Georgia Tech preview, and Sunday's bubble watch

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Bring your baseball ticket stub and get into the game for $10

Only one game really matters today for FSU's tourney aspirations, and that's the home game vs Georgia Tech at 6pm. But if FSU wins, there is other activity which will affect their at-large hopes.

This weekend has not been kind to the Noles. They entered with a 38% chance of an at-large as as Joe Lunardi's first team out. After a bunch of bubble teams took care of business, the Noles are down to a 34% chance, and were dropped to Lunardi's 3rd team out. FSU not only needs a win today, but they need some help along the way.

Noon - DePaul at St. John's: The Johnnies are in the same boat as FSU. They should crush DePaul as St. John's is a 15-point favorite, and a loss would send them heading to the NIT.

1pm - Maryland at Clemson: Of these two, I'd guess the Tigers have the better hopes, though they're solidly behind FSU. But Clemson finishes with three home games and could be a late riser. I think we pull for Maryland here, which would also create a Clemson/Maryland/FSU tie for 6th should FSU beat the Yellow Jackets.

1pm - George Mason at George Washington: GW has lost three of four and is rapidly moving in the wrong direction. They'll be favored in their final three games, and dropping a couple would be huge for the teams behind them.

2pm - Marquette at Villanova: On Thursday we rooted for Marquette to knock Georgetown off, which happened. Now we need them to fall at Villanova as a marquee win would put them right in the discussion.

2pm - Southern Miss at Florida Atlantic: We really need Conference USA to become a one-bid league. Southern Miss losing at FAU would help us reach that goal.

4pm - Louisiana Tech at UAB: See Southern Miss, except this time LA Tech needs to go down.

The Main Event

Brian Gregory is in his 3rd season at Georgia Tech, and so far he's gone 14-35 in the ACC. I rated his hire as a 6 of 10 when they pulled him from Dayton, so I'm not all that surprised that he's struggling. Georgia Tech should be one of the better programs in the conference. They're in one of the southern hot beds for basketball talent, and they just pumped $45 million into their arena, so they should be lighting up the recruiting circuit. And in a sense, they have. The Yellow Jackets entered the season with six consensus top 100 recruits on their roster, which is more than every ACC team but Duke, UNC, and Syracuse. And they have another one coming next year in guard Tadric Jackson. But talent hasn't translated to wins.

Their problem is a bad offense. They are 211th nationally and 14th in ACC play. They rarely get to the line and they turn the ball over too often. On a team with great shooters, this could be overcome, but GT isn't blessed with great shooters. Their highest volume three point shooters make 31%, 33%, and 34% of their attempts. Senior Trae Golden transferred from Tennessee and hasn't been the consistent leader they hoped they were getting. He leads the team at 12.6 per game, but his assist rate is down. He's also been hampered by a groin injury and his last five ACC games he's scored 3, 0, 2, 17, and 0 points.

Marcus Georges-Hunt, a 6-5 sophomore, averages 12.0 per game. He hasn't improved much since his freshman year, but he's still a talented and capable player. 6-11 senior Daniel Miller averages 11.0 points and 7.8 rebounds, and 6-8 sophomore Robert Carter - who chose Georgia Tech over FSU - is back from his injury and averaging 10.1 points per game. He got his first start on Wednesday since returning from a knee injury and put up 19 points and 10 boards vs Notre Dame. Carter, Miller, and 6-8 senior Kammeon Holsey are all excellent on the offensive glass, which is the strength of their offensive attack.

Defensively, Georgia Tech has been solid, but not great. They don't force turnovers, but generally get good pressure on shots and are an excellent defensive rebounding team. FSU's strength is shooting and offensive rebounding, so it will be a good strength-on-strength test.

This is one of three remaining regular season games for FSU. Of the three, this is the one FSU absolutely has to win to keep their at-large hopes alive. The Noles opened as an 8.5 point favorite, and the line has moved to - 9.5 to -10. The game tips at 6pm on ESPNU.

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