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Get To Know A Marquette Basketball Opponent: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

The Golden Eagles look to bounce back from their second loss of the season in the consolation bracket of the Rocket Mortgage Tip-Off.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Georgia Tech at Florida State Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Name: Georgia Institute of Technology

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Founded: The history of the school can be traced to the Civil War, and I don’t mean the timeframe. Following the war, Georgia became aware of the industrial differential between the South and the North and devoted attention towards pushing their state in a technological direction. A committee was authorized in the early 1880s to study the tech schools of the north, and in 1885, Governor Henry McDaniel signed the bill to create Georgia Tech. The school opened its doors in 1888.

Enrollment: 43,844 total students in the fall of 2021, but just 17,447 of them were undergrads.

Nickname: Yellow Jackets

But isn’t there a song: You’re thinking of “Ramblin’ Wreck From Georgia Tech,” most likely. That’s the official school fight song, and the official first line of the lyrics is “I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech, and a hell of an engineer” where Ramblin’ Wreck is literally referring to a 1930 Ford Model A Sport coupe.

But the mascot is the insect, right? NOOOOOPE. The official mascot of Georgia Tech is the car itself. Buzz, the traditional “guy in a costume” mascot, has only been an official part of Georgia Tech athletics since 1980, while the Ramblin’ Wreck has been a part of GT lore since 1916.

Why “Yellow Jackets?” Literally, because the students wore yellow jackets because they were already the school colors.

Notable Alumni: Former United States President Jimmy Carter; Mike Duke, the founder of Days Inn Hotels; Joe Rogers, Jr., CEO of Waffle House; John Young, Apollo astronaut, NASA’s first space shuttle commander, and one of 12 men to talk on the Moon; Herbert Saffir, developer of the Saffir-Simpson Scale, used to measure hurricane magnitude; comedian Jeff Foxworthy; and Barbara “Bobbi” Morse, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A Tradition Unlike Any Other Because It’s Punishable By Suspension: Tech Tower, the school’s primary administrative building, has the word TECH in giant letters hanging on all four sides of the tower. Dating back to 1969, there has been a long tradition of gaining access to the tower and stealing the T. The tradition of it requires that you return the T at halftime of the homecoming football game or just depositing it on the university president’s lawn to prove that you did it. While this was originally chalked up to “boys will be boys” kind of behavior, it is deeply frowned upon by the university at this point and GT will fine anyone responsible with the cost of repair and replacement as well as suspend the perpetrators for a semester at the very least. The most recent theft occurred in 2014 and was the first to occur since 1999.

How To Know When To Change Classes: Georgia Tech has a whistle that sounds at five minutes to the hour every weekday between 8 am and 6pm. This is stemming from Tech’s days as a trade school with working machine shops that had a whistle blow to signify when it was quitting time. As you can expect from the story about the gigantic T’s atop a building, people have oftentimes stolen The Whistle.

George P. Burdell: Look, there’s a story here, and you’re not going to believe it until you read it. Go read the story of the time honored tradition of a completely fake student.

Last Season: 12-20, with a 5-15 record in the ACC and a first game exit in the ACC tournament, one year after winning the conference tournament.

Final Ranking: #156

Final T-Rank Ranking: #139

This Year So Far: 3-1, but just 2-1 against Division 1 opponents after losing 68-64 for Utah on Monday in the other Rocket Mortgage Tip-Off semifinal.

Current KenPom Ranking and Projection: #109, projected to go 15-16 overall and 7-13 in the ACC. That would land them in a four-way tie for 11th place in the 15 team conference. Shouts to noted roving disaster Louisville for holding down last place.

Current T-Rank Ranking and Projection: #99, projected to go 16-15 overall and 8-12 in the ACC. That would be good enough for 11th place all by themselves.

Returning Stats Leaders

Points: Kyle Sturdivant, 7.6 ppg
Rebounds: Rodney Howard, 5.1 rpg
Assists: Kyle Sturdivant, 2.3 apg

Actual Stats Leaders

Points: Dallan Coleman, 12.0 ppg
Rebounds: Deivon Smith & Javon Franklin, 6.5 rpg
Assists: Deivon Smith, 3.3 apg

Shooters? Sophomore Miles Kelly (6’6”, 175 lbs.) is under the impression he is a shooter after connecting on 33% a year ago, but he’s only hitting 30% this season and leading the team in attempts at five per game. That’s not ideal, but #2 and #3 in total attempts are Dallan Coleman (6’6”, 218 lbs.) and Lance Terry (6’2”, 200 lbs.) at 4.5 and 2.8 a night respectively and both men are north of 36% with Coleman at just short of 39%. The entire rest of the team is just 3-for-20 this season, and that’s bad (15%!) while also being statistically insignificant relative to “likely to shoot it.”

Bigs? Freshman Cyril Martynov is 7 feet tall and 229 pounds, but he’s played just two minutes and all against their non-D1 opponent in GT’s first game of the season. Rodney Howard (6’10”, 241 lbs.) has started all four games for the Jackets, but he has yet to play more than 24 minutes and has played a total of just 15 minutes in their last two games and just six against Utah on Monday. Other than Howard, no one north of 6’7” has played more than 30 seconds against a Division 1 opponent this season.

So the short answer is “No.”

Head Coach: Josh Pastner, in his 7th season at Georgia Tech and 14th as a Division 1 head coach. He has a record of 97-97 at his current stop and 264-170 overall.

All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 4-3. Georgia Tech picked up their three wins in the first four meetings in 1926, 1957, and 1963. All Marquette since then, including in 1976 and 1977, as well as 72-70 in the 2014 Orlando Classic.

What To Watch For: If Georgia Tech is hitting shots at all in any way, something very bad is happening. The Jackets are currently #344 in the country per in effective field goal percentage, and they get there by hitting just 26.5% of their three-pointers and only 41.6% of their twos. They rank in the 320s in both of those categories, and they’re sub-300 in free throw shooting percentage, too. They are completely and totally offensively bankrupt, although they don’t turn the ball over very much and they’re better than MU at offensive rebounding.

Marquette is going to need to get their act together on offense, because KenPom says that Georgia Tech is the 12th best effective field goal percentage defense in the country. Now, part of that is a wee bit of luck because three-point shooting percentage is heavily luck-based, and they’ve held opponents to a hilariously bad (but good for GT) 22.2%. If there was ever a game for the Golden Eagles to figure out how to offensive rebound, this is it because the Jackets are one of the 20 worst defensive rebounding teams in the country and the absolute worst high major team.

In short: Marquette absolutely needs to treat this like a “get right” game. They came close to beating Purdue, but fell apart late. They came close to beating Mississippi State, but played too badly at the start of the game and then couldn’t hold it together later. At some point, MU has to start figuring out how to close out games against high major opponents because there are only two more non-high major teams on the schedule. If the Golden Eagles think they have a ceiling as an NCAA tournament team, they need to start putting up wins.