DATE: November 29, 2022
TIME: 8:00 PM CT
LOCATION: Carver Hawkeye Arena
RADIO: Learfield Sports
LINE: Iowa -15.5
KENPOM: Iowa -15 (Iowa 91% winning probability)

An era ends for Iowa Tuesday night as the Hawkeyes compete in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge for the final time when they meet Georgia Tech at the CHA. Notice to ESPN2 is scheduled for 8:00 am Central.

After a weekend in which Iowa struggled to shoot in the Florida Panhandle and suffered its first loss of the season, Georgia Tech offers an opportunity to get back on track. The Hawkeyes are undisputed big favorites against the Yellow Jackets. So far this season, Georgia Tech has rolled over four cupcakes and two losses in a holiday tournament at Fort Meyers against Utah (close) and Marquette (not close). This follows a 12-20 season last year. Things are not good for seventh-year coach Josh Pastner.

If you were concerned about Georgia Tech following TCU’s model of using sheer size and inner strength against the Hawkeyes, you’ll be disappointed. technology is small. Like low major small. There is only one player in Georgia Tech’s rotation who is taller than 6’7″, and that player (6’11” forward Rodney Howard) only plays about 12 minutes per game and has six total points against competitors this season of Division I scored . As a result, Tech is shooting just 46% on two-point attempts this year, and her assist-to-field goal ratio ranks among the 100 worst in college basketball. They are 346th in offensive rebounds allowed, with opponents rebounding nearly two out of five misses.

So you might think that Georgia Tech will try to win from the periphery. Wrong again! Tech is 324th in three-point shot attempt percentage (the number of three-point attempts out of all shot attempts) and shoots a 311th place 28.6% from behind the arc. You could say their shooting percentage is down.

In other words, I’m not sure how this team is doing. There are three Yellow Jackets who average in double digits, but only just – forward Dallian Coleman (6’6″, 220, 11.3 ppg), winger Miles Kelly (6’6″, 175, 11.2 ppg) and Point guard Deivon Smith (6′ 1″, 175, 10.8 ppg) — and a player not far behind, forward Ja’ von Franklin (6’7″, 215, 9.3 ppg). Coleman and Smith are established starters, and Kelly made his season debut Saturday against North Alabama. Franklin, who was by far their most efficient offensive player, was in the starting XI for the last two games. Maybe Pastner is finally figuring out who should and shouldn’t play, but these aren’t newbies; Rotations should have been set up weeks ago. It’s probably the most confusing kenpom profile I’ve ever reviewed.

Defensively, Iowa has to watch out for Coleman and backup Kyle Sturdevant (6’3″, 195) on the perimeter, meaning this could be a busy night. Kelly isn’t shy about taking his share of three-pointers, either, but he shoots a whopping 18% on 22 attempts so far this season and was just 33% last year. Tech’s most effective inside scorer has been arguably point guard Smith, who leads the team in two-point attempts (7.3 per game) and two -point brands (3.7 per game) and is the second-largest two-point percentage (50%) after Franklin.

On offense, Iowa will face a tech defense that, while not the usual size you’d expect from an ACC opponent, plays well as a unit. Tech’s opponents are only shooting at a 43.6% effective rate and just 26% from behind the bow so far this season. However, the aforementioned number of rebounds was killer, as was the number of free throws conceded (somewhat negated by the fact that their opponents only shoot 61% from the strip). Surprisingly, Georgia Tech blocks a lot of shots, particularly Franklin and second forward Jalon Moore (6’7″, 210). While a significant portion of this is competition-based, it’s obvious that Tech is good at team defense.

With all that being said, Iowa now has a guy. Post-TCU, it’s clear that if the Hawkeyes don’t have a hot shooting night, there will be some teams that will cause problems for this particular Iowa roster. But whatever this Georgia Tech team is, it’s not, and Iowa should use its size and length to make this a relatively stress-free night at Carver Hawkeye Arena.