With six games left in Georgia Tech’s regular season, the Yellow Jackets have the opportunity to do something that they haven’t done since the 1995-96 season; win 10 or more games in conference play.
Despite having what appears to be a limited chance at making the NCAA Tournament this March, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets still find themselves in a position to make some Georgia Tech history.
The Yellow Jackets entering this week are sitting at 6-8 in conference play to go along with their 12-13 overall record. With six games left in the regular season, the Jackets have the opportunity to eclipse the double-digit wins mark in ACC play for the first time in nearly 15-years.
For a team that is hovering around .500 and has been below .500 for most of the season, that may sound like a tough task. However, the Yellow Jackets schedule over the next few weeks is manageable on paper to say the least though history this season does make it look a bit tougher.
Entering the week of February 16, the Yellow Jackets are ranked 82nd in the RPI rankings according to WarrenNolan.com. Their six remaining opponents all have RPIs comparable to the Jackets or worse. Only one opponent has an RPI higher than the Yellow Jackets that being the Miami Hurricanes at No. 75. Below is the Jackets six remaining opponents and their respective RPI.
- at Wake Forest: 121 (Quadrant 2)
- at Syracuse: 91 (Quadrant 2)
- Clemson: 89 (Quadrant 3)
- Miami (FL): 75 (Quadrant 3)
- Pittsburgh: 103 (Quadrant 3)
- at Clemson: 89 (Quadrant 3)
The good news for the Yellow Jackets entering these final six games is that their arguably playing their best basketball of the season. The Jackets have won four of their last six games including their wire-to-wire victory and upset of No.5 Louisville last Wednesday.
Even in losses, the Yellow Jackets have shown to be respectable and have been a few plays away from already hitting the 10-win mark. In the Jackets last five losses, they have lost by a combined point total of 30-points, an average of six points per loss. that number is inflated by an eight point loss to Notre Dame and nine point loss to Pittsburgh.
Despite the losses to Pittsburgh and Notre Dame during the stretch, the Yellow Jackets have been playing their most consistent basketball of the season. A good sign for the program heading into this stretch run of their season. Even when taking on teams much more talented, the Jackets have played tough and gritty basketball, keeping them in almost every single game. On the season, they only have two conference losses by double-digits.
Winning on the Road:
In order to get to 10-wins, the Yellow Jackets will need to win at least one game on the road and possibly more. With road games against Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Clemson, the Jackets three remaining opponents have a combined home record of 27-15, making the Jackets road games a challenged to say the least.
Their best chance to pick up a win will be against Wake Forest who is a mere 7-4 at home this season. However, road games at Syracuse and Clemson will mightily difficult as the Orange hold a 10-6 record at the Carrier Dome while Clemson holds a similar record at 10-5.
On paper, the chances of winning one albeit multiple road games doesn’t seem likely. The Jackets best chance to win any of the games according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is 42.3% which is against Wake Forest. Against Syracuse, the Jackets chance of winning according to the BPI is just 21.2% while they hold a 21.8% chance against Clemson. Additionally, Warren Nolan’s predicted results for the Jackets has them losing all three games.
What the Past Results Say:
In terms of the success against teams with similar RPI this season, the numbers are not in the Jackets favor. All six of the Jackets remaining games fall within quadrant two or quadrant three as you can see above.
Against quadrant two opponents this season, the Jackets are 4-5 on the season including a 3-3 record in conference play. Their best win in quadrant two this season was against North Carolina State a few weeks ago when the Wolfpack were ranked No.64 in the RPI rankings. Outside of the Wolfpack, the Jackets have struggled especially against quadrant two teams on the road. They’re best quadrant two road win is that of Boston College who had an RPI of No.121 when the Jackets defeated the Eagles 71-52. Overall, they’re 2-3 against teams with quadrant two teams with an RPI rating lower than 100 on the road.
When it comes to the Jackets three games at home, the Jackets haven’t had overwhelming success in the small sample size. They’re 2-4 against quadrant two and three programs, they’re lone wins have come against North Carolina State and Virginia Tech.
Certainly, the Jackets history this season show that they have an uphill battle in this upcoming six game stretch of the season.
It’s safe to say that the Jackets road to 10-wins is not going to be easy but it is certainty possible for them to hit the 10-win mark. They’ll have to continue playing their best basketball and while consistency has been a problem with Pastner’s team in the past, this team has certainly been able to find their consistency over the last few weeks despite some losses.
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The Yellow Jackets will have their first opportunity to get closer to the 10-win mark in conference play next Wednesday when they take on Wake Forest (11-14, 4-11). Fans can watch the game live on ACC Network Extra or listen to it via WRECK 91.1.