NCAA Basketball Picks: Georgia Tech vs. Georgia

Jeff Grant

Friday, November 15, 2013 3:47 PM GMT

The Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been annual opponents for nearly a century, as the two in-state rivals prepare to meet Friday night. Does history provide us with any hints as to where we should place our NCAA Basketball picks tonight?

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this non-conference matchup at Stegeman Coliseum, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3. 

Important year

Georgia Tech has opened its third season under head coach Brian Gregory with a pair of wins, including a 68-50 victory over Delaware State Monday, as it managed to connect on 24 of 45 shot attempts from the field. 

The Yellow Jackets have more players from their home state on their roster than any team in Division I college basketball. 

Solid start 

Georgia earned a 72-52 season-opening win over the Wofford Terriers a week ago, as it finished with a dominating 45-24 edge on the glass, while 12 of 14 players saw action on the court.

The point figure in that affair was more than last year’s squad scored in 27 of 32 games during the 2012-13 campaign. 

A lot returning 

College basketball handicappers need to take a long look at the Yellow Jackets, as they returned 84.6 percent of their scoring and 88.3 percent of their rebounding from last season, while also adding Tennessee Volunteers transfer Trae Golden to add depth at the guard position.

Golden finished with a team-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, as he’s one of four players averaging double figures in scoring through two contests. 

Life without Caldwell-Pope 

The Bulldogs relied heavily on the play of star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope the last couple seasons, but the program will likely play more team-oriented basketball with his departure to the NBA. 

Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points and 13 rebounds in last year’s 62-54 setback to the Yellow Jackets as 6.5-point road underdogs. 

Senior Donte’ Williams and sophomore Brandon Morris are the only two returnees who were starting at the end of last season.

[gameodds]14/249509/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Yellow Jackets with their NCAA Basketball picks, as they’ve gone 19-9 SU versus non-conference foes the last two-plus seasons. 

College Basketball Pick:  Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -1

Also take a look at our previews of tonight's biggest matchups:

NCAA Basketball Picks: Columbia vs. Michigan State

NCAA Basketball Picks: San Jose State vs. Milwaukee-Wisconsin