Virginia Tech Hokies (13-1) vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-5)
NCAA Basketball: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm ET, Hank McCarmish Pavilion
Spread: Virginia Tech -7.5
FREE ESPN NCAA BB Picks Virginia Tech Hokies vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The ACC is has two clear leaders in the Duke Blue Devils and Virginia Cavaliers, but the conference is fairly deep as usual with Virginia Tech coming in at #9 in the country this week. They have only one loss on the season, and teams like Georgia Tech are falling behind the curve a bit, as the Yellow Jackets only sit at 9-5 this season.
The Hokies have solid wins over Power 5 schools including Purdue, Washington, Notre Dame, and Boston College. They have yet to face a ranked opponent this season and their lone loss is to a not-so-great Penn State squad that is currently at 7-8 on the year. In their last game, the Buzz Williams coached Hokies, came back from a 32-30 deficit at the half to win against Boston College 77-66. So far this season their KenPom rating is pretty consistent with their rankings in the polls. Pomeroy has them 8th in their overall ratings, but the one knock on this Hokies team is their strength of schedule is 306th out of 342, with their opponents adjusted offense and defense are ranked 230th and 342nd (dead last) in the ratings. This is cause for concern when the Hokies do face quality opponents and when they get to postseason play and cannot hide from quality teams.
The Hokies have a good offense this season and they are led on the offensive end by Nickeil Alexander-Walker, cousin of former Kentucky player and current LA Clipper Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Nickeil averages 18.8PPG and has filled the stat sheet with 4.2RPG, 3.4APG, and an astounding 2.4SPG. Their leading rebounder is Kerry Blackshear Jr., bringing in 5.9RPG, and guard Justin Robinson is dishing out 6APG. The team is very balanced and eight players see at least 14.5MPG. As a team they are scoring 81PPG on 51.4% from the field and 44.2% from three, while pulling in 34RPG, and dishing out 18APG versus 12TPG. They rank 42nd in scoring, 5th in FG%, 1st in 3PT%, and 217th in rebounding nationally as a team. These averages are without two players, Chris Clarke and Landers Nolley, who they thought would be solid contributors for the team this season.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off a win over Wake Forest and have gone up against ranked opponents this season and fair relatively well, but lost both games. Those losses to ranked teams came against #3 Tennessee (66-53) and #24 St. John’s (76-73) in the early season. In the KenPom ratings they are sitting at 83rd so far this season. Va Tech has issues with strength of schedule and opponent offense and defense rating, but the Yellow Jackets are even worse. They sit at 310th in SOS, and 333rd and 242nd in opponents offensive and defensive ratings. Their own offensive rating is 204th in the nation and 21st in defensive performance compared to Va Tech who is ranked 2nd and 37th in those categories respectively.
This season the Yellow Jackets are not doing so well offensively and it seems that they have not been able to put together a full squad in many games. Of their 16 players that have seen the court this season, only six have played in all 14 games and eight have missed only one game or less. Their leading scorer is Jose Alvarado who is putting up 13.1PPG. The leading rebounder is James Banks III, who pulls in 8.2RPG, and averages a very impressive 2.5SPG. As a team they average only 73PPG, on 45.9% shooting from the field, 30.45% from three, and average 35RPG. This puts them at 181st in PPG, 113th in FG%, 239th in 3PT%, and 176th in RPG. The homecourt advantage will be helpful, but possibly not enough to top the Hokies.
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ATS last 10 (6-4)
ATS home (7-4)
ESPN SCORES NCAA Basketball Prediction Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Virginia Tech Hokies
The battle of the Techs is going down on Wednesday night and there are a few obvious signs that show exactly who is going to come out victorious. Va Tech is the best three point shooting team in the country, and that won’t change against the Yellow Jackets. They shoot better, and have the better star in Alexander-Walker and a coach that has a better track-record. The Yellow Jackets just can’t seem to get more than 6-8 players to produce night in and night out. While both have fared well against the spread, both at 10-4, one team is just more talented than the other. The Hokies are going to just overwhelm their opponent in talent and offensive production to get this win. Don’t expect a high scoring affair as both are rated in the top 37 in KenPom’s defensive rating, but the O/U is rather low in the opening lines. The opening spread was Va Tech -8.5 and has since moved to -7.5…get on that!