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In our preview of Georgia Tech, we talked a lot about how things have changed
now, and how being seen as an elite team isn't always a benefit. Toss in
the loss of B.J. Elder, and Tech has a lot to overcome.
Instead of dominating the conference as some expected, Tech has lost to UNC,
State, Virginia Tech and Maryland. They struggled with Florida
State. They also lost to Kansas and Gonzaga, and had a most impressive win
over Tommy Amaker's Michigan squad.
Yet that seems like a lifetime ago.
Since Elder was injured, Tech has had problems on offense. You'd think that a
team with Will Bynum, Jarrett Jack, and freshman Zam Frederick and Ra'Sean
Dickey could build an offense - and Luke Schenscher is certainly more than a
But mainstay Isma'il Muhammad has never really advanced much offensively
beyond the dunk, and Anthony McHenry has always been hesitant offensively.
And when you look at them in a purely statistical way, they are not shooting
well. As you'd expect from guys who shoot close to the basket, Schenscher,
Dickey, and Muhammad are respectable, at .543, .649, and .478
respectively. Jarrett Jack shoots well at .511, but Bynum is at .415, when
Elder is healthy, he's only at .432.
Still, regardless of offensive issues, Tech's basic approach remains the
same: run 'em in, run 'em out, wear 'em down. They have 10 guys averaging double
figures in minutes, and one more who is close.
Their goal, as always, is to wear you down defensively and get lots of fast
break points. It's a philosophy we enjoy watching when it works, but a lot of
times teams which try do to this don't do well in a halfcourt game, for whatever
One of the things we've enjoyed watching over the last few years is the
development of Luke Schenscher. A guy who was originally going to attend
somewhere like Boise State until Tech lost a recruit, Schenscher has made the
most of his opportunity and become a mainstay at Tech.
He's never going to be fast, but he plays smart, he keeps his hands up, he
passes well, and he's just a tougher kid than anyone ever expected. Plus he has
a unique look. He's certainly not like anyone else.
We're honestly not sure what to expect in this game. Tech is a deep
squad, but one clearly with some issues.
As far as Duke goes, while we weren't happy with the outcome of the Wake
game, we did see a lot of things to like. First of all, Shavlik Randolph
got up to 20 minutes in this game, and that is bound to help. And second,
after a game filled with adversity, Duke showed a lot of guts coming back, and
almost stole the game. J.J. Redick was the driving force, but a lot of
guys had a hand in that.
Why are we so big on that? Because Duke could easily have lost that
game by 20 or more. There wasn't a whole lot going Duke's way. Wake
was playing dominant ball. Yet at the end, there was Duke, pushing back into the
game, almost taking it.
If Duke can continue to rehab Randolph, and can play defense, and show the
same heart, there's nothing that's out of reach for them.