Jan. 8, 2013
THE FLATS – After playing seven straight home games, Georgia Tech leaves the city of Atlanta for the first time this week to visit 20th-ranked NC State in its first Atlantic Coast Conference road game Wednesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Tech (10-3, 0-1 ACC) opened its ACC schedule Saturday with a 62-49 loss to Miami, which closed out a successful homestand on a down note, snapping a six-game winning streak. The Yellow Jackets still have their best 13-game start since the 2009-10 season, and are heading to a place where they gave head coach Brian Gregory his first ACC victory (82-71) almost exactly one year ago.
Tech’s three losses have come against teams currently ranked sixth (Miami). 11th (Illinois) and 69th (California) in the CBS Sports RPI ranking. The Wolfpack are ranked No. 16 in that service.
Wednesday’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. 135, XM Ch. 193). The game will be regionally televised on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta), and is also available online at ESPN3.
NC State (12-2, 1-0 ACC) heads into Wednesday’s game having won eight straight games, including a 78-73 victory in its conference opener at Boston College Saturday. The Wolfpack are the second top-25 team the Yellow Jackets have faced this season.
Wednesday’s game marks the first of three trips to the North Carolina Triangle in the next four games. After a home game Saturday against Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets visit No. 1 Duke (Jan. 17) and North Carolina (Jan. 23).
Georgia Tech handed coach Brian Gregory his first ACC victory, and his first ACC road win, on Jan. 11 of last season against NC State at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack would go on to reach the NCAA Sweet 16.
A win for Tech against NC State would give the Yellow Jackets 11 wins for the season, matching last year’s total.
Tech has played just one game this season on an opponent’s home court, a 75-62 loss at undefeated and 22nd-ranked Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
These two teams scored a total of 153 points in PNC Arena last year, and the Yellow Jackets scored 82 points and shot 51 percent in one of their best offensive efforts of the season. In Atlanta in Philips Arena, the game was quite different. The teams combined for 113 points in a 61-52 Wolfpack victory, and Tech shot 32.2 percent from the floor.
Tech averaged 62.9 points and shot 44 percent from the floor in road games last year (compared to 59.9 points and 42.3 percent at home). The Jackets scored 62 points and shot 44.2 percent in its only true road game this season.
Tech has its best 13-game start since the 2009-10 season, in which the Yellow Jackets won seven in a row on their way to an 11-2 start. Tech won six straight before Saturday’s loss to Miami, its first home loss of the season.
Tech is 8-1 at home in its first season in McCamish Pavilion and has averaged 7,131 in attendance with two sellouts.
Tech has not played a game closer than seven points this year. All three of its losses have come by double digits.
Tech has held its last seven opponents to 52.9 points per game, 32.9 percent from the floor and 25.8 percent from three-point range.
Tech remains in the nation’s top 10 in scoring defense (6th) and field goal percentage defense (8th), and ranked second and third in the ACC, respectively, in those categories. California’s 44.2 percent is the best shooting percentage against Tech this year, and Illinois’ 75 points is the high mark in scoring.
Tech was listed No. 50 in CBSSports.com’s RPI ranking after its first six games with an overall strength of schedule ranked No. 60. The Yellow Jackets remain in the nation’s top 75 in the Sagarin Index and KenPom.com, but No. 114 in the CBS RPI.
Tech’s losses have come to teams with a combined record of 32-11 (as of Jan. 8).
Tech’s most frequent starting lineup this season (12 of 13 games) has been Mfon Udofia and Brandon Reed at the guards, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr., at the forwards and Daniel Miller at center. Jason Morris started in place of Georges-Hunt against California.
Series Notes vs. NC State
Tech and NC State split their regular-season series in 2011-12, each winning on the other’s home court, the third time that has happened in the history of the series and the first time since the 1987-88 season.
Tech has won three of the last five games between the two teams, including an 82-71 win last Jan. 11 in Raleigh.
Fourteen of the last 16 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
Tech is 22-15 against the Wolfpack in Atlanta, including one home-court meeting that was played at the Omni in 1986 and one at Philips Arena in 2012.
Since it joined the ACC, Tech is 29-39 against NC State, including regular-season and tournament.
The Jackets are 9-29 against NC State in Raleigh, including a 2-9 mark at PNC Arena.
Tech is 3-3 against NC State in ACC Tournament games, the last meeting occurring in 2003 in a 71-65 Wolfpack victory in Greensboro. The Jackets won first-round games in 1996 in Greensboro (88-73) and 1990 in Charlotte (76-67).