Georgia Tech Yellow JacketsOverall record
: 3-2ACC record
: 0-02006-07 record
: 20-12 (lost to UNLV in first round of NCAA Tournament)2006-07 RPI
: 522006-07 Sagarin
: IU leads 1-0 (87-65 in Los Angeles, 12/29/69)TV
: 7 pm tonight, ESPN
If you, like me, couldn't recall IU ever playing Georgia Tech, if you are under the age of 40, your memory did not fail you. IU and GT have played only once, 38 years ago, on a neutral court in Los Angeles (presumably some sort of holiday tournament). So, in the spirit of inter-regional competition, the BT/ACC Challenge is providing an unusual matchup tonight. This is IU's seventh appearance in the BT/ACC. Bob Knight did not favor this made-for-TV event, so 2001-02, Mike Davis's second year, was IU's first appearance in the challenge. This is also, from a preseason perspective, IU's least formidable Challenge opponent. In 2001, IU played and beat an ultimately awful UNC team (at the Dean Dome) that was supposed to be good. In 2002, IU defeated Maryland at Conseco Fieldhouse in a rematch of the NCAA championship game. Since then, IU has lost four in a row: badly at Wake Forest in 2003, at home to Sean May and eventual NCAA champion North Carolina in 2004, at home to Josh McRoberts and Duke in 2005, and a close one against Duke at Cameron in 2006.
In other words, despite not having many good teams during this time period, IU has always faced a formidable Challenge opponent. Now that IU is highly ranked in the preseason for the first time in eons, we are given a home game against a should-win opponent. Go figure.
I'm running out of time and won't get much of a look at GT's personnel, but here's a quick look at the tempo free numbers:
Pace: 73.4 possessions per game (#64 nationally; IU is #59 at 73.6);
Offensive efficiency: 1.08 points per possession (#79 nationally; IU is #19 at 1.16)
Defensive officiency: 1.07 points per possession (#251 nationally; IU is #68 at .913)
Offensive rebounding: 38 percent of OR opportunities (#76 nationally; IU is #185 at 33.1)
Defensive rebounding: 34.7 percent OR allowed (#204 nationally; IU is #152 at 32.6).
GT doesn't appear to bring much to the table defensively, and has a couple of tough losses to UNC-Greensboro and Winthrop. On the other hand, GT has defeated Notre Dame and Charlotte (in addition to Tennessee State), so the Jackets have performed better against legitimate competition than IU has.