Feb. 22, 2015
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech returns home to face its second consecutive top-20 opponent Monday night with a nationally-televised contest against 12th-ranked Louisville at 7 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech, 12-15 overall and 3-12 in the ACC in its fourth season under head coach Brian Gregory, comes back home looking for a rebound after an 89-60 loss against No. 15 North Carolina Saturday in Chapel Hill. The Yellow Jackets are 3-5 over their last seven games, including a road win at No. 23 Miami, after an 0-7 start to the conference schedule.
Louisville is 21-6 overall and 9-5 in the ACC following its 55-53 home-court win over Miami Saturday. The Cardinals, in their 13th season under head coach Rick Pitino, began conference play 7-2 but have lost three of their last five games entering Monday’s contest. They are 5-3 on the road this season, 4-3 in ACC games.
Monday’s game will be Tech’s first appearance on ESPN’s Big Monday showcase, and will be streamed live on the WatchESPN app. The Georgia Tech IMG Radio Network, with flagship station WCNN (680 AM/93.7 FM) will also carry the game. Tech’s radio coverage can be heard on satellite radio nationally (Sirius Ch. 91, XM Ch. 91).
Following Monday’s game, Tech will make its last road trip of the regular season with a 12 noon contest Saturday at Clemson.
STARTING FIVE (PLUS TWO) FOR MONDAY’S GAME
Monday marks Georgia Tech’s first encounter with Louisville as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Cardinals’ first visit to Atlanta to play the Yellow Jackets since a 1997 game at the Georgia Dome. It is Louisville’s first visit to Tech’s campus since Feb. 24, 1991, an 82-69 Tech win.
Tech’s remaining regular-season schedule includes two games against teams ranked in the AP and coaches’ top 20 at home and a road game at Clemson. The Jackets have already played six games against top-25 teams and are 1-5 in those games.
Tech’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 22 in ESPN’s RPI rankings, and its non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 73.
Tech ranks 16th nationally in rebound margin (+7.3), 12th in offensive rebounds per game (14.1).
Tech has defeated its three conference opponents by a total of 45 points, all in double digits and all wire-to-wire. However, 10 of its 12 conference losses have come by a total of 38 points (Virginia the exception, by 29). Tech has lost twice by one point, twice by two points, once by three, once by four, once by five, once by six and twice by seven. Two of those losses went to overtime.
Tech ranks No. 30 in the nation in the adjusted defensive efficiency rating by Ken Pomeroy.
Tech has a minus-0.51 “Luck” rating, KenPom.com’s measure of a team’s number of close games and its success in them. The Jackets rank No. 288 in that category, or to look at it another way, the 68th unluckiest team in the country.
SERIES NOTES VS. LOUISVILLE
Of the four most recent newcomers of the expanded ACC, Tech has the longest history with Louisville. In fact, the 28 meetings are the third-most for the Yellow Jackets against any opponent not in the ACC or SEC.
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 the 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 2-0 as a head coach vs. Louisville, both 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 once as the Louisville head coach, and that is the most recent meeting between the two teams, 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 (Pitino was ejected from that game after drawing two technical fouls).
THEY SAID IT…
“Georgia Tech has had some tough, tough games, like I said earlier, they also had some, they go to Miami and beat Miami, they had Duke and it was a six-point game, no excuse me it was a four-point game, in the last minute of the half. I think Brian [Gregory]’s done a really nice job with his team. Those kids work awfully hard, and this is the ACC.” – North Carolina coach Roy Williams
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fourth 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 (@GTMBK).