Home Can #12 Virginia win at Georgia Tech on Saturday without Reece Beekman?

Can #12 Virginia win at Georgia Tech on Saturday without Reece Beekman?

Chris Graham
reece beekman
Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia coach Tony Bennett sat star point guard Reece Beekman for Wednesday’s game with Albany, which the Cavaliers would go on to win, 66-46.

Afterward, Bennett was noncommittal on Beekman’s status going forward.

“A hamstring pull can take a little while, so we’ve got to be as smart as we can, and just respond and read how he’s feeling and keep giving great rehab and then rest,” Bennett told reporters after the game. “So, this will be a good seven-day period, and we’ll reevaluate, and hopefully he’ll be good to go, but you know, it will always be what’s best for him.”

Beekman injured his ankle in Virginia’s 70-68 win at Michigan on Nov. 29, then injured a hamstring sometime between then and the 55-50 win over JMU a week later, when he reinjured the hamstring and had to depart after playing just four minutes.

The junior hasn’t been 100 percent or anywhere near since the first injury, and his health has been a big factor in Virginia’s sluggish play of late.

UVA had risen to #2 in the national polls on the strength of wins over heavyweights Baylor, Illinois and Michigan, but the ‘Hoos have gone 3-2 over their last five games, with narrow wins over a 4-10 Florida State team, JMU, a mid-major, and Albany, and tight losses to Houston and Miami, both of whom are ranked.

As Bennett conceded after the Albany game, “we need Reece as close to 100 percent as possible,” and he said later in his presser, “you guys get tired of me saying that line, but if we’re not right, anybody will play with us, and if we’re right, we’ll play with anybody, and that’s just reality.”

What to know about Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech (7-5, KenPom: 117) is off to its usual meh start. The Yellow Jackets’ best win is over Georgia (10-3, KenPom: 106), a 79-77 win on Dec. 6.

Their other five D1 wins are over teams ranked 200 or higher in KenPom, and they’re 0-2 in ACC play, losing at North Carolina (9-5, KenPom; 25), 75-59, on Dec. 10, and at home to Clemson (10-3, KenPom: 64), 79-66, on Dec. 21.

Georgia Tech hasn’t played since the loss to Clemson, so there will be some court rust when they hit the floor tomorrow (noon, ACC Network).

Coach Josh Pastner uses a nine-man rotation, with the scoring coming from 6’6” sophomore Miles Kelly (13.6 ppg, 43.4% FG, 37.9% 3FG), 6’7” sophomore Jalon Moore (10.1 ppg, 6.2 rebounds/g, 48.9% FG) and 6’6” sophomore Dallan Coleman (9.7 ppg, 42.0% FG, 34.0% 3FG).

Also watch out for 6’11” senior Rodney Howard (5.7 ppg, 4.5 rebounds/g, 65.1% FG), who starts but only gets 15.5 minutes per game, and 6’7” senior Ja’von Franklin (8.2 ppg, 5.9 rebounds/g, 54.1% FG), who gets 22.7 minutes per game as Pastner’s small-ball center.

Two other guys to keep an eye on: 6’3” senior Kyle Sturdivant (7.1 ppg, 37.8% FG, 36.7% 3FG) and 6’2” senior Lance Terry (7.1 ppg, 43.8% FG, 32.4% 3FG), just because they can hit the open three.

The analytics

Georgia Tech is a middle-of-the-pack team on both ends in the analytics – scoring 1.032 points per possession on offense (KenPom: 152) and allowing 0.990 points per possession on defense (KenPom: 110).

GT plays at an adjusted tempo of 68.3 possessions per game (KenPom: 198).

Virginia always win the tempo game. The Cavaliers average 61.8 possessions per game (KenPom: 361, of 363 D1 teams).

UVA ranks in the Top 20 on both ends – scoring 1.129 points per possession on offense (KenPom: 19) and allowing 0.912 points per possession on defense (KenPom: 19).


  • KenPom: Virginia 67-60, 76% win probability
  • ESPN BPI: Virginia +6.6, 75.5% win probability
  • Bart Torvik: Virginia 63-59, 68% win probability

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].