@GTMBB Meets Arkansas in NIT Season Tipoff

Nov. 25, 2015

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech leaves the friendly confines of McCamish Pavilion for the first time this season this week when the Yellow Jackets travel to play in the NIT Season Tipoff at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Complete Game Notes  | WatchESPN link | Purchase tickets

The Yellow Jackets (3-1) face Arkansas (2-1) at 2 p.m. Thursday in one semifinal game, while 11th-ranked Villanova (4-0) takes on Stanford (2-2) in the other. The winners of Thursday’s games will meet for the championship at 3 p.m. Friday, while the losers will play for third place at 12:30 p.m.

Tech opened its season with four straight home games, and came within a last-second three-point basket of winning all four. The Jackets defeated Cornell (116-81), Tennessee (69-67) and Green Bay (107-77) before dropping Sunday’s contest to East Tennessee State (69-68).

Arkansas has played all three of its games at home, defeating Southern (86-68) and Charleston Southern (93-75) sandwiched around an 88-80 loss to Akron. Villanova defeated ETSU and Akron in its NIT Season Tipoff preliminary games, while Stanford defeated Green Bay and Charleston Southern in its preliminary-round games before dropping a pair of games to SMU and Saint Mary’s.

Both Tech games will be broadcast on the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan (680 AM and 93.7 FM). Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPNU. The third-place game Friday will be on ESPNU, while the championship game will air on ESPN2.

TRANSITION POINTS

• East Tennessee State’s last-second basket nixed Georgia Tech’s chance to go 4-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

• This is Tech’s second appearance in an event in the Barclays Center. The Yellow Jackets played in the Barclays Center Classic in November of 2013, dropping games to Mississippi and St. John’s. Marcus Georges-Hunt, Travis Jorgenson, Quinton Stephens and Corey Heyward remain on Tech’s roster from the team that played in that event.

• Tech’s starting lineup for the first four games has been Josh Heath at point guard, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith on the wings, and Nick Jacobs and Charles Mitchell at the post positions. Only Georges-Hunt began his career at Georgia Tech.

• Tech played its entire 12-man roster against Cornell and Green Bay, and 11 of them scored, and went 10-deep against Tennessee and East Tennessee State.

• Tech is averaging 90.0 points per game (third-highest in the ACC) and has hit the century mark twice in its first four games. The Yellow Jackets have connected on 50 percent of their field goal tries (No. 5 in the ACC).

• Tech leads the ACC in assist average (20.0 per game) and has assisted on 57 percent of its made field goals.

• In a reversal of fortune from previous Brian Gregory-coached Tech teams, Tech ranks high in several offensive categories but low in defensive ones, at least in the early going. The Jackets are currently 13th in scoring defense and 11th in field goal percentage defense.

• Tech is playing four non-conference teams this season that it also faced during its run to the NCAA national championship game in 2004 – Cornell, Tennessee, Georgia and VCU.

• A couple of Tech players have received some pre-season recognition from basketball experts. Adam Smith, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, has been named one of the nation’s top 20 impact transfers both by Jeff Goodman at ESPN.com and Jon Rothstein at CBSSports.com. Rothstein also tabbed sophomore guard Tadric Jackson as one of 15 under-the-radar players who could have a breakout season.

• Seniors Marcus Georges-Hunt and Charles Mitchell and junior Quinton Stephens have been named Georgia Tech’s captains for 2015-16.

• Sophomore forward Abdoulaye Gueye and freshman center Sylvester Ogbonda will sit out this season as redshirts.

TECH IN THE NIT SEASON TIPOFF

Georgia Tech has played in the NIT Season Tipoff four times previously, when it was called the Pre-Season NIT, included four rounds in which teams had to win to play in New York, and the semifinals and finals were played in Madison Square Garden.

In its last appearance, Tech knocked off No. 1 Connecticut in the semi-finals of the 2003 Pre-Season NIT before defeating No. 25 Texas Tech in the championship game. Those wins were part of a 12-0 start for the Yellow Jackets, who reached the national championship game where UConn turned the tables and won 80-68.

Overall, Tech has a 12-4 record in the NIT Season Tipoff, including Tech’s games against Green Bay and ETSU leading into this week’s event. The Yellow Jackets lost in the finals of the 1991 event to Oklahoma State and lost in the semifinals in 1995. Tech did not make it to New York in its first try in 1987.

TECH IN THANKSGIVING EVENTS

Georgia Tech has an all-time record of 30-15 in Thanksgiving week events, dating back to the 1991 Pre-Season NIT. The Yellow Jackets have captured two titles, the 2003 Pre-Season NIT and the 1997 Puerto Rico Shootout, and reached the finals of five others.

• Tech has gone 2-1 five times in its last eight Thanksgiving events.

• The last time Tech reached the finals of a Thanksgiving tournament was the 2007 Maui Invitational, where the Thaddeus Young-led Yellow Jackets defeated Purdue and Memphis in the first two rounds before falling to No. 5 UCLA in the championship game.

• In the 2009 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, a Yellow Jacket squad that included future NBA stars Derrick Favors and Iman Shumpert lost in the first round to a Brian Gregory-coached Dayton team, 63-59.

• In the 2011 Charleston Classic, Tech took a 73-60 win over a VCU team that went on to reach the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.

INSIDE THE SERIES

One common element to Georgia Tech’s history with all three other teams in the NIT Season Tipoff is that almost all of the previous meetings have also been played on neutral floors – two of the four games against Arkansas, two of the three against Stanford and all three against Villanova.

• Tech is 3-1 all-time against Arkansas, the last meeting coming in the 1984 Rainbow Classic, a 72-52 Yellow Jacket win in the opening round.

• Tech is 1-2 all-time against Stanford, with all three meetings coming as part of tournaments. Most recently, the Cardinal defeated the Jackets 80-66 in December of 2000 at Maples Pavilion as part of the Stanford Invitational.

• Tech has won all three prior meetings against Villanova, in the second round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., in the 1990 Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans and the 1991 ACC-Big East Challenge in the Omni Arena in Atlanta.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB).

For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com. Tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.

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