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GaTech's Big Men Quick On Their Feet

Georgia Tech is an interior-oriented squad that prides itself on its big men's ability to run the floor well in transtion offense opportunities. The Yellow Jackets start a trio of big men who can rebound and run the floor well, but mostly just on offense, according to several sources.

"For us to have a chance, we knew we had to get back in transition," said Illinois-Chicago assistant coach Tracy Dildy, who's team defeated Georgia Tech, 66-60, on Dec. 14. "Their bigs really run the court. We had to keep them off the boards cause they're really good in transition. Our emphasis was to make it a half-court game, and we wanted to limit them to one shot because they're such a good offensive rebounding team."

Indeed, led by sophomore forward Gani Lawal, senior forward Alade Aminu and junior forward Zachery Peacock, Georgia Tech has posted an average rebounding margin of +6.5.

But more than their ability on the boards, what stood out to Dildy was how well Georgia Tech's big men operated within the team's transition attack.

"They're bigs, the way they run, it scared me," Dildy said. "I just haven't seen bigs run like they do."

Dildy noted, however, that the Yellow Jackets only were efficient in transition offense and that his team took advantage of the fact Georgia Tech was slow to engage on transition defense.

"We knew they didn't run back on defense as hard as they did on offense," Dildy said. "What we wanted to do was face guard and block out. They didn't do a good job of boxing out on defense. They relied on their size and athleticism to just go get the ball. They had a tendency to leak out and not stay to box out."

An assistant coach of a another team that has played Georgia Tech this season put it this way:

"I wouldn't think they're a great transition defense-type team, if you wanted to talk about a weakness," said the assistant, who requested anonymity in return for his candor. "They run a little bit better from defense to offense."

The assistant also said Georgia Tech is a "99 percent man-to-man team" on defense, which was something Dildy said worked to his team's advantage.

Georgia Tech assigned freshman guard Iman Shumpert to defend Illinois-Chicago's top offensive threat, Josh Mayo, according to Dildy. In response, "we had (Shumpert) chasing," Dildy said. "We wore him down. By the end of the game, he had nothing left."

As for Georgia Tech shooting guard Lewis Clinch, the assistant called him "a guy that can knock down four or five three-pointers on you if you're not careful," but also noted that face guarding in man-to-man defense proved to be an effective method.

Overall, the assistant said Georgia Tech's "got size. They'll throw it to the block every trip of the game if they can."

By Steve Yanda  |  January 9, 2009; 10:38 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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