On the heels of a solid win to open conference play, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team heads back out on the road to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The game is at McCamish Pavilion and tips off at 9 p.m.
After dropping their first game of the season in the Diamond Head Classic, Miami (12-0, 1-0 ACC) has rebounded to win their next two games, including the ACC opener, a 67-53 decision over Pittsburgh.
Now they head to Atlanta to face a Georgia Tech (6-7, 0-1 ACC) team that currently has the worst overall record in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets have lost three out of their last four games. Their ACC opener was a 68-59 loss on the road against Notre Dame.
This game is a battle of big-time strength for Miami versus extreme weakness for Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes come into the game ranked third in the country in scoring defense (58.5 points per game allowed) while Georgia Tech is ranked 320th in the country in scoring offense (66.5 points per game).
Where Georgia Tech ultimately hopes to keep the game close is on their defensive end of the court where they are solid, allowing 64.9 points per game (good for 34th in the country). The Yellow Jackets are also good at protecting the rim, averaging 5.2 blocks per game (36th in the country). Senior center Ben Lammers is tied for 13th in the country with 3.08 blocks per game.
When Georgia Tech is on offense, they have four different players that combined to score the bulk of the points for them. Sophomore guard Josh Okogie missed the start of the season, first serving a six-game suspension for NCAA rules violations, and then because of an infection stemming from a dislocation of his left index finger in an exhibition game to start the season.
Since Okogie has returned however, he’s averaging 18 points per game and shooting 42 percent from three-point range. Tadric Jackson also missed time due to NCAA violations, but he is second on the team in scoring (15.8 points per game). Freshman guard Jose Alvarado (13 points per game) and Lammers (12.8 points per game) round out Yellow Jacket players that average double-digit scoring.
While Georgia Tech’s offense has struggled, Miami’s has also been flat. The Hurricanes have only topped 70 points twice in the last six games. Bruce Brown Jr. is just one example of a player that needs to kick it into high gear offensively. Against Pitt, he sophomore guard scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. But for the season, he’s shooting 26 percent from three-point range and 55 percent from the free throw line.
Brown Jr. and the Hurricanes offense as a whole need to improve going forward into games agains better opponents. A solid showing against a good defense will help alleviate concerns.