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Behind Enemy Lines: Talking Maryland-Georgia Tech with From the Rumble Seat

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We exchanged a few questions and answers with Bird of From The Rumble Seat, SBN's Georgia Tech blog, on Maryland's matchup with Georgia Tech tomorrow. Check out our answers to his questions over here. But first, read on for our exchange, where we touch on Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech's inconsistency, Paul Hewitt's job security, and GT's semi-new stadium.

1. So what's up with Iman Shumpert? Dropping 30 on Carolina, getting a triple-double against VT? Seems like he's taken a real leap. What has he improved on and just how good is he? Does he deserve ACC POY darkhorse talk?

 Iman is definitely the catalyst that sparks this team to victory. The reason I'd say he's not an ACC POY candidate is because he is just as inconsistent as our team. He's a good handler and great on ball defender but he lacks a refined jumper (<25% from behind the arc) and he has been beat by some questionable guards on crappy teams.

For example, Iman's A:T ratio against the meat of our schedule (Syracuse, VT, UNC, Northwestern, Richmond, and UTEP) was 29:7. Against lesser squads (Kennesaw State, Charlotte, Siena, Wake, uga, and Savannah State), he had a 23:31 A:T ratio. A good guard should show up to every game like it's Syracuse or UNC. The inconsistency is inexplicable just like our losses to Siena, Charlotte, Kennesaw State, and uga...

2. One of the things that struck me about GT's lineup was the complete lack of height. 4-out 1-in isn't a new system for Hewitt, but after having three really good inside players in Lawal, Favors, and Peacock last season, it's jarring to see a post made up of two redshirt freshmen with middling production. Is it safe to say that's one of Tech's big weaknesses? How do they gameplan around it?

 Kammeon Holsey has progressed a lot in the 4 spot. He is definitely improving offensively to alleviate the defensive 5, Daniel Miller. Miller is a great shot blocker but has little to no offensive game. Nate Hicks comes in sparingly at the 4 and 5 and combined with our two other true big men we're only averaging ~10 points per game from true bigs. That's pretty depressing considering we were pulling in 25+ points/night with Gani and Derrick.

Offensively, we run a lot of transition. We try not to get bogged down in the half court sets because we don't have a great inside game so expect a ton of running. Defensively, we're implementing a lot of zone, which is pretty unusual for Paul Hewitt. It's worked somewhat (VT) and blown up in our face (Northwestern) so we'll see how it goes against MD.

3. GT's been one of the most inconsistent teams in the country, and that's masked some really good performances. Do you think the Jackets are overlooked, either nationally or even in the ACC itself? It's not out of the question for this team to get an NCAA bid, is it?

I think the answer is simple. GT is a middle of the road team in a middle of the road conference. The ACC is down this year and it's masking GT's tragic flaws (lack of inside game, poor perimeter defense). You also have to remember that Paul Hewitt is one of the few coaches outside of K and Gary that has been at his school for 10+ seasons. Hewitt knows the tendencies and weaknesses of his conference opponents a lot better than his OOC schedule. This experience gives him a slight advantage over the conference slate but not much (hence, his sub-500 record against ACC teams).

4. Paul Hewitt doesn't exactly have a stellar reputation around the conference. How safe is his job right now?

Based on insider info, terminating Hewitt is considered fiscally irresponsible from our AA in this economic state. Our big donors are focused on paying down Chan Gailey's buyout and finishing the basketball stadium rejuvenation. An $8.1 million dollar buyout is a tough pill to swallow for any athletic department and I think Tech fans will just have to deal with Hewitt's lack of consistency for a few more years.

5. Tech's tearing down Alexander Memorial Coliseum and building a new stadium. I saw the renders a few months ago and was very, very impressed. How do you guys feel about the move and new digs? 

Well, I wouldn't say we're tearing it down [ed's note: poor choice of words on my part. More like heavily renovating and renaming it]. The trademark mammary appearance from overhead will remain intact. I think most Tech fans feel like the remodeling isn't so much for Hewitt and his recruiting as it is for Hewitt's successor. Dan Radakovich has shown a huge interest in upgrading Tech facilities since he came on campus and this is just one more jewel in his crown as AD. Tech fans are excited to see the new stadium but not necessarily excited about the initial product that will be on display in the new digs.

6. Last one: who you got?

I think Maryland will win with a half-court Hail Mary shot. Paul Hewitt has struggled against Gary no matter where the two have met. Tech's home court advantage is non-existant this season (a neutral court-like atmosphere). I'm not confident in Tech's ability to sustain momentum from game-game particularly in conference. Initial thoughts are MD by 11.

Not quite sure about an 11-point shot, but I'll run with it. Thanks again to Bird and FTRS for the Q&A session.