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Clean Old Fashioned Hate week begins: Basketball tips it all off

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

So yes, there is a game still to be played tomorrow with Charleston Southern, but tonight we can start to focus on a little clean, old fashioned hate. With the biannual invasion of Bobby Dodd and The Field Mark Richt Owns set to occur after Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for Tom Crean and his hoop Dawgs tipping off the festivities tonight in Stegeman at 9.

That’s when Josh Pastner and his version of Yellow Jackets will look to gain their first ever victory over a Crean-led Dawg squad. Last year, this rivalry was put on hold in a season which somehow saw Tech win the ACC (who knew?). Two years ago, Rayshaun Hammonds led the way to victory in Athens and the season prior saw Nicholas Claxton and friends successful in Atlanta. The Dawgs have a 5 game win streak over their in state competition. While I haven’t asked Tom Crean for much yet, not an NCAA berth, not competing in the upper half of the SEC, but I will ask that he not lose to Georgia Tech. And with both teams coming in to the matchup at 2-1, it should be a pretty well contested matchup.

Tech arrives having lost their season opener to Miami (of Ohio), but then taken care of Stetson (the University out of Deland, Florida, calm down folks) and Lamar (a university in Beaumont, Texas; they didn’t play 1 on 1 against your neighbor down the street). The Dawgs also lost to an Ohio based team, Cincinnati, while beating Florida International and South Carolina State.

Tech will be led by senior Michael DeVoe, a two time All-ACC (honorable mention) player, averaging 18 points a night off the wing. He averaged over 16 last year and is a quality shooter from outside. “Super” senior (aka back for year 6) Jordan Usher works the glass at F, averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds in the early stages of the season, it was 11 and 4 in his senior season last year. Junior Kyle Sturidvant at PG and senior Khalid Moore at F also start, but freshman wing Deebo Coleman and PG Deivon Smith, a sophomore transfer from Mississippi St have played more minutes so far this season.

Rounding out their main rotation, and starting inside at C will be a familiar face in Rodney Howard. The junior began his college career in Athens, before transferring to Tech last year.

Crean appears settled on a rotation comprised of a freshman, a former walk-on, and the rest new transfers. Super senior Aaron Cook (from Gonzaga) is starting at PG and checks in tonight averaging 14 points, over 8 assists, and 2 steals per game so far. 6’11 center and fifth year senior Braelen Bridges (who thanks to NCAA Covid rules will be eligible to return for a sixth, “super senior” season next year), is averaging 16 points and 8 rebounds. 6’7 F Jaylin Ingram, another super senior out of Florida Atlantic (and Morgan County), along with 6’4 guard and highlight reel dunker Kario Oquendo, a sophomore who excelled in his freshman season at Florida Southwestern State junior college, have joined Cook and Bridges in the starting lineup for all 3 games and are all averaging over 25 minutes a night.

Walk-on Jaxon Etter has chipped in over 20 minutes a night off the bench, along with freshman guard Christian Wright gets just under 5 points a night off around 17 minutes off the bench. The fifth starter spot has been former Southern Cal wing Noah Baumann over the last two games, after Jabri Abdur-Rahim started the opener. The fifth year senior, Baumann, is tied with Cook for the team lead in made 3 pointers, while the highly rated sophomore from Virginia, Abdur-Rahim, has struggled to get his shot going so far this year but brings an upper echelon caliber scoring F off the bench once he does get back in rhythm.

Tonight’s game get underway shortly after 9 p.m. with the SEC Network beginning coverage then for those who can’t get seats in Stegeman. Thus begins the televised portion of Georgia’s non-conference schedule. As tonight’s SEC Network matchup will be followed by a trip to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ for a Monday, ESPNU aired matchup with Virginia at 7 in the Legends Classic, followed by a game on ESPN 2 against Northwestern or Providence on Tuesday. Wofford will be in Athens on November 28th at 4, before the Dawgs host a highly rated Memphis Tigers squad on December 1 on SEC Network.