Deep 3 with T.O.: Hot-shooting Tigers head to Georgia Tech

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Deep 3 with T.O.: Hot-shooting Tigers head to Georgia Tech

Clemson heads to Georgia Tech for a critical ACC matchup Tuesday night and Terrence Oglesby takes a look at the matchup.

*Clemson is arguably the hottest team in the ACC as of February 24th. The Tigers are shooting the ball at a high clip and playing exceptionally on the defensive end. They are driving down to Atlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets in what could be a tough test for a much improved Georgia Tech team. Josh Pastner has All-ACC level talent in guards Jose Alvarado and Mike DeVoe (no relation to Gabe), and center James Banks.

Traditionally, Pastner’s teams have played a version of the Princeton offense but lately have played a lot more ball screen heavy with Alvarado and DeVoe as primary ball handlers. Defensively, Georgia Tech plays a mixture of man defense and a funky 2-3 defense with the bottom wings really extended. It gives teams fits, which leads me to the first of three points.

Ball Fakes/Work the Short Corner

The Yellow Jackets have elite length on the bottom line of their zone with Banks anchoring the middle. With the wings playing so high up, it really discourages passes to the corners. Shooters can’t be so eager to get to the corners and will have to settle for some easy shots near the baseline. Also, fast ball movement and ball fakes will be key against the zone. The best thing you can do vs. a zone to get open shots is ball fake. Make the defense move and sometimes throw the ball back where it came from for open 3’s and drives into the middle to make things happen. As I said previously, Georgia Tech’s length will give you problems, especially if you don’t make them move.

Take Care of the Ball

This was a bit of a sore spot against the Boston College Eagles. The Tigers coughed it up 18 times in their 18 point win at the Conte Forum. Luckily for Coach Brownell and company, the Eagles didn’t have the ability to capitalize. Georgia Tech will. Jose Alvarado has extremely quick hands. So quick in fact that he set the Georgia Tech school record for steals in a game with nine. He’s also good enough to make you pay on the other end. He is the emotional leader of the Yellow Jackets and his team gets their boost in confidence when he is able to give them a spark defensively. Clemson needs to avoid giving them momentum at home.

Pick and Roll Defense

Alvarado and DeVoe are excellent ball handlers in pick and roll situations and Pastner is now giving them more freedom to operate on their own. Their ability to make things happen is the reason for the uptick in production this season. The other part of their success is James Banks III’s ability to finish at the rim with his size and athleticism. There are two parts to effective “PNR” defense against the Yellow Jackets. First, you have to contain the ball and don’t let Alvarado or DeVoe get downhill in the paint. Second, backside rotations have to be high level because of Banks’s ability to finish above the rim. You have to meet him early on his rolls to the basket. If the Tigers can contain Georgia Tech’s PNR actions, they should have success.

This is a much improved Georgia Tech team and Clemson will have to play high-level basketball in McCamish Pavilion Tuesday night. The Tigers are making some noise in the ACC and a win against the Jackets will push them above .500 in conference play. If the Tigers are able to continue to defend as they have been, this is a very winnable game, but it won’t be easy.

As always, I’ll be tweeting the game in real-time from my twitter-handle @CoachTO22. Make sure to give me a follow and join in on the conversation during the game!

Also, for a more in-depth view of Georgia Tech give my podcast a listen. I will also talk about ACC teams on the bubble and Clemson’s chances moving forward! Click here for access. It is available on 8 different platforms including iTunes and Spotify.

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