Jan. 15, 2016
THE FLATS – Happy to be off the road for the next two weeks, Georgia Tech (11-6, 1-3 ACC) returns home for the first of two straight games at McCamish Pavilion when it hosts Virginia Tech (11-6, 3-1) for a 12 noon regionally-televised game Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets followed up a stirring 68-64 home-court win over No. 4 Virginia last Saturday with a 72-64 loss at Notre Dame Wednesday night to drop to 1-3 in conference play. All three ACC losses for Tech have come on the road by an average of 7.0 points.
Virginia Tech is off to a 3-1 start in conference play following a 93-91 home-court win over Wake Forest Wednesday night. The Hokies began with an overtime win against NC State and an upset of Virginia at home before losing at Duke last Saturday.
Wednesday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta) and will be streamed live on ESPN3. 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. 132, XM ch. 191).
Georgia Tech’s first four ACC opponents havbe a combioned regular-season record of 53-12 (.815), the strongest schedule to date of any conference team. Clemson has the next-toughest row to hoe to date; their five ACC foes are 54-15 (.783) combined.
Georgia Tech’s four ACC foes to date also have an average rank of No. 4 in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom.com – North Carolina (1), Pittsburgh (2), Virginia (6), Notre Dame (3).
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. In the meantime, the Yellow Jackets host Virginia Tech and Louisville on consecutive Saturdays with its bye in between.
Tech is 9-1 at home this season, the lone loss coming by a single point to East Tennessee State on Nov. 22. Virginia Tech is 1-1 in true road games, falling to Duke last Saturday and winning at Radford in early December.
Saturday is the only meeting between the two Techs during this regular season. The Hokies rallied from a double-digit deficit to capture a 65-63 win over the Yellow Jackets last February.
Graduate transfer guard Adam Smith, who earned a communications degree from Virginia Tech last spring, is facing his former team for the only time during the regular season. The Jonesboro, Ga., native scored 15 points (1-of-3 on threes) in the Hokies’ win over the Jackets last season.
Other connections between players in Saturday’s game — Charles Mitchell and Virginia Tech’s Seth Allen played one year together at Maryland (2012-13), Josh Heath and the Hokies’ Zach LeDay played one season together at South Florida (2012-13).
Tech opened its ACC schedule with three straight top-25 opponents — #7/8 North Carolina, #24/21 Pittsburgh and #4/4 Virginia — for the first time since the 2000-01 season, when the Yellow Jackets opened against #13/14 North Carolina, #17/17 Maryland, #10/9 Virginia (#6/6 Wake Forest made it four in a row that year). Tech lost the first two games and won the next two.
Tech’s loss at Notre Dame dropped the Yellow Jackets three spots to No. 43 in the CBSSports.com RPI rankings. The Jackets’ strength of schedule ranks No. 24.
Still relentless on the boards – Tech is out-rebounding its opponents by 8.3 per game, which ranks 21st in the nation and No. 4 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 13 of 17 opponents this season with two ties. Tech is No. 3 in the ACC and 21st nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.9).
Turnovers down – Tech has turned the ball over only 55 times in its last seven games, and the Yellow Jackets are averaging 10.1 this season (3rd in the ACC, 12th NCAA), down more than two-and-a-half per game (12.7) from last season. Tech has averaged 8.3 turnovers in ACC play.
Scoring up – Tech is averaging 76.7 points per game (10th in the ACC), more than 14 points per game higher than last season, and has hit the century mark twice this season. The Yellow Jackets have connected on 44.9 percent of their field goal tries, an increase of four percent over last year.
Outside threat – Tech’s 37.7-percent success rate from three-point range is up 11 percent over last year. The Yellow Jackets have hit 40.9 percent over their last 10 games, 43.5 percent against the ACC, and rank 52nd nationally in three-point field goal percentage.
Tech ranks 29th in the nation and No. 2 in the ACC in three-point field goal defense (30.5 pct.). The Jackets’ four ACC opponents have converted only 24.1 percent.
Tech has been out-scored from the free-throw line 67-22 in the second half of its four ACC games (91-46 in both halves combined). Opponents have attempted 81 free throws to Tech’s 36 in the second half (113-69 in both halves combined).
Four Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits – Adam Smith (14.8), Marcus Georges-Hunt (14.8 ppg), Charles Mitchell (12.6) and Nick Jacobs (10.1). Tech has not finished a season with four or more players averaging in double figures since 2008-09.
Mitchell’s 11 double-doubles this season leads the ACC and ranks fifth in the nation (three players have 13). 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 (11.4 rpg) and offensive rebounds (4.06 per game). Mitchell ranks eighth and 10th, respectively, in the nation in those categories.
Georges-Hunt ranks 21st on Tech’s all-time scoring list. He has leaped past 14 players on the list this season and now has 1,378 career points.
Georges-Hunt has averaged 34.8 minutes in ACC games and played a career-high 37 minutes in games at Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. He has averaged 15.5 points with 15 assists and eight turnovers in conference games.
Smith leads the ACC in three-point field goals made (3.53 per game) and third in percentage (46.2). He ranks ninth and 21st, respectively, in the nation in those two categories.
In 17 games, Smith has made more three-pointers (60) than Tech’s leader in each of the past four seasons and the most for any Tech player since 2009-10. He is 33-for-64 (51.6 pct.) in his last six games.
Josh Heath is No. 2 in the ACC and 14th nationally in assist-turnover ratio (3.68-1) and has 36 assists with six turnovers in Tech’s last eight games. Tech has a 1.45-1 team ratio (5th in the ACC, 29th nationally).
Tech’s top five scorers this season — Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, Adam Smith, Nick Jacobs and Quinton Stephens — have hit a combined 72.7 percent (186-256) of their charity tosses this season.
Saturday’s game is part of Georgia Tech’s annual Letterwinners Weekend festivities.
Nearly 60 former letterwinners will be in attendance at Saturday’s game, and many of those will participate in the annual Letterwinners Game which will follow the Virginia Tech game.
KAISER SIGNING BIOGRAPHY
Georgia Tech’s first All-American basketball player, Roger Kaiser, will be signing copies of the biography on his life written by Atlanta writer Richard Hyatt Saturday on the concourse by section 101 at McCamish Pavilion.
Entitled “If It Feels Like Leather, Shoot It. The All-American Life of Roger Kaiser,” the book follows Kaiser’s life from his hometown of Dale, Ind., through his All-American career at Georgia Tech, through his 30-year coaching career at West Georgia College and Life University, whicn included four NAIA national championships.
Today, Kaiser is the director of athletics and coaches the middle school basketball team at Mt. Bethel Christian Academy in Marietta and spends much of his time raising funds for ther Alexis Kaiser Foundation, which supports children with special needs, including his granddaughter.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH VIRGINIA TECH
Virginia Tech has won 15 of 21 all-time meetings with Georgia Tech, including 11 of 16 as a member of the ACC.
The Hokies rallied for a 65-63 win in Blacksburg on Feb. 9, 2015, the teams’ only meeting last season, snapping a Georgia Tech two-game winning streak in the series. The Yellow Jackets closed the 2013-14 regular season with a 62-51 win at McCamish Pavilion, and took a 64-54 win on Feb. 9, 2013, in Blacksburg.
The 2013 win in Blacksburg was the first Georgia Tech victory at Cassell Coliseum in eight tries, and the Jackets are 1-8 in Blacksburg all-time.
Tech has defeated Virginia Tech only three times in eight meetings at home since the Hokies joined the ACC, and the Yellow Jackets received extroardinary performances by a couple of individuals to win two of those games. On Jan. 19, 2008, reserve guard Matt Causey came off the bench to hit seven threes and pour in 30 points in the Jackets’ 81-70 victory. On Jan. 25, 2011, current New York Knick Iman Shumpert recorded the fourth triple-double in Tech history with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the Jackets’ 72-57 win.
The Hokies, led by future NBA star Dell Curry, held off the Jackets and their future All-Americans Mark Price and John Salley, 77-74, in the teams’ first meeting at Cassell Coliseum in 1984.
The teams have split two ACC Tournament encounters, the Jackets capturing a 73-54 victory in the first round of the 2005 tournament in Washington, D.C., and the Hokies winning a 59-43 decision in the first round in 2011.
Georgia Tech’s first victory over Virginia Tech occurred on Dec. 27, 1962, a 73-72 overtime triumph at the Gator Bowl Tournament that was part of an 11-0 start for the Yellow Jackets. Tech went on to finish the season 21-5. Both teams were ranked in the UPI poll at the time, Georgia Tech at No. 18, Virginia Tech at No. 14.
Both teams were members of the old Metro Conference, but not at the same time. Georgia Tech was a member for three seasons from 1975-76 through 1977-78 before leaving to join the ACC. Virginia Tech joined the league for the 1978-79 season.
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).