Nov. 26, 2014
Orlando, Fla. – After opening its 100th season of basketball with three straight wins at home, Georgia Tech goes on the road for the first time this week to play in the Orlando Classic, opening the tournament at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night against Marquette.
The Orlando Classic is a three-day, eight-team event, conducted at the 5,000-seat HP Field House at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The field also includes powerhouse teams Kansas and Michigan State, as well as Rhode Island, Rider, Santa Clara and Tennessee. The first and second rounds will be played Thursday and Friday, and after a day off Saturday, the final round will be played Sunday.
Tech is 3-0 for the third straight year under Brian Gregory, in his fourth year directing the Yellow Jacket program, but looking for its first 4-0 start since the 2008-09 season. The Jackets have defeated Georgia, Alabama A&M and IPFW by an average of 12 points per game.
Marquette, 2-2 in its first year under head coach Steve Wojciechowski, has defeated Tennessee-Martin and NJIT (Monday night), and in between lost to Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha.
Thursday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and can be viewed online using the WatchESPN app. The Georgia Tech IMG Radio Network, with flagship station WCNN (680 AM/93.7 FM) will also carry the game, and the Tech broadcast can be heard on satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 126, XM Ch. 193).
Tech is on the same side of the bracket with Michigan State and Rider, who will face each other Thursday at 6 p.m. The winners of those two games will meet at 9 p.m. Friday in a winners bracket semi-final, and the losers will face each other at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THURSDAY’S GAME
Georgia Tech is looking for its first 4-0 start since the 2008-09 season. Tech has begun a season with four straight wins only three times since its Final Four season of 2003-04.
Tech is meeting Marquette for the first time since the 1976-77 season, when the Golden Eagles (then called the Warriors) won a national championship in Atlanta under legendary coach Al McGuire.
If Tech and Michigan State both win, or both lose, Thursday night, it will set up the first-ever meeting between Brian Gregory and his former boss, Tom Izzo. It would also mark Tech’s first game against a top-25 opponent this season.
Tech is looking for its first early-season tournament title since capturing the 2003 Pre-Season NIT.
Thursday’s game is the first of two games the Yellow Jackets will play against teams coached by former Duke players. Marquette is coached by former Mike Krzyzewski assistant Steve Wojciechowski, and Northwestern, the Jackets’ Dec. 3 foe in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, is coached by another former Coach K aide, Chris Collins.
TECH IN THANKSGIVING EVENTS
Georgia Tech has an all-time record of 28-14 in Thanksgiving week events, dating back to the 1991 Pre-Season NIT. The Yellow Jackets have captured two titles, the 2003 Pre-Season NIT and the 1997 Puerto Rico Shootout, and reached the finals of five others.
The last time Tech reached the finals of a Thanksgiving tournament was the 2007 Maui Invitational, where the Thaddeus Young-led Yellow Jackets defeated Purdue and Memphis in the first two rounds before falling to No. 5 UCLA in the championship game.
Tech knocked off No. 1 Connecticut in the semi-finals of the 2003 PreSeason NIT before defeating No. 25 Texas Tech in the championship game. Those wins were part of a 12-0 start for the Yellow Jackets, who reached the national championship game where UConn turned the tables and won 80-68.
In the 2011 Charleston Classic, Tech took a 73-60 win over a VCU team that went on to reach the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
SERIES VS. MARQUETTE
Georgia Tech and Marquette have split six previous meetings, with the series dating back to 1926. The teams have played twice on neutral floors, splitting a pair of games in 1956 and 1957.
Most recently, the teams played a home-and-away series at the height of the Golden Eagles’ success under head coach Al McGuire, dropping a 55-54 decision at home in January of 1976, and a 63-45 contest in Milwaukee in January of 1977, when Marquette went on to win the national championship at the Omni in Atlanta.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH 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).