The No. 13 Virginia Cavaliers look to improve to 6-0 in the ACC tonight as they host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Jackets are on a five game winning streak and sit 1.5 games behind Virginia in the current ACC standings with a 3-1 record.
In order to get the lowdown on Georgia Tech, we chatted with our friends over at From the Rumble Seat. Huge thanks to Reed Bakich for their time, and you can check out our answers to their questions here.
Streaking the Lawn: Georgia Tech has had fewer games so far this season, but what’s your early assessment of the Jackets?
From the Rumble Seat: Well, it’s been a rollercoaster that’s for sure. We knew this team had the potential to be the best in the Josh Pastner era before the season started with the upperclass talent it had returning. Things are finally starting to trend in that direction but the season didn’t start out well. Tech dropped it’s first two games to in state “rivals” Mercer and Georgia State and panic quickly ensued. The reasons for that loss have been well documented at this point I think with the team not holding any contact practices before the season. They saved their season with wins in the next three games and now are on a hot streak with five wins a row, including a dominating win over a ranked Clemson team after a long COVID induced break. I think this team can find a way to make the NCAA tournament but they certainly can’t afford to have any more games canceled.
STL: GT has a five game winning streak going...what has been the biggest key for them in this stretch?
FTRS: I would say the overarching theme would be the improved play of Mike Devoe. A lot was expected of Devoe before the season but he really struggled in the teams first four games. Since then he’s averaging 16 points and 4 assists per game. He seems to have settled to his role as an off guard and has been lethal from 3-point range.
STL: Virginia’s offense has started to catch fire. How do you see the GT defense matching up, and who will be the biggest key for GT defensively?
FTRS: It’s not a surprise to see UVA rank extremely high in some of the efficiency metrics and they seem to be especially good about taking care of the ball. Their shooting percentages across the board are also very impressive. Tech will be glad they have Khalid Moore back who is their best perimeter defender. The Jackets switched their starting lineup early in the season to center four perimeter players around Moses Wright and while it’s paid dividends overall it’s left them a bit undersized at the guard spots. If UVA can be physical and get Tech in foul trouble I can see them having success because the Jackets aren’t that deep especially in the front court.
STL: GT returns a LOT of players...who do you think is the most important for the Yellow Jackets, and who is someone that UVA fans should know about?
FTRS: Hands down the most important player on the team is Jose Alvarado. He’s the floor general, the team leader, the guy that makes the offense go, and every other cliche that goes with a senior point guard. The guy is just a gritty competitor and it’s been a ton of fun watching him improve over the last four years. He’ll make an impact on both ends and the ball will be in his hands late if the game is tight.
STL: Prediction time! Who you got?
FTRS: It goes without saying that the pack line is a tough matchup for the Jackets and they’ve never fared all that well against Tony Bennett’s teams. UVA is on a roll and I just think Tech is due to be knocked down a peg. UVA wins 71-64.