Monday Mornings from McCamish: 1/6

Monday Mornings from McCamish: 1/06

Second semester is underway today on the campus of Georgia Tech! And with the resumption of classes, Monday Mornings from McCamish have returned. This weekly segment will be released on Monday mornings throughout the remainder of Georgia Tech’s Men’s Basketball 2013-14 season. We will revisit the previous week’s action as well as look ahead to the upcoming week’s games.

Last Week Recap:

Monday 1/04: Georgia Tech 61 Maryland 77

Georgia Tech dropped to 9-5, 0-1 with a 77-61 loss to Maryland in their first game of conference play last Saturday.

In the losing effort, the Jackets were led by sophomore Marcus Georges-Hunt (11 points, 4 rebounds) and freshman Quinton Stephens (10 points, 6 boards). The Terrapins jumped out to an early 18-8 advantage thanks in large part to drilling their first three attempts from three point land. That success continued throughout the afternoon as Maryland hit an impressive 10 of 19 from beyond the arc including a back-breaking 7 of 12 in the first half (Tech on the other hand shot a pitiful 26%) . As if that weren’t enough, Maryland took advantage of the depleted Yellow Jacket front court to the tune of 34 points in the paint.

The loss was frustrating on a number of levels. Tech started out slow in both halves – falling behind 12-2 in the first and giving up a 6-0 run to start the second. Furthermore, Tech struggled mightily from the field. The team’s leading scorers Trae Golden and Marcus Georges-Hunt shot a combined 35% including 1 for 9 from three point territory. Even senior Daniel Miller shot below 50% for only the second time this season (the other instance came in a loss to St. John’s).

Trying to reinvent yourself at any time is difficult. Trying to do so without your most consistent player in Robert Carter Jr. (torn meniscus) and conference play breathing down your neck is next to impossible. Although Tech won’t know Carter Jr.’s official timetable until after the surgery tomorrow, Coach Gregory and the team must be prepared to adapt to life long term without the double-double machine.  It’ll require increased efforts from the entire team and a significantly adjusted game plan from the coaching staff.

Looking Ahead:

Wednesday 1/7 7:00pm: Georgia Tech (9-5, 0-1) at #16 Duke (11-3, 0-1)

Both Duke and Georgia Tech dropped their conference openers on the road against Notre Dame and Maryland respectively. Each will enter Tuesday night’s tilt at Cameron Indoor Stadium looking to bounce back.

Projected to be a world-beater in the 2013-14 college basketball season, #16 Duke hasn’t lived up to the hype (at least on a Duke-ian level). 11-3 is hardly a mark to balk at especially with two losses coming against top 5 teams on neutral floors and the other against a respectable Notre Dame team in an extremely hostile environment. But there is no denying this team hasn’t come together as many anticipated, at least not yet.

The most glaring weakness in this Blue Devil team is on the glass. While they rank in the top 15 in both scoring and shooting percentage, the Blue Devils are outside the top 200 in rebounding. And considering that rebounding is a point of emphasis among Coach Gregory and his staff of (Tech outrebounded Maryland on Saturday), this may be a good attacking point. Increasing the 2nd chance opportunities while limiting the opponents would go along way in Tech’s bid for an improbable upset.

But even with that said, this is a Duke team that has won 26 straight games at Cameron Indoor; a streak that includes a 73-57 win over Georgia Tech in January 2013. A win for the Jackets would be a tremendous upset and require several things such as: limit future NBA lottery pick Jabari Parker (21.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg), shoot uncharacteristically well, and handle one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult environment in college basketball.

Tip-off is at 7:00pm and will be broadcast on 106.7 FM and televised on ESPNU.


Sunday 1/11 12:00pm: Notre Dame (10-4) at Georgia Tech

The Jackets host the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in their ACC home opener this Saturday at noon. The game will be the second of the week for both teams as Tech visits Duke and Notre Dame hosts NC State on Tuesday night.

Picked to finish 5th in their first ACC season, Notre Dame got off to a strong start last Saturday by taking down #7 Duke 79-77 in South Bend. This win is particularly significant considering the loss of Irish leading scorer Jerian Grant due to an “academic issue.” Grant is no longer enrolled at the university, but intends to return next fall.

As for the players who will be on the court Saturday, the Irish will still suit up three players averaging more than 13 points per game in seniors Garrick Sherman and Eric Atkins and junior Pat Connaughton. Atkins is especially hot as of late as he has scored in double figures three consecutive games including a double-double against the Blue Devils (19 points, 11 assists).

If there is a window of opportunity for Tech, it is again on the glass. While not as abysmal as the Blue Devils, Notre Dame has also struggled to rebound as they are ranked 138th overall entering the week.

It will take a strong game from the Yellow Jackets to win their ACC home opener, but they will benefit from having another week of Carter-less practice and a home crowd.

Tip-off is at 12:00pm and will be broadcast on 106.7 FM and televised on ACCN (WATL 36 in Atlanta area).