Jan. 18, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 20th-ranked (AP) basketball team plays its third nationally-ranked team in four games Tuesday night when the Yellow Jackets host 24th-ranked Clemson in a nationally-televised (ESPN2) game at 7 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (13-4, 2-2 ACC) vs.
Clemson Tigers (15-3, 3-1 ACC)
Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex
Television: ESPN2 – Mike Patrick play-by-play, Len Elmore 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: available at www.Ramblinwreck.com/tickets
Series History: Tech leads, 58-56
Tech in Alexander Memorial Coliseum: Tech has a 540-188 all-time record in its home arena.
National Rankings: Tech is ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Clemson is No. 17 in the AP poll, No. 16 in the coaches poll.
Tech is 13-4 overall, 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and off to its best start since the 2006-07 season and have beaten two top-25 teams in the last eight days, including a 71-67 win over No. 5 Duke on Jan. 9 and a 73-71 triumph at No. 12 North Carolina Saturday.
Clemson, 15-3 overall and 3-1 in the ACC, has won three straight games, all against ACC opponents, and nine of its last 10. The Tigers’ lone loss in that stretch was a 74-53 loss at Duke, but they stormed back to defeat Boston College, North Carolina and NC State by an average of 13 points.
Tuesday is the first of two meetings this season between the Yellow Jackets and Clemson, who are permanent home-and-home partners in the ACC’s scheduling rotation, The Tigers won both regular-season meetings between the two teams last season, including an 81-73 win in Atlanta, but Tech turned the tables with an 86-81 win in the ACC Tournament.
This is the first meeting in the series since Jan. 30, 1996 in which both teams are ranked in the top 25 in the nation, and only the third time in the history of the series that both teams were ranked when they played.
The Clemson game is the third of four appearances by Georgia Tech on ESPN or ESPN2. The Jackets visit Duke for their final ESPN appearance Feb. 4.
The Jackets have been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC so far, ranking second in the ACC and seventh in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.0 pct.). Tech ranks third in the conference and 18th nationally in lowest three-point percentage yield (.294). The Jackets held Duke 19 points under its scoring average and North Carolina 12 under its norm, and have allowed 70 points in a game only three in the last 12 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 five games back, has had his best two offensive games of the season in the last week, scoring 30 points at North Carolina and 15 at Virginia while hitting 17 of 31 shots from the floor and dishing 12 assists.
The Yellow Jackets have been in and out of the Associated Press poll of writers after beginning the season ranked 22nd, and have risen to No. 19 this week. Tech has been in the ESPN/USA Today coaches top 25 each week of the season, currently holding the 18th position for the second straight week.
Series with Clemson
> Overall, Tech holds a 58-56 lead in a series that began in 1913. It is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 114 all-time meetings are 28 more than Tech has played with any other ACC member. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
> Clemson is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Wake Forest is the other) since the ACC expanded to 12 schools.
> Clemson has won six of the last nine meetings in the series, and the Yellow Jackets trail 33-30 to the Tigers since joining the ACC. Clemson swept the Jackets in the regular season last year, but Tech captured the team’s meeting in the ACC Tournament, 86-81.
> Tech and Clemson have split their season series 19 times since the 1982-83 season, and there has been a home-team victory split 15 times. The home team has won 35 of the last 47 meetings.
> The Jackets have swept the season series from the Tigers three times under Paul Hewitt. Clemson has swept Tech twice in that time, and has done so only three times since the 1982-83 season.
> The Yellow Jackets have won 11 of the 19 games between the two teams since Paul Hewitt became Tech’s head coach, with a 6-3 record at home and a 4-5 mark at Clemson. Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell is 6-7 vs. Tech.
> Tech has an all-time record of 40-19 against the Tigers at home, including 26-13 record at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Jackets have won 20 of 26 against the Tigers at home since 1983.
> Clemson has been ranked in the top 25 in six of the last seven meetings (Tuesday marks the seventh in eight games). Tech has not played the Tigers as a top-25 team since the 2003-04 season.
Paul Hewitt – January 18 Pre-Practice Press Conference
On what the team got out of the North Carolina win on the road on Saturday:
“That if you take care of the basketball and execute plays down the stretch, you have a pretty good chance to win.”
“I think he is understanding how we want to play, in terms of attacking and the tempo we would like to play at. I don’t think when he came back from his injury that he was taking advantage of his physical skills. He is bigger, stronger and faster than a lot of the other guards he is going to face, which forces them to contract on defense and makes it easier for us to run our offense.”
On Derrick Favors’ progression
“I think Gani [Lawal] has helped him out a lot. Again, you’re talking about a guy who is adjusting to more physical play. Someone was telling me that they were surprised that of the ten McDonalds All-Americans in the league only one was averaging double figures. Well, coaches aren’t surprised by that. We know what they have to adjust to, and he knows what he’s had to adjust to. The great thing about Derrick is he doesn’t think he has all the answers. He’s very open to coaching and instruction from his teammates.”
On how the Jackets match up against Clemson’s Trevor Booker
“I like their front line, but then again you can write that book in any game in the ACC. Every team has a great front line, so it should be a good match-up for both teams.”
On Zach Peacock
“He’s made probably more sacrifice than anyone else on the team. It’s great for me as a coach to have him come in off the bench, because I know there isn’t going to be much of a drop off. He’s a smart player. It’s not like you’re running a freshman out there. He carries some experience and knowledge that is beneficial.”
On the ACC standings at the moment
“Everyone has one loss and Virginia, who was picked 12th in the league in the preseason, is 3-0. So, that just shows you how evenly matched this league is.”
Paul Hewitt – ACC Teleconference, January 18, 2010
“It’s great to see Iman Shumpert getting back into shape and regaining his form after his layoff from knee surgery. That was his fifth game back from the surgery, and I think he’s finally getting back where he was before he got hurt. Obviously that was a very important win for us (at North Carolina) Saturday. To go on the road and win that game was very important now as we prepare for Clemson.”
Comparing Duke and North Carolina – big men and teams
“The X factor is Scheyer. Both teams have outstanding front courts. Carolina has Davis and Thompson and depth off the bench. They certainly will miss Zeller until he gets back. Right now, I think Scheyer and Sylven Landesberg are the two best players I’ve seen in the league this year.”
On Derrick Favors being the only freshman averaging double figures in the ACC
“Freshmen are freshmen. They’re going to have their adjustment to the speed of the game, the physical nature of the game. There are a lot of thing they have to adjust to. If you talk to coaches, they’ll tell you that’s about what they expect. Unfortunately, our voices get drowned out by the `real’ experts who say they’re supposed to come in and get 20 and 20.”
On Virginia’s low turnover rate compare to other teams
“It’s a product of very good guard play and they’re style of play. They take it deep into the shot clock and set a ton of screens, so you have to be prepared to defend against the screens. When you defend against screen as much as they do, there should be more clean catches. They’ve got good guards. Again, I think Sylven Landesberg and Jon Scheyer, four games in, are the two best player’s I’ve seen in this league. Zeglinski is a very good ballhander, Evans is a good ballhandler, and they have a good core of guards.”
On physical play in the league
“The way the game is being played and the way it’s being called, it’s up to the players and the coaches to adjust. Players are bigger and stronger at every level, and there’s only so much space on the floor. The games are getting more and more competitive. There is more parity in the league this year from what I can see. Every possession is a meaningful possession. Emotions are high. I’ve tried to tell our guys, just adjust to how they’re calling it.”
On facing Clemson’s pressure
“I think you have to try and break it to score, but it comes down decision-making. If you have numbers, you have to go after it. You can’t pull off. But if you don’t have numbers, or you don’t feel comfortable handling the basketball, or you don’t feel comfortable with the pass you have to make to get the scoring opportunity, then you need to pull back. Break the press as efficiently as you can without using the dribble, but if the numbers aren’t there, play it like any other transition situation.”