THE FLATS – Georgia Tech continues a stretch of three games in seven days Wednesday night when Nebraska comes to Atlanta for a 7:15 p.m. contest at McCamish Pavilion that is part of the three-night Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Yellow Jackets and Cornhuskers are meeting for just the second time.
Tech (3-2. 1-0 ACC), in its fourth season under head coach Josh Pastner, snapped a two-game skid Sunday night with a hard-fought 68-65 win over Bethune-Cookman. Tech had lost its previous two games by a combined five points, including a 62-61 overtime loss to Arkansas on a last-second shot at home on Nov. 25. Four of the Jackets’ five games this season have been decided by a total of nine points. Wednesday will be the third of four straight home games for Tech.
Nebraska (4-3, 0-0 Big Ten), in its first season season under head coach Fred Hoiberg, is playing its first true road game of the season after opening the 2019-20 campaign 2-2 at home, and then winning two of three games at the Cayman Islands Classic, where the Huskers defeated Washington State and South Florida.
Wednesday’s game will be televised live on ESPNU. Live streaming is available through the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided through Learfield IMG College, airing in Atlanta on 680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan and through the TuneIn app. The Tech broadcast is also available on satellite radio (XM ch. 381, internet ch. 971).
- Georgia Tech is playing Nebraska for the first time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and the Cornhuskers are the first new opponent for the Yellow Jackets in the event since 2012.
- Busy week – After playing its first four games over a 20-day period, Georgia Tech is playing three games in the seven days this week, all at home, before taking time off for fall semester final exams.
- No ducking – Georgia Tech’s schedule includes six power conference teams in its first eight games, including road games at NC State and Georgia and a home game against Arkansas among the first four. After Wednesday night’s game against Nebraska. Tech will face Syracuse (Dec. 7) ahead of a road trip to Kentucky (Dec. 14).
- Beefing up – With a more veteran team in 2019-20, Georgia Tech made an effort to strengthen its non-conference schedule, beginning a two-game series with Kentucky and finishing another two-game set with Arkansas, while accepting an invitation to play in the Diamond Head Classic, in which the Jackets could wind up playing a pair of 2019 NCAA Tournament teams in Houston and Washington. Also on the schedule are the annual meeting against Georgia and the Big Ten/ACC matchup against Nebraska.
- Tech has the ACC’s leading scorer (23.4 ppg) and the nation’s top three-point shooter (.619) in sophomore guard Michael Devoe.
- Tech also has the nation’s leading shot-blocker in senior center James Banks III (5.2 per game).
- Devoe’s scoring average also ranks No. 8 nationally, and he stands No. 3 in the ACC in field goal percentage (.539) and No. 1 in minutes played (37.84).
- Banks III also ranks No. 2 in the ACC in rebound average (9.6 per game).
Head coach Josh Pastner Tuesday media availability
SERIES VS. NEBRASKA
Wednesday night’s game marks the first meeting between the Yellow Jackets and the Cornhuskers in the annual Challenge, the first new opponent for Georgia Tech in the series since 2012, when the Jackets played Illinois for the first time.
The teams met once previously, a 66-49 Tech win on Dec. 28, 1983 in the Cotton States Classic, an annual tournament played in the old Omni arena in downtown Atlanta.
TECH IN THE BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
- Georgia Tech has a 7-11 mark in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge after dropping a 67-61 decision to Northwestern last year in Evanston, Ill.
- Tech and Northwestern have met five times in the Challenge, its most frequent opponent. The Yellow Jackets dropped the first two, then won the next two before the Wildcats prevailed in 2018. Tech is 1-1 at home, Northwestern 2-1.
- Tech and Penn State have met three times in the annual event, with the Nittany Lions taking two of the three meetings.
- Tech has played Illinois (2012 and 2013) and Northwestern (2010 and 2011, 2017 and 2018) in consecutive years.
- Tech has played eight “home” games in the series and has a 5-3 record in those contests. Four of the games were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where Tech defeated Wisconsin (2001) and Michigan (2004) and went 1-1 against Penn State (2006, 2008). Two others were played at Philips Arena, an 80-77 loss to Michigan in the first Challenge game in 1999, and a 76-60 loss to Northwestern in 2011.
- The Yellow Jackets have a 2-8 mark in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games on the road. The Yellow Jackets’ scored a 73-53 win at Ohio State in 2003, the year in which Tech reached the NCAA Championship game, and won at Northwestern in 2014. Tech also has visited Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State, Indiana and Northwestern (three times).
- Maryland and Purdue are the only Big Ten teams the Yellow Jackets have not faced in the annual series.
James Banks III notched the first of his 10 career double-doubles last season in Tech’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge loss at Northwestern.
FOLLOWING THE TRENDS
- Through five games, Georgia Tech ranks No. 41 in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com (90.9 points per 100 possessions). No. 5 nationally in effective defensive field goal percentage (39.4) and fifth in two-point field goal defense (37.9).
- Since the beginning of last season, Tech has held 22 opponents, including nine ACC opponents, under 40 percent from the floor. Four of five Tech opponents this season have shot under 40 percent, and the Jackets are No. 7 among NCAA teams, and No. 2 in the ACC, in field goal percentage defense (.350).
- The Jackets have limited 17 opponents, nine in the ACC, to 30 percent or less from three-point range in the same time frame. Tech ranks No. 52 in NCAA rankings at 28.1 percent allowed this season.
- Tech ranks No. 1 nationally in blocked shots with 40 in five games (8.0 per game). James Banks III is No. 1 in the nation individually with 26 in five games (5.2 per game).
- Tech ranks third in the nation in defensive rebounding with 35.5 per game, and had 37 against Arkansas, which had only three offensive rebounds.
- Georgia Tech’s adjusted tempo is 69.6 possessions per game according to KenPom.com, well ahead of the 66.1 possessions per game last season and 66.8 in 2016-17. Game-by-game, Tech has 73, 77, 78, 68 and 65 possessions and has exceeded 100 points/100 possessions three times in five games.
- Tech has reached 70 possessions per game over the course of a full season only four times since 1997, the first year KenPom kept 1997-98 (72.3), 2000-01 (72.1), 2001-02 (70.5) and 2008-09 (70.5).
- Tech ranks No. 3 in the nation in 2-foul participation, KenPom.com’s measure of the propensity of teams to keep in the game players who have picked up their second foul in the first half. Tech led the nation in that cateogry in 2018-19.
- Tech has trailed at halftime four times in five games this season. The Jackets are 12-42 under Josh Pastner when trailing at halftime.
- Tech’s four games other than Elon (64-41 win) this season have been decided by nine points.
- Tech opponents have taken 58 more shots from the floor than have the Yellow Jackets this season, an average of nearly 12 attempts per game. But Tech has made nine more (45.5 percent to 35.0 percent). Bethune-Cookman attempted 68 shots to Tech’s 50, each team connecting on 26.
- Tech has connected on just 4-of-21 three-point field goals in its last two games (2-for-11 vs. Arkansas, 2-for10 vs. Bethune-Cookman) after hitting 21-of-63 (33.3 percent) in the first three games of the season.
- Tech’s 70.6 points per game this season is more than any Yellow Jacket team has been able to sustain over a full season since 2015-16 (73.2). That is the only time the Jackets have finished a season at 70 points or more per game in the last nine seasons.
- Michael Devoe, the ACC’s leading scorer, scored 27 points against Bethune-Cookman, including the game-winning points with his driving layup and free throw with seven seconds remaining. He reached double digits for the 20th time in his career and for the fifth time in five games this season. He also notched his fourth 20-point game this season and fifth of his career.
- Devoe is also the nation’s leading three-point shooter by percentage, hitting 13-of-21 this season (61.9 percent), including 2-of-4 against Bethune-Cookman. He went 11-of-16 overall, improving his season rate to 53.9 percent, which ranks in the ACC’s top five.
- Moses Wright posted his first career double-double and his first double-digit rebound game after scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against Bethune-Cookman. Wright is averaging 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds this season, and has hit 58.5 percent of his shots from the floor (6-of-8 vs. Bethune-Cookman). He is one field goal made shy of qualifying for the ACC rankings, and would be No. 2.
- James Banks III maintained his hold on the No. 1 spot in the the nation by blocking a career-high eight shots against Bethune-Cookman. It was the most for Tech player since Ben Lammers’ nine vs. Southern on Nov. 14, 2016.
- Banks posted his 10th double-double in a Tech uniform and his third this season with 12 points and 10 rebounds against Bethune-Cookman. Banks also had 20 points and 13 boards at NC State and 20 points with 14 rebounds against Arkansas.
- Banks went 6-for-8 from the free throw line against Bethune-Cookman and is 14-for-18 in Tech’s last two games. He has hit 71.4 percent of his charity tosses this season on a team-high 35 attempts.
There are 10 active NCAA head coaches who also served as NBA head coaches. @GTMBB could play 5(!) of them by Jan. 1.
Eric Musselman (Arkansas)
Fred Hoiberg (Nebraska)
John Calipari (UK)
Leonard Hamilton (FSU)
Terry Porter (Portland)*
*Possible opponent at Diamond Head Classic
— Andy Demetra (@AndyDemetra) December 3, 2019
Michael Devoe leads the ACC in scoring (23.4 ppg) and three-point shooting (61.9 pct.).
* About the ACC Network: The ACC Network (ACCN) is a new national network dedicated to 24/7 coverage of Atlantic Coast Conference sports. ACCN is currently available through six national providers: DirecTV, Dish Network, Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube TV and Playstation Vue. ACCN is also available via 60-plus local cable/digital providers, including AT&T uVerse and Cox Communications. To learn what providers carry ACCN in your area, visit getaccn.com.
** To watch ACC Network programming online via the ESPN app or WatchESPN.com, the viewer must subscribe to a cable/satellite/digital provider that carries the ACC Network.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its fourth year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has 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) and Instagram. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.
Season tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.