Can Georgia Tech's Season Be Saved?

Matthew McGavic

It wasn't exactly the smoothest start to the 2019-20 season for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Institute opened up the season at 4-5, including a pair of embarrassing home losses to Syracuse and Ball State. During that opening stretch of the season, Georgia Tech ranked just 218th in field goal percentage (43.0%), 316th in three point percentage (28.7%), 345th in free throw percentage (57.8%) and 305th in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.75: 123-163).

To be fair, they did not have their complete roster. Before the second game of the season against Elon, starting point guard Jose Alvarado suffered an ankle injury in practice that forced him to miss 7 of the next 8 games. On top of that, now starting forward Jordan Usher did not become eligible until Tech's game on the road against the Kentucky Wildcats, but did not play until their next game which was against Ball State.

Once the Yellow Jackets had their full roster at their disposal, one would think that the different would be night & day on the court right? Well that hasn't necessarily been the case. Since the  return of Alvarado & Usher to the court, the Jackets have mustered a pedestrian 4-4 record. While they have had flashes of brilliance during that stretch, they have yet to string together consecutive wins while everyone is available, and time is quickly running out to turn things around.

This begs a simple question: Can the 2019-20 basketball season be saved?

Before answering that question, let's take a look at the statistical difference in the team when they are all ready and healthy. 

First 9 Games
Last 8 Games

Points Per Game

65.4

70.8

Rebounds Per Game

37.8

33.9

Assists Per Game

13.7

12.3

Steals Per Game

7.1

7.4

Blocks Per Game

6.6

3.3

Field Goal %

43.0%

46.5%

3PT Field Goal %

28.7%

29.1%

Free Throw %

57.8%

75.2%

Turnovers Per Game

18.1

15.1

Assist/Turnover Ratio

0.75

0.83

Across various facets of their game, there are areas where the team has improved, there are areas where they have improved, areas where they have stagnated, and areas where they have regressed. In terms of pure scoring, they are clearly a better team with a 5 point PPG improvement and FG% increase of 3.5%. Free throw shooting has drastically improved, shooting above the national d1 average during that stretch.

Conversely, there are clearly some areas that still need to be worked on. While turnovers have gotten better, the 15.1 turnovers that they commit per game would rank 289th in D1, and the A/T ratio of 0.83 during the past 8 games would still be 286th. Due to the uptick in competition with ACC play, rebounding, assists and blocks have also regressed.

While a miracle run is still possible, the more that taking care of the ball continues to be an issue for them, the less likely it is that they will have a shot at the NCAA Tournament. There's no question that they are a better team with their full roster and that they have have made improvement in recent weeks. However they will need to take much bigger strides if they hope to turn this ship around.

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Matthew McGavic
Matthew McGavic

Editor

What do you think? Is a tournament run still possible?


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