ATLANTA – Fifteen games against 11 teams that made the post-season last year, and as many as 16 games on television highlight Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball schedule, announced Tuesday.
Among the NCAA Tournament teams the Yellow Jackets will face this season include UCLA, Kentucky and possibly Stanford in the pre-conference schedule, as well as Final Four participant North Carolina, Duke and Maryland in the conference slate. Another three ACC teams, Wake Forest, Virginia and N.C. State, made the NIT field, with the Demon Deacons taking the title.
The pre-conference schedule offers a tough road for the Jackets, who finished last season with a 13-17 overall record and a 5-11 conference mark. Head coach Paul Hewitt makes his regular-season debut Nov. 17 against Wofford at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center.
Following games against Charleston Southern (Nov. 21) and Davidson (Nov. 24) at the Thrillerdome, Tech goes on the road to face Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28, and faces UCLA in the John R. Wooden Classic on Dec. 2 at the Pond in Anaheim, Calif.
After returning home to host Georgia on Dec. 6, Tech meets Kentucky in the Delta Air Lines Classic for Kids Dec. 9 at Philips Arena, then heads West again to play in the Stanford Invitational Dec. 18-19. The Cardinal, whom Tech took to overtime last year in the Delta Air Lines Classic, are a possible second-day opponent for the Jackets.
“It’s challenging,” said Hewitt of the schedule his first Tech team will face. “At Villanova, we played Duke and Kentucky in the same year once and we thought that was tough. Now we’ve got Duke two times, Carolina two times, and we’ve got Kentucky and UCLA. But that’s one of the reasons why you come to this league – the challenge of playing the best.”
The conference slate opens with North Carolina at home on Jan. 2, and ends Feb. 28 at Florida State. The Yellow Jackets are off the final weekend before the ACC Tournament, which will be played for the first time ever at the Georgia Dome on Mar. 8-11. It will the third ACC Tournament to be played in Atlanta.
Tech is scheduled to appear on ESPN or ESPN2 four times during the regular season, with Kentucky and both games against Duke (Jan. 20 and Feb. 21) on ESPN. Tech’s game at Iowa will be televised by ESPN2.
Ten other conference games will appear on the Raycom/Jefferson-Pilot ACC Network, with Atlanta affiliates to be announced. Home games against Florida State (Jan. 27) and Maryland (Feb. 6) will air on the ACC regional network of Fox Sports Net South, Home Team Sports and the Sunshine Network.
“It’s the best basketball league in the country; I don’t care what anybody has to say,” said Hewitt. “You call kids around the country, and they all say it. If there’s one conference they want to play in, it’s the ACC. It’s got the best tradition. It turns out the most pros. It’s the most competitive. It’s the best.”
Tech returns three starters from last season in 6-11 senior center Alvin Jones (Lakeland, Fla.), 6-3 senior guard Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.) and 5-11 junior guard Tony Akins (Lilburn, Ga.). Other key returnees include 6-6 sophomore forward Clarence Moore (Norco, La.), 6-7 senior forward Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.) and 5-10 senior guard T.J. Vines (Woodstock, Ga.). The Jackets have three incoming freshmen led by 6-3 guard Marvin Lewis (Germantown, Md.).
They will get their first outside competition with a pair of exhibition games Nov. 7 against the California All-Stars and Nov. 13 against an all-star team from the U.S. Developmental Basketball League, both at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
The complete schedule:
|4||Sat.||CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA SCRIMMAGE||5 p.m.|
|7||Tue.||CALIFORNIA ALL-STARS (exhibition)||7:30 p.m.|
|13||Mon.||USDBL ALL-STARS (exhibition)||7:30 p.m.|
|21||Tue.||CHARLESTON SOUTHERN||7:30 p.m.|
|28||Tue.||at Iowa, ACC-Big Ten Challenge [ESPN2]||9:30 p.m.|
|2||Sat.||UCLA/Wooden Classic, Anaheim, Calif.||5 p.m.|
|6||Wed.||GEORGIA [RJ]||8 p.m.|
|9||Sat.||Kentucky/Delta Air Lines Classic, Philips Arena [ESPN]||12 noon|
|18||Mon.||Idaho State/Stanford Invitational, Palo Alto, Calif.||11:30 p.m.|
|19||Tue.||Stanford or Sacred Heart/Stanford Invitational||9:30 or 11:30 p.m.|
|23||Sat.||MORGAN STATE||7 p.m.|
|2||Tue.||NORTH CAROLINA [RJ]||8 p.m.|
|6||Sat.||at Maryland [RJ]||1:30 p.m.|
|9||Tue.||at Virginia [RJ]||8 p.m.|
|13||Sat.||WAKE FOREST [RJ]||8 p.m.|
|16||Tue.||at N.C. State [RJ]||8 p.m.|
|20||Sat.||DUKE [ESPN]||12 noon|
|24||Wed.||at Clemson||7 p.m.|
|27||Sat.||FLORIDA STATE [FSNS/HTS/Sunshine]||12 noon|
|3||Sat.||at North Carolina [RJ]||4 p.m.|
|6||Tue.||MARYLAND [FSNS/HTS/Sunshine]||7 p.m.|
|11||Sun.||VIRGINIA [RJ]||1:30 p.m.|
|14||Wed.||at Wake Forest||7:30 p.m.|
|17||Sat.||N.C. STATE [RJ]||4 p.m.|
|21||Wed.||at Duke [ESPN]||7 p.m.|
|25||Sun.||CLEMSON [RJ]||4 p.m.|
|28||Wed.||at Florida State||7 p.m.|
|8-11||Th./Su.||ACC Tournament, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga. [RJ/ESPN]|
Home games in ALL CAPS, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum
All times Eastern; TV designations in brackets