Last year Georgia Tech finished 5th in the ACC, which was their best season since 1996. Due to sanctions they were ineligible for postseason play, but hey, there was no postseason! Win win for Josh Pastner.
Even though the Yellow Jackets returned pretty much everyone, the local media didn’t trust them and voted them 9th in the preseason ACC poll. Sure enough, they got off to a rocky start, dropping a 4OT game to Georgia State and following that up with a loss to Mercer. They have rebounded by beating a toothless Kentucky team and knocking off Big Ten bottom feeder Nebraska. So they’ve shown some resilience, but can they recapture last year’s form?
They’re led by PG Jose Alvarado (6-0, 179), who will be making his 82nd college start. He is averaging 17.8 ppg and 2.3 steals. He’s impossible for FSU to contain off the dribble, but small enough that the Seminoles defenders can still trouble him. In four previous games vs FSU (all losses) he’s had two solid games and two miserable ones.
Moses Wright (6-9, 233) provides them with a load down low. I had him pegged as the conference breakout player last year, but was one season too early. Now he’s averaging 21.3 ppg and 9.8 rpg. He does most of his damage on the interior, but can step out and knock down 3s (4-6 on the season).
Senior Bubba Parham (5-10, 162) is averaging an inefficient 13.0 ppg. He was a sharpshooter at VMI but is struggling vs better competition. Still, you have to find him in transition.
Junior Michael DeVoe (6-5, 197) has been disappointing, but it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out. A 40%+ career 3-pt shooter, he’s made just 28% this year leading to 12.5 ppg.
Senior Jordan Usher (6-7, 213) is the final double digit scorer at 11.0 per game. He’s not a great shooter, but can score inside and be a menace on defense.
After those five Khalid Moore (6-7, 200) and Kyle Sturdivant (6-2, 198) are the only guys who really play. GT has a very tight rotation, and FSU will want this to be an up and down game to wear them out.
On offense, Georgia Tech takes care of the ball and is a very good offensive rebounding team. Defensively they’ll man up or play some Pastner junk zone, and they’ve been vulnerable on the glass in addition give up a lot of open 3s, mostly as they gamble for steals.
The game tips at 8:30 and will be broadcast on the ACC Network. FSU opened as a 7.5 point favorite.
Florida State has lost three straight ACC openers.