Flu-ridden Georgia Tech wobbles into Georgia Southern matchup

Georgia Tech's Jordan Usher. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)
caption arrowCaption
Georgia Tech's Jordan Usher. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

Georgia Tech will take on Georgia Southern Friday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion without much preparation. A flu bug that has spread through campus and coach Josh Pastner’s team has drastically limited practice time this week, Pastner told the AJC Thursday.

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After the Yellow Jackets defeated Charleston Southern 85-70 on Monday with guard Michael Devoe out with flu symptoms and others suffering from the same, the team did not practice Tuesday to allow players to rest and recover. Wednesday, only five players were able to practice. Thursday, 10 players practiced, but Pastner did not conduct any contact drills since so many players were back on the floor for the first time since playing on Monday.

“(Thursday), just shooting drills,” Pastner said. “Full court, no contact, just to get the sweat going.”

Asked if preparation for Georgia Southern was limited, Pastner responded “limited’s probably even a strong word,” meaning an understatement. Tech players’ prep for Georgia Southern will basically comprise of a presentation of Eagles’ game video.

Pastner expects to have 10 players available Friday. Devoe is expected to be among the 10. Pastner said he thought Tech had nine players available against Charleston Southern.

“We’ve just got to go out there and play hard,” Pastner said.

Given the preponderance of mid-major teams defeating power-conference opponents this season – such as Miami (Ohio) upsetting Tech in the season opener – the Jackets’ not being able to go through normal preparations could be difference-making. Besides not being able to have a standard preparation and also being limited to 10 players, Pastner was also wondering how stamina might impact the Jackets as many come back from flu symptoms.

Said Pastner, “Am I subbing five and five?”

Georgia Southern is 4-1 and as of Thursday night was 45th in Division I in effective field-goal percentage (55.2%) and 36th in 3-point field goal percentage (39.1%). Tech is also 4-1 having performed even better than the Eagles in those categories – 29th in effective field-goal percentage (56.7%) and 10th in 3-point field-goal accuracy (42.5%).

“They’re a good basketball team,” Pastner said of the Eagles. “They’re very well-coached, so we’re going to have to play well if we want to win the game.”

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