose Alvarado is having a great start to his career averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. It will be hard for him to keep pace with those stats but if he does, he could be the first Jackets since at least 1992-1993 with that statline according to college basketball reference. He also has the highest offensive rating per 100 possessions of any Yellow Jacket this season with a 131.4 rating. The New York native also had a career-high 19-points against North Texas last Friday.
Also having a good recent stretch is a graduate transfer, Brandon Alston. The former Lehigh Mountain Hawk is averaging a career-high 11-points per game and had a career-high 20-points against Texas-Rio Grande Valley. However, Alston for the first time this season failed to score last time out against North Texas, missing all six of his attempted shots.
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Senior guard Tadric Jackson returned last Friday against North Texas after a three-game suspension and looked like he didn’t miss a beat. Jackson came off the bench against the Mean Green and played 27 of 40 total minutes. Jackson was 5-for-10 from the floor against North Texas but was 0-for-3 from beyond the arch. He made 4-of-5 free-throw attempts.
Expect Lammers and these three other Yellow Jackets to be a huge part of the Jackets offensive plans against Northwestern on Tuesday night.
After making a helluva run at the end of last season to earn a chance to play in last year’s NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats entered this season with high expectations. Six games in, the Wildcats have yet to put it all together.
After starting the season off 2-0, the Wildcats are 2-2 over their last four games. Those two losses came against the Big East’s Creighton and the Big 12’s Texas Tech. The Wildcats loss to the Red Raiders was exceptionally bad, as Northwestern lost 85-49 and ended up making more free throws (19) than shots from the floor (12). The Wildcats did win their last game out over Sacred Heart, an 81-50 victory, which included a much better shooting performance, making 27 of 57 shots from the floor.
The Wildcats offensively are lead by a pair of senior guards, who Jose Alvarado and the rest of the Jackets guards will have to keep in check, Tuesday night.
Senior guard Scottie Lindsey is Northwestern’s most dangerous player so far this season, averaging 17.8 points per game. The 6-foot-5 guard creates tough matchups for smaller guards and has used size differences to his advantage. This season he’s shooting .586 from the floor and .400 from three-point range. He has yet to fail to score double-digit points this season and has scored 15 or more points in four of six games.
Lindsey’s partner in crime on the court is senior guard Bryant McIntosh. McIntosh this season is so far averaging a career high in points with 15.3 points per game. The Indiana native is shooting over .400 from the floor while shooting .375 from beyond the arch. The Jackets will have to be careful not to foul McIntosh as he’s a perfect 19-for-19 from the charity stripe this season.
Over the last two games, McIntosh has struggled, shooting just .222 from the floor making four of 18 field-goal attempts. Prior to his last two games, the senior respectively scored 16, 17, 24, and 21-points. Expect him to break back out against the Yellow Jacket as he’s never failed to score double-digit points in back-to-back-to-back games.
Junior forward Vic Law and fellow junior, center Derek Pardon will be two other names to watch Tuesday night. Law, 13.2 points and 5.3 rebounds this season and had a stellar 30-point performance earlier this season in the Wildcats loss to Creighton. Pardon on the other hand has a similar stat line with 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He’s scored double-digit points in four of six games this season.
Overall, Northwestern’s offense is below-average like the Yellow Jackets. The Wildcats don’t have incredibly effective offense, averaging 108-points per 100 possessions and have a pace of 69.7, which is slightly above the Jackets pace of 66.3. Overall, Tuesday’s matchup is between two teams that are almost mirrors of each other offensively. Defensively, the Yellow Jackets have been much better than Northwestern, who’s also giving up 108-points per 100 possessions. The Jackets are allowing just 91.2.
In terms of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the ACC leads the challenge two games to none after Monday night’s two-game slate. Syracuse barely snuck by Maryland with a 72-70 victory while Virginia had a dominating defensive effort against Wisconsin, winning 49-37.