What To Watch For Vs. Louisville

Matthew McGavic

Going 0-2 at home this past week against Notre Dame and Virginia, life in the ACC is not about to get any easier for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-10, 3-5 ACC). Next up for the Jackets, they are heading back on the road to face the #11 Louisville Cardinals (15-3, 6-1 ACC), who were the preseason favorite to win the conference. Tip is set for 7:00pm EST and can be viewed on your Regional Sports Network.

Here are a couple of the more significant storylines to follow ahead of Tech's 35th all-time matchup with the Cardinals:

On A Roll

Louisville might not have been picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference in the preseason, but if their play as of late suggests anything, they could be poised for a shot at the ACC title. The Cardinals just wrapped up a three game road trip that saw them go undefeated during that span, including an impressive win over the #3 Duke Blue Devils. It was Louisville's first win at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1983.

It does not help that the Cards have also been on a roll against Georgia Tech in recent years. Louisville has won the last 8 matchups with Tech, with the most recent Yellow Jacket victory coming on December 20th, 1997. The games during that losing stretch have not been competitive, with Louisville winning by an average margin of 14.8 points, and only 3 games being won by single digits.

Leader of The Pack

Much like when the Yellow Jackets faced the Blue Devils, they will once again be facing a player who not only has a shot at ACC Player of the Year, but National Player of the Year as well. Junior forward Jordan Nwora opted to come back to Louisville instead of heading to the NBA, and it has paid dividends for him. The preseason ACC Player of the Year leads the Cardinals in PPG (19.6), and is top 10 in the conference in: defensive rebounds per game (5.56), double-doubles (7), field goal percentage (47.0%), free throw percentage (79.2%), three point field goals per game (2.44) and total rebounds (134). 

Louisville has a ton of weapons on the offensive end, but there's no doubt it runs through Nwora. Stopping him will be one of the many steps Georgia Tech will have to take if they plan on coming out of Louisville with a win.

Defensive Shutdown 

While Louisville is unquestionably a dangerous team when it comes to scoring, they are an even better team on the other end of the floor. Among Division I teams, the Cardinals have the 8th-best field goal defense (36.8%) and the 12th-best three point field goal defense (38.7%). Combining all the defense metrics together, and Louisville has the 11th best Adjusted Defensive Efficiency in the nation, according to KenPom.com.

However there is an aspect of their defense that the Jackets could take advantage of. Louisville forces just 11.5 turnovers per game, which is the lowest in the conference. Considering how Georgia Tech looked on offense against Virginia whenever they were not turning the ball over, this could be something to watch for when the ball is tipped.

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