What To Watch For Vs. Bethune-Cookman

Matthew McGavic

The Yellow Jackets got off to a good start to the 2019-20 season with a pair of wins against NC State and Elon, but a hard fought loss to Georgia and a last second shot by Arkansas has Georgia Tech currently sitting at .500 on the season. If it weren't for a couple plays here and there, the Ramblin' Wreck could very easily be looking at an undefeated season season. With that in mind, they look to welcome the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats this weekend at McCamish Pavilion. Tipoff is set for this Sunday at 6:00pm, and can be found on Fox Sports South and your regional sports network.

Here are a couple of the more significant storylines to follow ahead of Tech's 3rd all-time matchup with the Wildcats:

Veteran Leadership

This is most certainly not a John Calipari coached team. Over half of the players are upperclassmen, with 8 of the 15 roster players being seniors. In fact, 6 of the 10 players to see time on the court so far have been seniors.

The Wildcats' style of play is actually vaguely similar to that of the Yellow Jackets. They're a defensively minded team with the offense occurring as a result of the effort on the defensive side of the floor. Offensively, they're led by small forward Isaiah Bailey and center Cletrell Pope, with both averaging nearly 14 points a game.

Despite not being the Wildcats' point guard, Bailey has been a good ball distributor as he leads Bethune-Cookman in assists with 3.1 per game and has a positive assist/turnover ratio. On the boards, Pope averages a double-double with 12.6 rebounds a game to go with his 13.7 points, and could be a matchup issue with GT center James Banks III if Banks is not focused and disciplined.

Night & Day Schedule

Something that head coach Josh Pastner has gone on record multiple times early this season about is the importance of playing a tough schedule to begin the season. As of right now, Georgia Tech has the third highest strength of schedule in the ACC behind only Virginia and Duke.

Bethune-Cookman on the other hand, hasn't exactly played cream-of-the-crop ball clubs. They might be 5-2 on the season, but that might have to do a lot with their 286th ranked strength of schedule. 3 of their wins this season have come against non-D1 teams, with their most recent being just a 4 point victory over St. Francis (IL). In their lone game against a Power 5 opponent, they suffered a brutal 79-44 loss to Chris Beard's Texas Tech Red Raiders, then followed that up with a 90-61 defeat at the hands of Nebraska Omaha.

Their last few games had them travel down to San Antonio for the UIW Invitational, and while the Wildcats went 3-0 in the Alamo City, it wasn't the prettiest affair. They opened up with a dominant 25 point win over Incarnate Word, but then won their next two games over Eastern Illinois and St Francis by a combined 7 points while shooting just 4-31 from beyond the arc.

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