Jan. 27, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 22nd-ranked (AP) basketball team concludes the month of January with a pair of home games in a three-day span, first hosting Atlantic Coast Conference foe Wake Forest at 7 p.m. Thursday night, then finishing the month with a non-conference game against Kentucky State Saturday (1 p.m.).
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (14-5, 3-3 ACC) vs.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-4, 4-2 ACC)
Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex
Television: RSN – Bob Rathbun play-by-play, Larry Conley color
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 190, Sirius 213
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tickets for Tech home games: available at www.Ramblinwreck.com/tickets. Single-game tickets available for all remaining Tech home games.
Series History: Wake Forest leads, 35-32
Tech at Alexander Memorial Coliseum: Tech has a 541-188 record in its home arena.
National Rankings: Tech is ranked No. 22 in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Wake Forest is receiving votes in both polls.
Tech is 14-5 overall, 3-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, has its best record through 19 games since the 2003-04 season and has beaten three top-25 teams this month, including a 71-67 win over No. 5 Duke on Jan. 9, a 73-71 triumph at No. 12 North Carolina Jan. 16 and a 66-64 win over No. 17 Clemson on Jan. 19.
Each of the Yellow Jackets’ last three games have been decided by two points, and Tech’s first six ACC games have been decided by a total of 24 points.
Wake Forest, 14-4 overall and 4-2 in the ACC, is coming off a pair of wins in the conference last week, an 82-69 decision at North Carolina and a 69-57 home-court win over Virginia. The Demon Deacons are receiving votes in both national polls this week.
Thursday’s game is the first of two meetings between Tech and Wake this year. The Demon Deacons are one of two permanent home-and-away opponents for the Yellow Jackets. The teams split their regular-season series a year ago, with the Jackets taking a 76-74 decision at home against the Deacons, ranked No. 6 in the AP poll at the time.
The Jackets have been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC and the nation so far, ranking third in the ACC and sixth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.2 pct.). Only Florida State (1st in the nation) and Wake Forest (5th) rank ahead of Tech. Tech ranks fourth in the conference and 28th nationally in lowest three-point percentage yield (.294). The Jackets held Duke 19 points under, North Carolina 12 under, and Clemson 13 under their seasonal scoring averages and have allowed 70 points in a game only three times in the last 14 games.
Tech returned to full strength Jan. 2 when Iman Shumpert, the sophomore guard, returned from a six-game absence due to surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his right knee. Shumpert, who has played an average of nearly 33 minutes in his six games back, has averaged 12.5 points and 4.0 assists in that stretch.
The Yellow Jackets are ranked 22nd in both national polls this week after beginning the year 22nd in the Associated Press poll of writers and 20th in th ESPN/USA today poll of coaches.
Series with Wake Forest
> The Yellow Jackets have won three of the last four meetings, including both games in the 2007-08 season and the first meeting last year in Atlanta. Tech also has captured four of the last six meetings and five of the last eight, and now trails the overall series, 35-32.
> Tech is 22-9 in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, winning each of the last five meetings including a 76-74 decision on Jan. 31 of last season.
> The last three meetings at Alexander Memorial Coliseum have all been decided by eight points or fewer.
> The home team has won 26 of the last 34 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times in Atlanta during that span, and Tech winning four times in Winston-Salem.
> Tech is 9-11 against Wake Forest under head coach Paul Hewitt, and 12 of the 20 meetings have been decided by fewer than 10 points (four in overtime). The Jackets are 3-1 against Dino Gaudio-coached Wake Forest teams.
> Tech is 10-16 against Wake Forest when the Demon Deacons are ranked in the top 25, 11-8 when the Yellow Jackets are in the Top 25, and 3-5 when both teams are ranked.
> Tech is 29-24 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.
Georgia Tech in the RPI
From this week’s College Basketball News RPI report, which most closely resembles the NCAA’s RPI calculations …
> As the No. 29 ranked (RPI) team, Georgia Tech is third among ACC schools.
> Wake Forest is the second-highest ranked ACC school at No. 21, and Tech already owns a win over the top-rated ACC school Duke (No. 3).
> Georgia Tech currently has six wins over top 100 schools. There are more than 340 schools playing Division I men’s basketball, so that represents the top third.
> Georgia Tech will play 29 regular season games against Division I opponents and 20 of those games (69 percent) will be against teams currently ranked within the top 100.
> This week’s RPI report ranks Tech’s non-conference strength of schedule to be fourth among the 12 ACC schools. Since most non-conference games have concluded, this is not likely to change significantly. The system does not reward or penalize schools for games against non-Division I schools such as Saturday’s opponent, Kentucky State.
> The current RPI list notes that Tech will play the bottom four ranked teams (NC state, Virginia, Boston College, Miami) only once while playing each of the top four teams (Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson), as well as North Carolina, twice.
Paul Hewitt Quotes – January 27
On Wake Forest:
“They’re playing really well right now. There’s a lot of parity in the league, and we’re catching them at a hot time. The Virginia game was a double-digit victory for them- and they went to [North] Carolina and won by double figures. So, they’re playing very well. The key for them is Ishmael Smith, who may be the best guard in the league.”
On keeping a young team focused after a loss:
“Our older guys have been around, so they know the value of holding court. We’re at home and we have to take care of business. At the same time, they realize we’re going through a tough stretch of the season. It seems like every time we look up we’re playing a team that’s ranked or playing very well. We know that we just have to weather through this and see what happens once we get to the back end of the schedule.”
On if the loss to Florida State will have any impact on the team:
“We missed some free throws down the stretch. It was a tough loss. We’ve had some really heartbreaking losses this year because of the effort the guys put into it.”
On the importance of the Wake Forest game:
“It is important because it’s home. Every home game in the ACC is important. We just have to take care of business at home. These guys are going to come out and be ready to play. The one thing I know about this team is we’re going to play great defense every night. Sometimes our offensive execution isn’t where it needs to be, especially after the last game in the final two minutes. That was a real crystallizing moment for some of our guys to understand that you have to pay attention to detail. There were times in the last two minutes where we could’ve had easy layups, but we just didn’t execute.”
On Mfon Udofia’s struggles of late:
“I just think he’s had a tough time shooting the ball, that’s it. Like most freshmen, when they’re not shooting it well, he can press. But, he plays about as well as anybody defensively and hustles for every loose ball. He just has to get back to doing what he did earlier in the year.”
On Tech’s problems at the free throw line in the last three games:
“When you look at it, there are certain guys that get fouled a lot. Gani [Lawal], in particular, has said to me that he has to do better. He was shooting it really well early on, but the last three games he is 4-for-12, and we know he’s capable of doing better. He told me he came back in the gym on Monday night and he feels like he’s got it worked out. “