Jan. 5, 2016
THE FLATS –
Georgia Tech (10-4, 0-1 ACC) faces its second straight road game in the Atlantic Coast Conference when it visits No. 24/21 Pittsburgh in a regionally-televised game at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Tech opened its ACC schedule with an 86-78 loss to No. 7 North Carolina Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C., after completing its non-conference schedule 10-3 with three straight wins. The Yellow Jackets play three of their first four conference games on the road, hosting No. 5 Virginia Saturday before hitting the road again next Wednesday at Notre Dame.
It is the second visit for the Yellow Jackets to the Petersen Events Center, where the Panthers escaped with a 70-65 win last January. Tech is 0-2 against Pittsburgh since the Panthers joined the ACC.
Pittsburgh has won eight straight games since a 72-59 home-court loss to Purdue on Dec. 1 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Panthers opened ACC play last Wednesday with a 72-61 win over Syracuse, and defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore 92-58 last Saturday.
Wednesday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Georgia) 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 be heard nationally on satellite radio (Sirius ch. 93, XM ch. 201).
“I told Brian, this was before the game, I liked his club. It’s so, so much better than they were last year, and he’s done a great job with them. Got some new guys that look like they’ve been there the whole time the way they’ve bought into what he wants for them to do. But when you’ve got a 3-point shooter like Smith, you’ve got a guy that drives it to the basket and gets to shoot 15 free throws like Marcus and you’ve got Mitchell and those guys doing everything inside, it’s tough to guard that kind of team.” – North Carolina coach Roy Williams
• A win Wednesday would even Tech’s ACC mark at 1-1 and produce the Yellow Jackets’ first 1-1 conference start since Brian Gregory’s first season at Tech in 2011-12.
• A win Wednesday would be Tech’s first ACC road win since last Jan. 28, a 70-50 win at No. 23 Miami. It would also be Tech’s first win against a top-25 team since that game.
• This is Tech’s third game against a top-25 team this season, having lost to #8/9 Villanova and #7/8 North Carolina earlier.
• Tech and Pittsburgh faced two common non-conference opponents – Cornell (Tech won 116-81, Pittsburgh 93-49, both at home) and Duquesne (Tech won 73-67 at home, Pittsburgh 96-75 on a neutral floor).
• Pittsburgh ranks fourth in the ACC in both scoring offense (85.0 ppg) and scoring defense (62.7 ppg), and ranks second in scoring margin (+22.3 ppg). The Panthers also rank No. 1 in three-point field goal defense and No. 2 in rebound margin, and are No. 14 in KenPom.com’s adjusted offensive efficiency (116.3).
• Still relentless on the boards – Tech is out-rebounding its opponents by 8.9 per game, which ranks 20th in the nation and No. 4 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 11 of 14 opponents this season. Tech is No. 4 in the ACC and 29th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.9).
• Turnovers down – Tech has turned the ball over only 31 times in its last four games, and the Yellow Jackets are averaging 10.5 this season (5th in the ACC, 22nd NCAA), down more than two per game (12.7) from last season.
• Scoring up – Tech is averaging 77.7 points per game (ninth 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 45.7 percent of their field goal tries, an increase of five percent over last year.
• Outside threat – Tech’s 36.7-percent success rate from three-point range is up nearly 10 percent over last year. The Yellow Jackets have hit 40.7 percent over their last eight games.
• Three Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits – Marcus Georges-Hunt (15.5 ppg), Adam Smith (13.6), Charles Mitchell (12.9) – and Nick Jacobs sits at 9.9, having been above 1.0 most of the season. Tech has not finished a season with four or more players averaging in double figures since 2008-09.
• After James White started two games in place of Nick Jacobs, Tech went back to its original starting lineup against Duquesne – Marcus Georges-Hunt, Josh Heath and Adam Smith at the guards; Jacobs and Charles Mitchell at forward. Tech is 8-4 with that lineup.
• Of the six players to start a game for Georgia Tech this year, only one – Georges-Hunt – began his career at Tech.
• Tech has played at least 10 players in every game this season except VCU (Travis Jorgenson sat with an ankle injury), and played its entire 12-man roster against Cornell, Green Bay, Wofford and Colgate.
• Charles Mitchell’s 10 double-doubles this season is the third-most 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 (11.2 rpg) and is fourth in field goal percentage (57.9 pct.). Mitchell ranks seventh and 35th, respectively, in the nation in those categories.
• Georges-Hunt ranks 22nd on Tech’s all-time scoring list. He has leaped past 13 players on the list this season and now has 1,341 career points.
• In 14 games, Smith has made more three-pointers (44) than Tech’s leader in three of the past four seasons (Trae Golden had 46 in 2013-14).
• Smith leads the ACC in three-point field goals made (3.14 per game) and fifth in percentage (45.4). He is 20-for-39 from distance over Tech’s last five games.
• Heath is third in the ACC and 23rd nationally in assist-turnover ratio (3.39-1) and has 27 assists with five turnovers in Tech’s last five games. Tech’s point guard tandem of Heath and Travis Jorgenson have 99 assists and 26 turnovers for a 3.81-1 ratio. Tech has a 1.44-1 team ratio (5th in the ACC, 35th nationally).
• Tech’s top five scorers this season – Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, Adam Smith, Nick Jacobs and Quinton Stephens – have hit a combined 75.3 percent (162-215) of their charity tosses this season.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH PITTSBURGH
Georgia Tech won the first five games in the series before the Panthers became members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Pitt earned its first win over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta on Jan. 14, 2014, with an 81-74 victory, and then made it two straight as ACC members with a 70-65 victory Jan. 17, 2015 in the Yellow Jackets’ first visit to the Petersen Events Center.
•The two most entertaining games between Tech and the former Big East member played in the same month of the 1989-90 season, when the Yellow Jackets were on the way to their second ACC title and first Final Four appearance. Bobby Cremins and Paul Evans were the respective head coaches at the time.
•Tech overcame an early 26-5 deficit to win the ACC/Big East Challenge game in Hartford in early December, getting 42 points from Dennis Scott, including the game-winner with 8 seconds left. Later in the month, the Panthers came to Atlanta for a Kuppenheimer Classic game at the Omni, and Tech won the game without head coach Bobby Cremins, who was attending his father’s funeral. Kenny Anderson recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists.
•Tech scored easy wins over Pitt in the first three games of the series, all under head coach Whack Hyder, two of which were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the Tech campus.
•Tech coach Brian Gregory is 1-3 all-time vs. Pittsburgh, facing the Panthers twice while he was the head coach at Dayton, including an 80-55 win over the No. 6 Pitt on Dec. 29, 2007 in Dayton.
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).