Georgia Tech Basketball: Yellow Jackets look to rebound against Arkansas

After falling to nemesis UGA, Georgia Tech Basketball looks to get right at home in another SEC non-conference matchup against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Josh Pastner’s Georgia Tech Basketball squad will host the Arkansas Razorbacks on Monday night, five days after falling to rival Georgia last Wednesday. It was an uphill battle for the Jackets from the beginning as Jose Alvarado was nursing an ankle injury and James Banks was fighting the flu.

The upcoming Arkansas game is the second game of a home and home that began last season. Georgia Tech went to Fayetteville and pulled out a 69-65 victory last season in a somewhat surprising result. Alvarado was huge in last season’s contest, scoring 20 points and snagging nine rebounds.

The Jackets will need to once again bring their stout perimeter defense on Monday night as they will face one of the best shooters in the entire country in Arkansas wing Isaiah Joe. The 6’5 wing averages nearly ten attempts from behind the arc and shoots it at a 40% clip for his career. Last season, the Jackets were able to hold him to 3-12 from deep and the Razorbacks as a whole to just 10-32. If Josh Pastner’s group is able to replicate that performance, it will go a long towards putting a notch in the left-hand column.

For the Yellow Jackets, sophomore guard Mike Devoe continues to be scorching hot on the season. The 6’5 wing poured in 34 points in the loss to the Dawgs and is averaging 26 points on the season to go along with 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. His 68.8% shooting percentage from behind the arc is currently third in the nation among players who have attempted at least 15 triples. Of course, the concern for the Jackets going into this game is the health of both Banks and Alvarado.

James played 37 minutes against Georgia and said he was “on the backside of it” after the game, so he should be near 100% for Monday night. Jose on the other hand has seemingly been dinged up since he took that spill late in his freshman season. He re-aggravated the ankle injury against Georgia and sat the rest of the second half. Bubba Parham, who was very good in the first half on Wednesday night, could be in for a ton of minutes Monday evening.

Arkansas comes into the game sporting an undefeated 5-0 record on the season. First-year Razorback’s head coach Eric Musselman’s group hasn’t played much high-level competition, but they have been impressive on the defensive end, surrendering just 47.8 points per game. Apart from Joe, Mason Jones (17.4 ppg) and SMU transfer Jimmie Whitt (14 ppg) lead the Arkansas offense that is averaging a fairly pedestrian 76 points per game. Though Joe is a sniper, Arkansas has shot the ball poorly against the 280th ranked schedule, at just 26.5%, which means they are either really poor from behind the arc or due for a  breakout game.

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Arkansas is currently 22nd in the Kenpom rankings and is predicted to get the win on the road 71-70.