THE FLATS – Georgia Tech emerges from its fall semester final exams with a road trip to face No. 8 Kentucky in a nationally televised game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. It is Tech’s first game against a team ranked in the Associated Press or USA Today coaches polls this season.
Tech (4-3. 1-1 ACC), in its fourth season under head coach Josh Pastner, had a modest two-game winning streak snapped by Syracuse last Saturday, a 97-63 homecourt defeat. The Yellow Jackets are 1-1 in road games this season, having beaten NC State, 82-81 (ot) in their season opener on Nov. 5 and lost to Georgia, 82-78, on Nov. 20.
Kentucky (7-1, 0-0 SEC), in its 11th season under head coach John Calipari, is playing its eighth straight home game after defeating Michigan State, 69-62, in its season opener In New York. The Wildcats, who average 77.6 points and allow just 60 per game, have won five games in a row since sustaining a 67-64 loss to Evansville on Nov. 12.
Saturday’s game will be televised live on ESPN. Live streaming is available through the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided through Learfield IMG College, airing in Atlanta on 680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan and through the TuneIn app. The Tech broadcast is also available on satellite radio (XM ch. 371, internet ch. 971).
Head coach Josh Pastner on Kentucky, the Yellow Jackets without Jose Alvarado and more.
- First of two – Saturday’s game begins a two-game series with Kentucky, which has won the NCAA Championship eight times, most recently in 2012. The Wildcats will come to Atlanta for a “Holiday Hoopsgiving” event Nov. 27, 2020, at State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks.
- SEC Tour – Kentucky becomes the third Southeastern Conference opponent on the Yellow Jackets’ pre-conference schedule this season, joining Georgia (Nov. 20 in Athens) and Arkansas (Nov. 25 at McCamish Pavilion). Tech lost both games.
- Reunion – Saturday’s game is the first time Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner has faced a team coached by John Calipari, for whom Pastner worked the last season he was an assistant coach at Memphis (2008-09). Pastner took over as the head coach of the Tigers after Calipari was hired at Kentucky.
- Underrated – Georgia Tech has dropped its last 12 games against teams ranked in either the AP or coaches polls, last defeating Notre Dame (25th in coaches poll) on Jan. 10, 2018. Tech’s last win over a top 25 team away from home was a 70-50 victory at No. 23 Miami on Jan. 28, 2015.
- The big test – Georgia Tech just completed its fall semester final exams, which began Thursday, Nov. 5 and concluded this past Thursday.
- Bubba’s back – Bubba Parham’s transfer to Georgia Tech affords the junior guard a chance to return to the scene of one of his greatest games while at VMI, a 35-point performance against Kentucky last Nov. 18 at Rupp Arena, the fourth-most points by an opposing visiting player against a John Calipari-coached UK team. It was one of nine 30-point performances he had for the Keydets last season. The 5-11 Snellville, Ga., native hit 10-of-16 shots from three-point range, the second-most three-point field goals ever scored against the Wildcats.
- Tech has the ACC’s leading scorer (21.4 ppg) and the its top three-point shooter (.529) in sophomore guard Michael Devoe. He also is No. 1 in minutes played (37.37).
- Tech also has the conference’s leading shot-blocker in senior center James Banks III (4.0 per game, No. 3 in NCAA). Banks III also ranks No. 5 in the ACC in rebound average (8.4 per game).
- Tech has played five of its last six games, and most of the sixth, without junior point guard Jose Alvarado, who has a right ankle injury. Alvarado led Tech in scoring, assists and steals last season.
- No ducking – Georgia Tech’s schedule includes six power conference teams in its first eight games, including road games at NC State and Georgia and home games against Arkansas among the first four. Last week, Tech hosted Nebraska and Syracuse ahead of this road game at Kentucky.
- Beefing up – With a more veteran team in 2019-20, Georgia Tech made an effort to strengthen its non-conference schedule, beginning a two-game series with Kentucky and finishing another two-game set with Arkansas, while accepting an invitation to play in the Diamond Head Classic, in which the Jackets could wind up playing a pair of 2019 NCAA Tournament teams in Houston and Washington. Tech has also played its annual meeting against Georgia and the Big Ten/ACC matchup against Nebraska.
Junior guard Bubba Parham talks about his previous game at Rupp Arena and his role on the team.
SERIES VS. KENTUCKY
- Saturday’s game will be the 72nd all-time meeting between Georgia Tech and Kentucky in a series that dates back to 1924. Kentucky leads the series, 56-15. All but 18 of those meetings occurred when the Yellow Jackets were members of the Southeastern Conference.
- Tech is 2-7 against the Wildcats since leaving the SEC, including an 86-84 victory in the teams’ last meeting on Dec. 9, 2000 at State Farm Arena. The Yellow Jackets’ other victory in that span came on Dec. 21, 1991 at the old Omni arena in downtown Atlanta, where State Farm Arena now stands.
- Tech is 4-30 all-time against Kentucky in Lexington, including three losses at Rupp Arena. The Jackets’ last played at Rupp on Dec. 13, 1997, an 85-71 Wildcat win.
- Three of Georgia Tech’s nine all-time wins against No. 1-ranked teams came against top-ranked Wildcat teams, all when John “Whack” Hyder coached the Yellow Jackets and Adolph Rupp led Kentucky. Two of those came in the 1954-55 season, when the Jackets ended a 129-game homecourt winning streak by the Wildcats with a 59-58 triumph. Tech completed a season sweep later at home by a 65-59 score. The third Tech win over the No. 1 Wildcats happened on Jan. 4, 1964 in Atlanta by a score of 76-67.
- Saturday marks the third encounter for Georgia Tech against a team coached by John Calipari. Calipari’s Massachusetts team, ranked No. 2 at the time, downed Tech, 76-67, in the 1995 Jimmy V Classic. The Yellow Jackets toppled Calipari’s Memphis team, 92-85, in the 2006 Maui Invitational semifinals.
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ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its fourth year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.
Season tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.