Jan. 25, 2013
THE FLATS – Having emerged from its Tobacco Road gauntlet, Georgia Tech returns to play three of its next four games on its home court, beginning with Wake Forest at 3 p.m. Saturday in a regionally-televised Atlantic Coast Conference game at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech (10-7, 0-5 ACC) is still in search of its first ACC win after having played the projected top four finishers in the conference among its first five league games. The Yellow Jackets sit 0-5 in conference play for the first time since the 2008-09 team began the season 0-6.
Five of Tech’s losses have come against teams currently ranked 31st (Illinois), fourth (Miami), 13th (NC State), first (Duke) and 34th (North Carolina) in the CBS Sports RPI ranking. The Yellow Jackets have return meetings with Miami, NC State and North Carolina in the second half of the conference season.
Saturday’s game can be heard over the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network (790 AM, 106.7 FM in Atlanta), as well as satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 93, XM Ch. 195). The game will be regionally televised on the ACC Network and can also be viewed outside the ACC region on ESPN3.
Wake Forest (10-8, 3-3), picked to finish below Georgia Tech in pre-season polls, have gotten off to a good start in ACC play and come to Atlanta on the heels of an 86-84 victory over 18th-ranked NC State Tuesday night. Like Tech, the Demon Deacons have lost to Duke and Virginia Tech, but have beaten Virginia and Boston College.
The Yellow Jackets split their regular season meetings with Wake Forest last year, each team winning at home. After a trip up to Clemson Tuesday night, Tech comes back home to face Virginia and defending ACC champion Florida State.
Tech began its first season in McCamish Pavilion with eight straight wins before dropping its first two ACC games at home against Miami and Virginia Tech.
A win for Georgia Tech against Duke would give the Yellow Jackets 11 wins for the season, matching last year’s total.
Wednesday night’s loss at North Carolina was the first game this season in which the Yellow Jackets neither led, nor were tied past opening tip.
Tech has reversed two trends in its last two games, one good and one bad. The good – after getting outrebounded in its first three ACC games by an average of 9.3, Tech outrebounded both Duke and North Carolina.
After averaging 13.6 assists and just 11.5 turnovers in its first 15 games, the Yellow Jackets have just 15 assists and 40 turnovers in the last two games.
Tech is 8-2 at home in its first season in McCamish Pavilion and has averaged 7,186 in attendance with two sellouts.
Tech has played just four true road games this season, all against teams ranked in the top 35 of the CBSSports.com RPI rankings top 25 – a 75-62 loss to No. 22 Illinois on Nov. 28, an 83-70 loss to No. 16 NC State on Jan. 29, a 73-57 loss at No. 1 Duke and Wednesday night’s 79-63 loss to No. 34 North Carolina.
Tech still has its best 17-game start since the 2009-10 season, in which the Yellow Jackets won seven in a row on their way to a 13-4 start. Tech had won six straight this season before a Jan. 5 loss to Miami.
Six of Tech’s seven losses have come by double digits, the 70-65 overtime loss to Virginia Tech being the exception. Seven of the Yellow Jackets 10 victories have been by double digits, the closest game being a 73-66 win over UNC Wilmington.
NC State is the only team to reach 80 points (83) against the Yellow Jackets this season and the only team to shoot 50 percent (50.9) from the floor.
Tech remains in the nation’s top 30 in scoring defense (26th) and field goal percentage defense (13th), and ranks fourth in the ACC in both categories.
Tech’s losses have come to teams with a combined record of 92-32 (as of Jan. 24), and only two of those were at home.
Series Notes vs. Wake Forest
The Yellow Jackets have won seven of the last 10 meetings, including a 69-62 win last March 3 at Philips Arena that earned Tech a split of the regular season series. The Demon Deacons captured a 59-50 win over Tech in the first meeting on Feb. 15 in Winston-Salem.
Tech made a sweep of the season series in 2010-11, setting school records in each game for margin of victory in an ACC game (74-39 at home on Jan. 19) and for margin of victory in an ACC road game (80-54 on Mar. 3).
Tech was 24-9 against Wake Forest in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, winning each of the last seven meetings in the building, and is 25-9 against the Demon Deacons in Atlanta.
The home team has won 30 of the last 39 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times in Atlanta during that span, and Tech winning five times in Winston-Salem.
Tech has lost 11 of the last 14 meetings at the Joel Coliseum, and is just 6-17 in the building. Tech is 10-24 against Wake Forest on the road, including a 2-3 mark in regular-season games played in Greensboro and a 2-4 mark in games played in Winston-Salem prior to the opening of Joel Coliseum.
Tech is 33-26 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.
Wake Forest has won all four of its meetings with Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament, including a 75-74 triumph in the 1996 championship game in Greensboro. Wake Forest took the 2007 first round meeting, winning 114-112 in double-overtime, the highest-scoring game in ACC Tournament history and the highest-scoring game for Tech involving an ACC opponent in its history.