We will be taking you around the conference this season with some great ACC blogs to preview the matchups. The Tigers take on Georgia Tech tonight and SB Nation’s From the Rumble Seat has us covered…
Us: In Georgia Tech's 86-75 loss at Boston College, the Eagles shot almost 55% from the field and hit nine 3-pointers - how much of that was poor Yellow Jackets' defense to hot BC shooting? What's your feel for the team coming out of the first ACC game?
FTRS: It was all poor defense. This team is struggling with a newly installed zone defense. Hewitt typically plays a tough man-to-man defense because his teams can match up athletically with any teams in the country. Unfortunately, we have no big guys down low to defend the 4 or 5 so Hewitt has put in a zone and some double team looks to help down low. Booyah! We leave guys wide open for wide open threes. It's a rough and tumble season but Hewitt is trying to adjust to his personnel. We'll see what it means for the ACC season but if we were betting men, we'd take the under on 4.5 ACC wins.
Us: Since Clemson last met Georgia Tech, the Jackets have lost a lot in the frontcourt. Who has stepped into that role this season and has coach Paul Hewitt had to change things up any?
FTRS: No one really. Tech has rotated several guys around at 4 and 5 with mixed results. Hewitt has run a lot of 4 guard offense this season and it's tough to compare anyone to Gani Lawal AND Derrick Favors. Redshirt freshman Daniel Miller is leading the team in blocks and is pretty much the only guy getting blocks on our squad. Kammeon Holsey and Nate Hicks are playing the 4 sometimes. Seven different guys have started for Hewitt this season and eight guys have contributed major minutes. The rotation is a mess in the front court, in our opinion.
Us: At 7-7, the season hasn't gone smoothly for Georgia Tech to say the least - how hot is Hewitt's seat coming into Clemson?
FTRS: It's about as hot as Frank Beamer's seat at VT. Georgia Tech fans have come to the logical consensus that renovating Alexander Memorial Coliseum and paying off Chan Gailey (former GT football coach) are enough of a financial burden on the GTAA and boosters. Hewitt would be owed about $8.1 million after this season if Tech wanted to terminate him. That's too rich for our blood and we're willing to suffer through some seasons until someone else gets suckered into hiring Hewitt (St. John's!!!), Chan/stadium get paid off and we buy him out, or Hewitt does something off-the-court to justify a termination.
Us: Who are the go-to players for a Yellow Jackets' win Wednesday?
FTRS: Iman Shumpert, Glen Rice, Jr., and Brian Oliver all have to play well. In the 2010-2011 season, all three have shown flashes of scoring brilliance. If we could get all three to play at 100% like we've seen this season, we could finish out the season with 5 or 6 ACC wins.
Us: Georgia Tech hasn't won in Clemson since the 2004-05 season - what are the keys to Georgia Tech coming out of Littlejohn with that victory?
FTRS: Georgia Tech needs to invoke some of its 2003-2005 defensive intensity. The Jackets are really struggling defending the perimeter this season and could really use some better half-court defense. Tech has played an unusually high amount of zone this season, which has left a lot of good shooters wide open when Tech's guards double team bigs down low. If Tech wants to beat Clemson, we're gonna have to limit their 3-ball. In Clemson's losses this season, they've averaged 62.5 points and a 28.0% 3-point shooting percentage. If Clemson starts hot behind the arc, Tech is doomed.