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FSU basketball hosts Georgia Tech

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

When Josh Pastner took the Georgia Tech head coaching job, he was warned by his new Athletic Director that he might not win a single ACC game in his first season. Then he went out and beat the eventual National Champion North Carolina in his first conference game. At year’s end, the Yellow Jackets would finish 8-10, and advance to the finals of NIT.

This year GT (10-9, 3-3) sunk back down to earth, struggling to a 6-6 finish in out-of-conference play, including a horrible home loss to Grambling State.

Then ACC began, and Pastner turned back into John Wooden.

After a close loss at Notre Dame, Tech reeled off three straight conference wins, including two over ranked teams. It looked like Georgia Tech was once again going to greatly exceed expectations.

But reality hit. Georgia Tech wasn’t competitive in its next two games, and now takes to the road to face Florida State.

The Rambling Wreck are going to do everything they can to make this an ugly game. They play at an agonizingly slow pace. Their defense has been the 2nd best in conference play. And offensively, they struggle.

Sophomore Josh Okogie is a legitimate star. After missing the first eight games of the year, he’s back and averaging 17.8 per game while knocking down 40% of his 3s. Last year the 6-4 guard had 35 points and 14 rebounds in GT’s stunning domination of Florida State.

Tadric Jackson, a 6-2 senior, is inefficient, but is scoring 13.3 per game. He and Okogie dominate the offense when they’re on the floor.

Freshman Jose Alvarado is having a solid season, scoring 12.7 per game, and leading the team in assists and steals.

Senior Ben Lammers isn’t the dominant presence in the middle he was last year, but is still dangerous, and he anchors the defense.

Georgia Tech rarely shoots 3s. They grind out possessions and try to get to the line.

Defensively, they defend well what FSU does best. They keep teams from getting looks at the rim, and are holding opponents to just 44% on 2s (18th best nationally).

FSU is going to have to find a way to get transition points, and knock down 3s. GT can also be vulnerable on the offensive glass.

The game tips at 7 PM from the Tuck and will be broadcast regionally. FSU is an 10 point favorite.