Jackets Meet Oklahoma State in NCAA Midwest Regional

March 17, 2010

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ATLANTA – Georgia Tech, which completed a runner-up finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament for the fourth time Sunday, earned a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Midwest Regional and will face Oklahoma State at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time Friday at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis. All games in the NCAA Tournament are televised by CBS (WGCL-TV, Ch. 46 in Atlanta).

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (22-12, 7-9 ACC, #10 seed) vs.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (22-10, 9-7 Big 12, #7 seed)
Date:
Friday, March 19, 2010
Tipoff: 7:15 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wis.
Television: CBS (WGCL Ch. 46 in Atlanta)
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM Ch. 244, Sirius Ch. 91 (Westwood One broadcast)
On the web: Live stats available at NCAA.com. Live video streaming on MMOD.ncaa.com.
Series History: Oklahoma State leads, 2-1
Tech in the NCAA Tournament: Tech is 22-15 all-time (6-5 under Paul Hewitt). Final Four appearances in 1990 and 2004.
As the No. 10 seed: Georgia Tech is 0-1 as the No. 7 seed (2007, Midwest Regional).
At the Bradley Center: Georgia Tech is 4-0 all-time in the Bradley Center, 4-0 in NCAA Tournament games.
National Rankings: Georgia Tech is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. Oklahoma State is unranked.

> The Yellow Jackets, 22-12 overall, 7-9 in the ACC, lost to Duke, 65-61, in the ACC Tournament championship game Sunday. Tech had defeated North Carolina (62-58), No. 19 Maryland (69-64) and NC State (57-54) to reach the final, after finishing seventh in the regular season.

> Tech is in the NCAA Tournament for the 16th time in its history, for the fifth time in 10 seasons under head coach Paul Hewitt, and for the first time since 2007. The Yellow Jackets have a 22-15 all-time record.

> Tech has played NCAA Tournament games in the Bradley Center in Milwaukee on two previous occasions. In 1992, the No. 7 seed Yellow Jackets defeated Houston and Southern California on the way to the Sweet 16. In 2004, No. 3 seed Tech beat Northern Iowa and Boston College to begin its run to the national championship game.

> Tech is a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second time. In 2007, the Yellow Jackets lost to UNLV, 67-63, in the first round at the United Center in Chicago.

> Tech has been placed in the Midwest Region for the seventh time (1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 2004, 2007) and has an 8-6 record in that region.

> Tech has won 20 games this season for the first time since 2007, for the 14th time in its history, and for the fourth time under head coach Paul Hewitt. Tech’s 22 wins are the most for the program since the Yellow Jackets’ run to the 2004 national championship game, when it won 28.

> Tech came into the ACC Tournament having dropped five of its last seven contests, but have won three straight games and reached the finals by returning to the strong defense that has been the Yellow Jackets’ trademark for most of the season.

> Oklahoma State, 22-10 overall, finished 9-7 in the Big 12 and won its first-round game in the Big 12 Tournament over Oklahoma (81-67) before losing to Kansas State (83-64) in the second round. The Yellow Jackets and Cowboys last met in the 2004 national semifinals in San Antonio, Texas, with Tech prevailing 67-65 to reach the championship game.

Deja Vu?

Georgia Tech’s position in the 2010 NCAA Tournament has a few parallels to its 2004 run to the national finals. The Yellow Jackets begin in Milwaukee at the Bradley Center, where it began the tournament in 2004. They are in the Midwest Region, which feeds into St. Louis, as they did in 2004. They are playing Oklahoma State, a team they defeated in the 2004 national semifinals. The No. 1 seed is Kansas, a team Tech defeated in the 2004 regional final in St. Louis. Northern Iowa, the team Tech beat in its opening round game in Milwaukee in 2004, is the No. 9 seed in the Midwest.

Tech’s NCAA Tournament History

Georgia Tech is playing in its fifth NCAA Tournament in 10 seasons under head coach Paul Hewitt and for the 16th time in the history of the program. Fourteen of those appearances have occurred since 1985.

The 2004 and 2005 appearances were the Yellow Jackets’ first back-to-back appearances since Bobby Cremins led the Institute to the Big Dance nine straight years from 1985-93.

Tech has a record of 22-15 in NCAA Tournament play, highlighted by its 2004 trip to the NCAA title game as well as a Final Four berth in 1990. The Yellow Jackets have reached the NCAA Sweet 16 seven times (1960, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2004).

Georgia Tech has won at least one game in 10 of its 15 previous NCAA Tournament appearances.

Tech in the Bradley Center

Georgia Tech has had a successful history with NCAA Tournament games in the Bradley Center, winning all four of its previous games in the building. The Yellow Jackets won those four games by an average of 3.5 points.

In 1992, the No. 7 seed Yellow Jackets defeated Houston and Southern California on the way to the Sweet 16. In 2004, No. 3 seed Tech beat Northern Iowa and Boston College to begin its run to the national championship game.

The game that always will be remembered in the minds of Georgia Tech fans was the “Miracle in Milwaukee” of 1992, when James Forrest’s desperation three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Yellow Jackets 79-78 victory over No. 2 seeded Southern Cal.

USC’s Rodney Chatman drove the baseline past Forrest for a basket with just 2.2 seconds that put the Trojans ahead by two. Matt Geiger’s inbounds pass from under the basket, intended for Jon Barry, was tipped away, and with just 0.8 seconds on the clock, Geiger inbounded from midcourt to Forrest near the sideline, and the Tech freshman threw in the first three-pointer of his career from about 25 feet.

ESPN SportsNation is conducting a fan poll on the best all-time buzzer-beater in the NCAA Tournament.

Series History with Oklahoma State

> The Cowboys own a 2-1 lead in the series with Georgia Tech. The lone Tech win occurred in the 2004 NCAA Tournament national semifinals in San Antonio. The Yellow Jackets won the game, 67-65, on a last-second layup by Will Bynum, who now plays for the Detroit Pistons.

> The two OSU wins occurred in the 1991 Preseason NIT finals at Madison Square Garden (78-71) and in the 1981 Sun Bowl Tournament (59-57) in El Paso, Texas.

Series History with Ohio State and UC-Santa Barbara

> Georgia Tech and Ohio State have some post-season history as well. The Buckeyes defeated the Yellow Jackets in the second round of the 1960 tournament, 86-69, on their way to the national championship. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools in the first NCAA Tournament in the Yellow Jackets’ basketball history. Tech celebrated the 50th anniversary of that accomplishment this year.

> The teams also met in the 1991 Midwest Regional in Dayton, Ohio, a 65-61 Ohio State victory, and in the 2003 NIT first-round in Atlanta, a 72-58 Tech win.

> The Buckeyes own a 10-3 all-time series lead.

> Tech and UCSB have never met in basketball.

Senior Class Looking to Go Out on High Note

Georgia Tech is looking to extend its season as long as it can for two seniors, guard D’Andre Bell and forward Zachery Peacock. They are the only two players on the Tech team with NCAA Tournament experience.

Bell, from Los Angeles, Calif., has been a key reserve and starter for the Yellow Jackets for four years, earning a reputation as a staunch defender. He missed last season after discovering a congenital spinal condition and having surgery to correct it, and has returned to start every game this season and average 6.3 points a game. The 6-6 guard has played in 122 games in his career, starting 67, and earned his bachelor’s degree in Management last May.

Peacock, from Miami, Fla., started every game of his junior season but mostly has been a key frontcourt reserve for the Jackets, playing in 120 games and averaging 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds for his career. The 6-8 forward, called the best sixth man in the ACC this year by many, is 5 points shy of 1,000 for his career.

Tech Re-Dedicates its Defense to Advance

Georgia Tech has reached the NCAA Tournament by getting back to the strong defense it played most of the season.

The Yellow Jackets allowed just 60.2 points in their four ACC Tournament games, after yielding a total of 179 points in its final two regular-season games against Clemson and Virginia Tech. In those two losses, the Tigers and Hokies collectively hit 21-of-44 percent from three-point range.

In the ACC Tournament, Tech allowed its four foes to make just 17-of-80 three-point tries (21.3 pct.) and 34.1 percent from the field overall. Tech’s four foes averaged 60.2 points per game.

Paul Hewitt Quotes: Mar. 16

On taking a team back to the NCAA Tournament:

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of [the NCAA Tournament] as an assistant coach and a head coach, and it’s always fun to take a group to the NCAA Tournament, especially this group who has not been to the NCAA Tournament. I’ve been telling them to, number one, enjoy it and really look around and see what it’s all about. You have to value every possession.”

On how confident the team is going into the NCAA Tournament:

“I felt like their confidence was strong all year. The important thing for me was when they lost some of those close games that they didn’t get discouraged. Tournament basketball, especially conference tournament basketball, tends to be on the other side because everybody knows what you’re doing. I don’t think there was a play run this weekend that either side didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. But, that’s what you do. You build that confidence up, control the things you can control and hopefully pull out a win and hopefully at the end, you have a win. That’s what these guys did this weekend.”

On Oklahoma State:

“James Anderson is a pretty good player, obviously because he was named Big 12 Player of the Year. The kid is a great shooter and they run a lot of good stuff. They’re a very good shooting team. They’re kind of like Duke without the inside size.”

On James Anderson:

“He’s a tremendous player. He can score a lot of different ways. He reminds me a lot of [Duke guard Kyle] Singler, in that he can shoot the three, go off the dribble and post up. He’s a great player.”

On what he remembers most of the 2004 team starting their Final Four run in Milwaukee where Friday’s game will be played:

“Having a 17-point lead against Northern Iowa and having them come back and actually take a one-point lead and us battling back. I told myself after that game that these guys are ready to hang in this tournament for a little while and we went to the finals.”

On at what point in the season Derrick Favors began to produce more offensively:

“I thought the turning point was early in the ACC season, but the key was staying out of foul trouble. I said at that point that he was ready to really take off and he had two or three really good games, but then he had a couple of games where he got into foul trouble. Another reason I thought he was ready was because of the fatigue factor. He started staying in games longer and he wasn’t asking to come out as much. But, then he had that little rut of foul trouble and once he got through that, then I knew he would be very tough.”

On what the difference will be for the Yellow Jackets to advance in the tournament:

“I honestly can’t even tell you because every game is going to have its own personality. I would say it’s a matter of us having the toughness to make a big stop when we need it.”

On if Georgia Tech’s tendency to play in close games will help them against Oklahoma State, who has played in very few close games:

“Might be, could be. But, each game you just don’t know, especially during tournament time. It could be something like a loose ball or an arrant call or something like that. You just don’t know.”

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