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Hoops Preview: GT at Duke

Georgia Tech has a chance to accomplish something it hasn’t done since 2004 on Thursday night: win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets are currently riding a 13-game losing streak in Durham, N.C. Last time they defeated the Blue Devils on the road Jarrett Jack led the way with 15 points and Luke Schenscher hauled in nine boards. That team ended up going to the National Championship.

Times have changed.

Now sitting at 10-5 overall, the Jackets are still in search of their first Atlantic Coast Conference win this season. Since starting conference play on Jan. 5, they’ve dropped three straight games to Miami, NC State and Virginia Tech, respectively.

Normally looking at box scores won’t tell you the whole story of a loss, but it’s easy to see where the Jackets need to improve right away: making shots. Georgia Tech is shooting a miserable (66-for-186) from the floor in those last three losses.

Duke will be playing without forward Ryan Kelly, who is out indefinitely at this point. There’s a least one plus for the Jackets. The first game the Blue Devils played without Kelly came this past Saturday when they suffered their first defeat of the season to NC State.

In other injury news, guard Seth Curry plans on playing through some pain he’s been experiencing in his ankle and shin, so he won’t be 100 percent. Those two injuries may be the biggest thing the Jackets have going for them Thursday.

Marcus Georges-Hunt currently leads the Yellow Jackets with 10.9 points per game, but the freshman has struggled in ACC play so far. He’s averaging 8.7 point in those three games. Georges-Hunt did chip in 11 points in 20 minutes against the Hokies, though, which may boost his playing time for Thursday.

Tech doesn’t have one dominant scorer, and with the team collectively shooting poorly, it’s no surprise conference play has been a struggle early on.

Duke is ranked 16th in the nation in scoring, averaging 79.1 points per game. Mason Plumlee leads the way with 17.5 per. The Jackets will need 6-foot-11 forward Daniel Miller to step up down on the blocks to slow Plumlee down.

If the Jackets can limit fouls and find a way to improve upon their dismal shooting percentage, they can keep it close. NC State committed 13 fouls compared to Duke’s 20 in its upset. Discipline is key, which will be even tougher playing at one of the most intimidating venues in all of college basketball.

The Jackets are set for tipoff at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can also catch the game locally on 790 the Zone or on Sirius/XM on channel 91.

  • I can understand the new coach wanting to schedule all the cupcakes at the beginning of the season, but it is always a gamble. You tend to get better by playing against the better teams. However, you must also build up the confidence in the players, so the early cupcake schedule can only be judged by the remainder of the season.

    So far, the team has been close, but no cigars. This can only continue for so long as the confidence of the players will begin to fade from the cupcake wins. Each coach has to have his allotted time to build a team in his own method. The remainder of the season will probably set a picture of the fan's expectations for the future. Yes, the game against Duke would be a good confidence booster and help with the remaining schedule, however, this appears to be a mountain to steep to climb at this time. It would be a huge win for the program if Tech could win it.

    Be ye not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

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