Jan. 22, 2016
THE FLATS – Coming off a scheduled bye in the Atlantic Coast Conference slate, Georgia Tech (11-7, 1-4 ACC) remains at home this weekend to face No. 17/16 Louisville (15-3, 4-1 ACC) in a nationally-televised game at 4 p.m. Saturday at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets have lost their last two games, 72-64 at Notre Dame and 78-77 at home to Virginia Tech, since upending fourth-ranked Virginia at McCamish Pavilion two weeks ago. Tech’s four ACC losses have come by a total of 22 points, an average of 5.5 points per game.
The Cardinals rebounded from their only ACC loss at Clemson on Jan. 10 to defeat high-scoring Pittsburgh, 59-41, last week. After having last weekend off, Louisville rolled past Florida State, 84-65, Wednesday night to remain unbeaten at home.
Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and will be streamed live on the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage of the game is provided by the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan (680 AM and 93.7 FM). The game can also be heard nationally on satellite radio (Sirius ch. 84, XM ch. 84).
• Georgia Tech’s first five ACC opponents have a combined regular-season record of 71-21 (.772), the strongest schedule to date of any conference team. Clemson has had the next-toughest row to hoe to date; their ACC foes are 85-27 (.759) combined.
• Louisville is the fourth top-25 opponent in six games Georgia Tech has played to open its ACC schedule, and the fifth top-25 opponent the Jackets have faced this year. Tech is 1-3 in those games.
• Four of Georgia Tech’s first five ACC foes were ranked in the top five in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom.com – North Carolina (1), Pittsburgh (2), Virginia (6), Notre Dame (3). In Louisville, Tech now faces the No. 1 team in defensive efficiency and the national leader in field goal percentage defense, as well as the No. 32 team in offensive efficiency.
• After beginning its ACC schedule with three of four games on the road, Georgia Tech does not travel again until it visits NC State on Jan. 27.
• Tech is 9-2 at home this season, falling by a single point to East Tennessee State on Nov. 22 and to Virginia Tech last Saturday.
• Saturday is the first of two meetings with Louisville this season. The Yellow Jackets will play for the first time at the KFC Yum! Center on March 1.
• Tech’s loss to Virginia Tech dropped the Yellow Jackets to No. 60 in the CBSSports.com RPI rankings. The Jackets’ strength of schedule ranks No. 25.
• Still relentless on the boards – Tech is out-rebounding its opponents by 8.2 per game, which ranks 21st in the nation and No. 5 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 14 of 18 opponents this season with two ties. Tech is No. 3 in the ACC and 30th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.7).
• Turnovers down – Tech has turned the ball over only 68 times in its last eight games, and the Yellow Jackets are averaging 10.2 this season (5th in the ACC, 14th NCAA), down two-and-a-half per game (12.7) from last season. Tech has averaged 9.2 turnovers in ACC play.
• Scoring up – Tech is averaging 76.7 points per game, 74.2 in ACC games, both figures around 14 points per game higher than a year ago. The Yellow Jackets have connected on 45.1 percent of their field goal tries, an increase of four percent over last year.
• Outside threat – Tech’s 37.2-percent success rate from three-point range is up 11 percent over last year. The Yellow Jackets have hit 40.5 percent against the ACC, and rank 69th nationally in three-point field goal percentage.
• Tech ranks 29th in the nation and No. 3 in the ACC in three-point field goal defense (30.6 pct.). The Jackets’ five ACC opponents have converted only 25.7 percent.
• Tech has been out-scored from the free-throw line 100-25 in the second half of its five ACC games (119-55 in both halves combined). Opponents have attempted 107 free throws to Tech’s 45 in the second half (149-85 in both halves combined).
• Four Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits – Marcus Georges-Hunt (15.4 ppg), Adam Smith (14.2), Charles Mitchell (12.2) and Nick Jacobs (10.4). Tech has not finished a season with four or more players averaging in double figures since 2008-09.
• Of the seven players to start a game for Georgia Tech this year, only two – Georges-Hunt and Quinton Stephens – began their careers at Tech.
• Mitchell’s 11 double-doubles this season leads the ACC and ranks eighth in the nation. Mitchell is bidding to become the first Tech player to average in double digits in points and rebounds since Alvin Jones in 2000-01. Only Jones and Malcolm Mackey (1991-92 and 1992-93) have done so since Tech joined the ACC.
• Mitchell leads the ACC in rebound average (11.0 rpg) and is No. 2 offensive rebounds (4.00 per game). Mitchell ranks ninth and 12th, respectively, in the nation in those categories.
• Georges-Hunt ranks 19th on Tech’s all-time scoring list. He has leaped past 16 players on the list this season and now has 1,405 career points.
• Georges-Hunt has averaged 34.6 minutes in ACC games, three minutes more than his career average, and played a career-high 37 minutes in games at Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. He has averaged 17.8 points and has shot 50.9 percent from the floor in conference games.
• Smith leads the ACC in three-point field goals made (3.39 per game) and third in percentage (44.5). He ranks 13th and 28th, respectively, in the nation in those two categories. He has averaged 4.6 three-pointers in ACC games and has made 46.0 percent of his tries.
• In 18 games, Smith has made more three-pointers (61) than Tech’s leader in each of the past four seasons and the most for any Tech player since 2009-10.
• Josh Heath is No. 3 in the ACC and 24th nationally in assist-turnover ratio (3.27-1). Tech has a 1.43-1 team ratio (5th in the ACC, 33rd nationally).
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH LOUISVILLE
Of the four most recent newcomers of the expanded ACC, Tech has the longest history with Louisville. In fact, the 29 meetings are the third-most for the Yellow Jackets against any opponent not in the ACC or SEC.
Louisville won the first meeting with Tech as an ACC member, 52-51, last Feb. 23 at McCamish Pavilion.
• Tech went 3-6 against the Cardinals with Whack Hyder as its head coach, all of those games between 1958 and 1965.
• After a 12-year hiatus, Tech was 2-2 vs. Louisville when both teams were members of the Metro Conference in the late 1970s. Dwane Morrison was the Yellow Jackets’ head coach for all those games, and Denny Crum was on the Cardinals’ bench.
• After another long break, the teams met 13 times between 1988 and 1999, with Bobby Cremins and Crum on the opposing benches in all those games. The Yellow Jackets went 8-5 against the Cardinals during this time. Three of the meetings took place at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and six at Freedom Hall.
• The other four were played at the Georgia Dome, and Tech won three of those, including the first-ever college basketball game played in the facility, and before the largest crowd ever to witness a college game in the state of Georgia at the time (28,885). That game will be forever remembered in Tech lore after James Forrest launched a half-court heave that dropped through the net at the buzzer for an 87-85 Yellow Jacket victory,
• The teams have met seven times when both were ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams, and Tech has won four of those meetings.
• Tech coach Brian Gregory is 2-1 as a head coach vs. Louisville, all three games vs. the Cardinals’ head coach Rick Pitino, including a 68-64 neutral court win during the 2006-07 season and a 70-65 win at Freedom Hall in 2007-08.
• Tech has faced Pitino twice as the Louisville head coach, the first in a 76-54 Cardinals win in the second round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. The Yellow Jackets were 1-4 against Kentucky teams coached by Pitino, including an 81-80 victory over the Wildcats at Philips Arena on Dec. 21. 1991.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have 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).