ACC Basketball Monday Preview: #12 Louisville vs. Georgia Tech

Only one conference game for you on Monday night in the ACC. #12 Louisville (21-6, 9-5) coming off of a close victory over Miami (FL) on Saturday, will head to Atlanta to take on unranked Georgia Tech, for the first time since the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The Yellow Jackets (12-15, 3-12) will be looking to bounce back after getting throttled by #15 North Carolina by 19 on Saturday afternoon.

Rick Pitino was thrilled with his team’s effort on Saturday, as exhibited with his first couple of comments in the post-game press availability.

35 deflections, 35 deflections, 35 deflections. Time and time again, Rick Pitino has preached about this usually forgotten defensive statistic. He has claimed on numerous occasions that 95% of the time, if your team generates 35 deflections on the defensive end, they will win the basketball game.

Without a doubt, the task of getting those 35 deflections will be much more difficult now that the joke of the press conferences, point guard Chris Jones, has been dismissed from the program. Jones had been the focus of scrutiny throughout much of the season for his poor body language, as well as frequent violations of team rules featuring off-court fights, and streaky play. The Cards will try to navigate the rest of conference play and the NCAA Tournament without their point guard and third leading scorer, who would have entered Monday night’s game averaging 13.7 points per game, which was third on the team.

Plus, get this, Jones announced Sunday that he is going to see former NBA player John Lucas to seek help for his anger management issues. While that’s admirable of him to try to get help for his problems, Lucas is a curious choice, especially while considering his talent being wasted in his NBA career due to heavy cocaine use in the 1970s and ’80s. The cynics among us might view this as simple image rehabilitation, but with Lucas’ methodology in question with pertinence to drug treatment (his famous first patient LT treated his crack addiction by replacing it with a golf addiction, though only temporarily; and former Redskin DE Dexter Manley had his own revolving gate at Lucas’ Houston facility), it would be understandable for those same cynics to call into question the efficacy of Lucas’ ability to impact change in Jones ability to manage his anger.

The Yellow Jackets will be looking to find more ways to manufacture offense on Monday night, as the team will be playing in their third game without Chris Bolden, who was suspended last week for the remainder of the season for violation of team rules. Marcus Georges-Hunt, who is averaging 13.9 points per game entering the contest, will try to replicate his 15 point performance from Saturday in order to keep the team competitive against the vaunted Louisville defense. The Cardinals defense ranks 22nd in the country in points allowed per game, as they have only given up an average of 59.1 points per game this season. The Yellow Jackets are at a clear disadvantage, as they have had difficulty all season long in scoring the basketball, exhibited by their 261st ranked scoring offense at 64.2 points per game.

While both teams are playing without impact players on Monday night and beyond, it is hard not to like Louisville in this one, especially with the way they played on the defensive end of the floor on Saturday afternoon. Although they are an offensively flawed team, which will have to gather their bearings before entering the conference tournament and the Big Dance next month, they are the better team in this match-up. Georgia Tech won’t back down though, as Brian Gregory always gets great effort out of his players, so it should be a good one.

Louisville 77   Georgia Tech 69


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