Feb. 6, 2015
THE FLATS – Looking for a break-through after another close loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Georgia Tech returns home to host Wake Forest at 12 noon Saturday at McCamish Pavilion as part of the Yellow Jackets’ annual Letterwinners Weekend.
Tech, in its fourth season under head coach Brian Gregory, slipped to 10-12 overall and 1-9 in the ACC Wednesday night after falling to fourth-ranked Duke, 72-66. The Yellow Jackets, whose lone conference win was a 70-50 decision at No. 23 Miami, have lost eight of their ACC games by a total of 32 points.
Wake Forest (11-12, 3-7 ACC), which earned its first ACC win under first-year coach Danny Manning with a 76-69 win over the Jackets on Jan. 10 in Winston-Salem, held off NC State, 88-84, at home Wednesday night after leading by 21 points at the half. The Demon Deacons have won their last two games, including a 73-70 home win over Virginia Tech last weekend. They are 0-4 on the road in the ACC, but two of those losses went to overtime.
Saturday’s game will be televised regionally on ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Georgia and throughout the Southeast) and will be streamed live on ESPN3. 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. 135, XM Ch. 193).
Tech turns around quickly following Saturday’s game and travels to Virginia Tech for a 9 p.m. game Monday night at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.
LETTERWINNERS WEEKEND FEATURES 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF 1990 FINAL FOUR TEAM
Saturday’s game is part of Georgia Tech’s annual Letterwinners Weekend festivities, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of Georgia Tech’s first trip to the Final Four in 1990.
Most of the members of that team, including head coach Bobby Cremins and all five starters, will be on hand for a halftime recognition of the 25th anniversary of that team’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, which was the second in Tech history, and their run through the NCAA Tournament to the Final Four in Denver, Tech’s first appearance in college basketball’s pinnacle event.
Scheduled to appear from that team are the “Lethal Weapon 3” unit of Brian Oliver, Dennis Scott and Kenny Anderson as well as starting post players Malcolm Mackey and Johnny McNeil.
The Yellow Jackets finished that season 28-7, defeating NC State, Duke and Virginia to win the ACC Tournament, and won 16 of its final 19 games before falling to UNLV in the national semi-finals.
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 Wake Forest game.
Among the participants expected are Jon Babul, Drew Barry, Travis Best, Bruce Dalrymple, Roger Kaiser, Marvin Lewis and Jim Thorne, as well as the members of the 1990 team.
COACH HERRION LEADING AUTISM AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, has organized a program claled Coaches Powering Forward for Autism, a new campaign to drive awareness and funds for autism. Spearheaded by Georgia Tech assistant coach Tom Herrion and Towson head coachh Pat Skerry, both of whom have a son with autism, the program provides coaches, their teams, schools and fans with opportunities to raise awareness, fundraise and advocate for the needs of people affected by autism.
More than 225 Division I coaches, including the entire staffs on the sideline for Saturday’s Georgia Tech-Wake Forest game, are participating in the campaign, culminating in the Second Annual Autism Speaks Awareness Weekend in college basketball this weekend. Throughout the weekend, coaches, officials and broadcasters will raise autism awareness by donning the blue Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin during college basketball games.
STARTING FIVE FOR SATURDAY’S GAME
Saturday’s game begins the first of three consecutive Saturday-Monday turnarounds for the Yellow Jackets. Tech leaves Sunday for a Monday night game at Virginia Tech. Next weekend, Tech is home for both games against Florida State (Saturday) and Clemson (Monday). The following weekend, Tech visits North Carolina (Saturday) and hosts Louisville.
Tech’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 11 in ESPN’s RPI rankings, and its non-conference strnegth of schedule is ranked No. 79.
Virginia defeated Tech by 29 points, but the Yellow Jackets’ other eight conference defeats have come by a total of 32 points (4.0 points per game), two of those in overtime. Tech’s other eight ACC losses have come by seven, one, seven, three, five, two, one and six points. The seven-point loss at Notre Dame was a double-overtime defeat.
Tech has a minus-0.54 “Luck” rating, KenPom.com’s measure of a team’s number of close games and its success in them. The Jackets rank No. 281 in that category, or to look at it another way, the 64th unluckiest team in the country.
Tech ranks 14th in the nation in rebound margin (+8.0) and 10th in offensive rebounds per game (14.2).
SERIES NOTES VS. WAKE FOREST
Georgia Tech has a 39-38 lead in the all-time series and a 38-36 lead in games played since it became a member of the ACC.
Wake Forest won the first meeting between the two teams this season, 76-69, on Jan. 10 in Winston-Salem, snapping a four-game Tech winning streak in the series.
Tech has not hosted the Demon Deacons in Atlanta since Jan. 26, 2013, when the Yellow Jackets captured an 82-62 win at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech has won its last nine games against Wake Forest at home, dating back to an 80-76 Demon Deacon win on Feb. 22, 2004 when both teams were ranked in the top 20. The Jackets won the last seven meetings in Alexander Memorial Coliseum and a 69-62 decision at Philips Arena during the 2011-12 season.
Tech was 24-9 against Wake Forest in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and is 26-9 against the Demon Deacons in Atlanta.
Tech made a sweep of the season series in 2010-11, setting school records in each game for margin of victory in an ACC game (74-39 at home on Jan. 19) and for margin of victory in an ACC road game (80-54 on Mar. 3). The Jackets also swept the Demon Deacons in 2012-13.
The home team has won 32 of the last 43 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times in Atlanta during that span, and Tech winning seven times in Winston-Salem.
Tech has lost 12 of the last 17 meetings at the Joel Coliseum, but has one of its better records in an opponent’s building at 8-18. Tech is 12-25 against Wake Forest on the road, including a 2-3 mark in regular-season games played in Greensboro and a 2-4 mark in games played in Winston-Salem prior to the opening of Joel Coliseum.
Tech is 36-27 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.
Wake Forest has won all four of its meetings with Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament, including a 75-74 triumph in the 1996 championship game in Greensboro. Wake Forest took the 2007 first round meeting, winning 114-112 in double-overtime, the highest-scoring game in ACC Tournament history and the highest-scoring game for Tech involving an ACC opponent in its history.
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).