The Yellow Jackets tip off the 2018-19 basketball season at home Friday, Nov. 9 as the Lamar Cardinals come to Atlanta.
Head Coach: Tic Price (4th season) / 2017-18 Record: 19-14 (11-7) / CIT First Round
The Georgia Tech men’s basketball program, went 13-19 last season in an injury-laden campaign. In just over a week, the Yellow Jackets will host the Florida Tech Panthers on Nov. 3 in an exhibition but the regular season gets started six days later with Southland Conference mid-major Lamar coming to the Thrillerdome on November 9th.
Tic Price’s Cardinals have finished with 19 wins the last two season and earned two consecutive CIT invites, getting double-digit Southland Conference wins each campaign.
Head Coach Profile: Tic Price is 232–189 (.551) as a head coach and 65–67 (.492) since taking over the Cardinals in 2014. He’s entering his 16th season as a Division I head coach.
Prior to his tenure at Lamar, Price coached at New Orleans (94-97), Memphis (97-99), and McNeese State (01-06).
The former Virginia Tech Hokie has led his programs to four regular season conference championships, two conference tournament championships, and two NCAA tournament appearances.
What they did last season:
- Out of Conference: The Cards went 8-7 out of conference last season, with notable wins over Tulsa, UTEP, Coastal Carolina and losses including Cal State Bakersfield and Southern Illinois.
- In Conference: Lamar finished tied for fifth in their conference in a field of 13 teams, losing in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament to Central Arkansas.
- Postseason: The Cardinals earned a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, but fell in a close game to UTSA to end the season.
Expectations for 2018-19:
The Cardinals are coming off back-to-back 19-win seasons, their best back-to-back seasons since the 1980s which means expectations are high for Lamar entering this season. With a strong mix of veteran experience and young talented freshman, the Cardinals could be looking at a third-straight 19+ win season in 2018-19. The Yellow Jackets can’t take the Cardinals easily in the season opener.
Players to Watch:
- Senior guards Josh Nzeakor and Nick Garth were among the top scorers in the Southland Conference last season and both return for 2018-19. Nzeakor was also a top-5 conference rebounder, while Garth was among the best in free throw percentage and 3-pointers.
How the Yellow Jackets matchup:
Josh Pastner’s squad matches up well with the Cardinals and will have the advantages in both size and athleticism. The Cardinals average height last season was just 6-foot-3 while the Jackets had an average height of 6-foot-6. Overall, we’ll get a good indication of how the Jackets offense is this season as Lamar has been a below average defensive team over the past two seasons. The Jackets will need to find a new top scoring option whether it be Jose Alvarado, Michael Devoe, or Curtis Haywood II. The Jackets should open up the season with a victory but don’t be surprised if the Jackets struggle a bit against the Cardinals.