Feb. 4, 2013
– Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory speaks to the media on the weekly ACC Teleconference and previews Tech’s Tuesday night contest against Florida State.
COACH GREGORY: I thought last week we took some steps forward, which is good. Guys were rewarded with that with a great win yesterday against a very, very good Virginia team, a team that is so well-coached, really knows how to play the game on both ends of the court.
We needed to have a super performance in the second half to erase what was a great performance by them in the first half. We were able to make some plays down the stretch and get some stops when we needed to get stops, make some baskets, then knock down some free throws.
I’m pleased for our guys. They’ve been sticking to it and working extremely hard, staying positive. This league creates tough stretches for teams trying to rebuild. We took a step yesterday. Now you have an opportunity against another team that is so deep, so big, so athletic, like so many teams in this league, has enough youth that there’s inconsistency, but they are the reigning ACC champ. We’re going to have to have a good day of preparation today and get ready to play extremely hard tomorrow.
Q. Before the remodeling, your home court was nicknamed the Thunder Dome. In view of the fact ACC home courts have been so dominant this year at 70%, have you recaptured that magic in the place?
COACH GREGORY: Well, Thriller Dome. Thunder Dome, you’re thinking of Mad Max. We’ll take a couple of those.
I’m not sure, it was named that during Coach Cremins’ time with all those great teams. We haven’t recaptured that yet. But that’s an objective, a goal, to make the pavilion one of the most difficult places in our conference to play, out of conference as well.
It’s a unique arena with the fans right on top of you. It’s a perfect size with the theater lighting, the student section. It’s been great. It’s been a great home court for us.
Obviously we’ve played well at home. We need to continue that. As you said, in this league, road wins are hard to come by, especially with a younger team in terms of the phase where we’re at right now as a program.
Yesterday, even with Super Bowl Sunday, I think some of the students were gearing up for the Super Bowl, but for the most part our home crowds have been fantastic.
For a guy like Mfon (Udofia), a senior that has gone through some of the years we’ve gone through prior, without maybe a lot of fan support, especially the students, our guys love going up into the student section after the game, and it’s something that we need to continue to build.
Q. You mention the fact you need to protect the home court because it’s so tough on a younger team. Could that be a factor in the fact the ACC home teams have been so dominant this year? The one team that’s been successful on the road is Miami. They’re the oldest team in the league. That can’t be a coincidence.
COACH GREGORY: There’s no coincidence there at all. Our league has some exceptional young players. I would bet that the other teams that have been successful on the road are some of those teams that are young but also have some upperclassmen that carry them in those tough stretches.
When you go on the road, your margin of error becomes even smaller. Sometimes with younger guys that urgency and that sense of possession-by-possession importance hasn’t really sunk in yet. That’s happened to our team a few times. I think you see it around the league.
Q. Earlier, Tony Bennett was talking about the home/road thing. He had an impression that your team got some energy from the crowd, won some 50/50 balls that he thought was coming from the home court kind of enthusiasm. Did you see it that way, too?
COACH GREGORY: I thought so. I thought our crowd was tremendous. Again, as you rebuild, that electricity that you can generate through your home court, you know, everybody is human, it’s an emotional game. When the emotions are funneled in the right way and you get that from the crowd, I think you’re able to make some plays.
I thought our energy level in the second half was tremendous. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so much the energy level of the crowd.
Q. You have Florida State coming in. It’s the one time you play them this year. They’re coming off a really tough game for them. Does that scare you when a good team just has a bad game? Do you expect them to bounce back? Is that a concern?
COACH GREGORY: I think anytime you play Florida State, they get after you. They’re big. They’re athletic. As I said, they won the championship last year. They know what it takes to win these games. They have one of the premiere guards not in our league but in the country in Michael Snaer.
They just didn’t play as well as they had been. They’ve won some big games, some close games. You do that because of great toughness. You do that because of guys understanding their roles. That starts from the top.
Leonard (Hamilton) has done an unbelievable job in building that program in a tremendous conference where game in and game out you know you’re going to have to have a tremendous effort, you’re going to have to match their intensity, and at the same time you’re going to have to do a lot of things right other than playing hard in order to be successful against them.