Sunday, December 04, 2005

Cavs look to avoid a Ramblin Wreck

The Virginia Cavaliers are 3-1 on the season but the road for Dave Leitao and his new team reach a big mile marker as they play their first ACC game of the year, on the road against Georgia Tech on Sunday. The Yellow Jackets are 2-2 on the season, coming off a heart breaking loss to Michigan State in East Lansing during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Before that they were embarrassed on their home court against Illinois-Chicago 73-51. The Yellow Jackets are of the many teams recovering from NBA attrition and whose success can either raise or lower the national prominence of the ACC. While Georgia Tech struggles to find the answers to success, many teams like Virginia are left wondering just which team will show up on Sunday.

The Yellow Jackets are lead by sophomore Anthony Morrow. He is the team's leading scorer from last year (though with key losses like Jarret Jack, Will Bynum and B.J. Elder that is not saying much) and currently is 12th in the ACC in scoring with 15.3 ppg and had a career night last game against the Spartans. The problem for Georgia Tech is also a problem for the Cavaliers and that is a lack of experience, the Jackets line up consists of four sophomores and a junior. This has led to a great deal of inconsistency for Paul Hewitt's ball club. They have been very streaky shooting, 32.8, 52.9, 32.9 and 52.2% in their four games this year. Virginia hopes this trend continues if they are too have any success in Atlanta.

The Cavaliers come in Atlanta optimistic after a 15 point drubbing of Northwestern, but cautiously optimistic. The Yellow Jackets are certainly the second most talented team they will have faced this year behind Arizona. The Wildcats took it to the Cavaliers, using speed and athleticism, not to mention superior depth to win by 30 in Tucson. Without a doubt Georgia Tech has an advantage in those areas over Virginia as well. Therefore to be successful, Virginia must be able to dictate tempo, limit turnovers and continue to play strong defense. Offensively Virginia must look to their young guns. Sean Singletary has proven just what a great talent he is, and J.R. Reynolds has begun to grow up and become a solid player. In order to win Virginia will need a third option to emerge. Most likely it will be between either sophomore Adrian Joseph or freshman Mamadi Diane. Both had breakout games against Northwestern and are fighting for playing time at small forward. If they can be successful out on the floor, Virginia might just have the ability to hang with the Jackets.

Dave Leitao is looking at an ACC that is down but not out. Many people do not know what to expect of his ball club, but they're not sure how to gauge the other teams as well. Virginia has lost 10 straight ACC openers and 9 out of the last 10 to the Yellow Jackets. We also have discussed many times Virginia's struggles on the road. Even this season Virginia has yet to win outside of their home state. This game will show a lot as to where both of these teams are right now. Which is the real Virginia team, the one that took care of business against Richmond and Northwestern, or the turnover prone, shaky defense, emotional team that were beatdown by Arizona? Which is the real Georgia Tech team, the one that couldn't buy a bucket against Illinois-Chicago at home, or the one that took the a top 15 team down to the wire on the road? These questions might not be answered tomorrow, but we'll definitely have more evidence to draw a conclusion.


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