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Jackets Host Wisconsin for Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Georgia Tech vs. Wisconsin

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 | 9:15 p.m. ET | Atlanta, Ga. | McCamish Pavilion

Television: ESPN2 | Live Stream

Play-by-Play: Dave Pasch  |  Analyst: Debbie Antonelli

Radio: Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports (In Atlanta: 680 AM/93.7 The Fan | XM 382, SiriusXM app 972 | Listen OnlineGeorgia Tech Yellow Jackets App | TuneIn

Play-by-Play: Andy Demetra  |  Analyst: Randy Waters


 

THE FLATS – Meeting on the hardwood for the first time in 20 years, Georgia Tech hosts No. 23/21 Wisconsin in the 2021 edition of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion.

Coming off its first ACC championship season since 1993 and its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011, the Yellow Jackets (5-1) have won five straight games since dropping a 72-69 decision to Miami of Ohio in their season opener on Nov. 9. Tech extended the streak Friday, 61-59 over Georgia Southern, despite not dressing six players due to flu symptoms.

Reigning ACC Tournament MVP Michael Devoe (Orlando, Fla.), the ACC’s leading scorer (23.4 points per game) and three-point shooter (62.1 percent, 3.6 made per game), leads the Yellow Jackets along with senior forward Jordan Usher (Canton, Ga.), averaging 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

Wisconsin (5-1), playing its first true road game of the season, has jumped into the national top 25 rankings after winning the Maui Jim Maui Invitational last week, defeating Texas A&M, Houston and Saint Mary’s in succession. The Badgers played their first three games at home, defeating St Francis (N.Y.) and Green Bay before falling to Providence.

Wednesday’s game will be televised live on ESPN2, which included Bally Sports South in the Southeastern United States, and also streamed live on the ESPN app. Radio coverage will be on the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports and flagship station WCNN (680/93.7 the Fan), and on satellite radio (XM channel 382, SiriusXM app 972).

THE OPENING TIP

  • Banner night – Georgia Tech will unveil the banner for its 2021 ACC Championship Wednesday night in a pre-game recognition, and give away replica banners to all students in attendance. Tech’s team was honored in person at halftime of its season-opening football game against Northern Illinois in September.
  • First top-25 foe – Wisconsin is Georgia Tech’s first AP/Coaches top-25 opponent of the 2021-22 season and the first of two the Yellow Jackets will face in December. Tech went 5-4 against top-25 foes last season.
  • Fight the power – Wednesday night’s game begins a stretch of four straight games for Georgia Tech against power conference foes. After Wisconsin, the Yellow Jackets open their ACC season Sunday at home against North Carolina, then meet LSU Dec. 11 at State Farm Arena and No. 20 Southern California Dec. 18 in Phoenix, Ariz.
  • From downtown – Tech enters Friday’s game ranked No. 3 in the ACC and No. 18 nationally in three-point percentage (41.1). After hitting just four 3s in 17 attempts (all by Michael Devoe) against Miami of Ohio, Georgia Tech has gone 40-of-90 (444.4 percent) in the last five games, including 7-of-20 against Georgia Southern.
  • Friendly confines – The Jackets play seven of their first eight games this season at McCamish Pavilion. Tech does not leave the state of Georgia to play until Dec. 18, when it travels to Phoenix, Ariz., to play Southern California.
  • Mikey likes it – Michael Devoe ranks No. 5 in in scoring average (23.4 ppg, also leads the ACC) and leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage (42.1 pct.). He also ranks second on the ACC in assists (5.0 apg), No. 1 in three-point field goals per game (3.60), and No. 4 in minutes (34.34 per game).
  • Efficiency – Devoe has scored 63 points on 34 field goal attempts in 67 minutes over his last two games (37 vs. Georgia, 26 vs. Georgia Southern). He missed the Charleston Southern game with flu symptoms.
  • Two-point conversion – Splitting the point guard duties nearly evenly, Kyle Sturdivant and Deivon Smith have combined to average 12.2 points and 5.8 assists over six games, while compiling a 29:14 assist/turnover ratio. Sturdivant has started all six games, but Smith has averaged about two more minutes per game. They played together for much of last Monday’s win over Charleston Southern in the absence of Michael Devoe.
  • Big3 – A rotation of Rodney Howard and Saba Gigiberia, and Jordan Meka in a more limited role, has filled the 5-spot vacated by ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright, Tech has received an aggregate 10.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game from those three. Howard, who has started all six games and averaged 28.8 minutes, has accounted for most of that production, and has posted a positive plus-minus in each game thus far (aggregate +59).
  • Small ball – Tech has utilized a small lineup, sometimes by choice, sometimes not, without either of its three bigs, using either Khalid Moore and Jordan Usher at the 5-spot. Tech played small the final 2:11 at Georgia after Howard fouled out, outscoring the Bulldogs, 9-4.
  • Gang rebounding – Tech has outrebounded five of its six opponents this season and has a plus-6.8 rebound margin collectively, which ranks No. 5 in the ACC. Georgia Southern was the first to outrebound the Jackets (37-35).

SERIES VS. WISCONSIN

Georgia Tech and Wisconsin are meeting for just the third time, with the series tied at a win apiece.

The last meeting was a nailbiter as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 28, 2001, a 62-61 win for the Yellow Jackets at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Tech’s former on-campus home. Tech erased a 20-point second-half deficit, which remains the largest from which Tech has rallied to win a game.

Guard Halston Lane provided the winning margin with a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, completing a comeback which was the Jackets trailing by 20 with 16 minutes left, and still behind 61-50 with 4:18 remaining. The Badgers didn’t score again, and guard Tony Akins scored seven of his 20 points to help pull Tech within 61-60 before Lane made his game-winning free throws.

Wisconsin won the team’s only other meeting, a 104-84 decision in the 1963 Milwaukee Classic.

TECH IN THE BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE

Georgia Tech has a 9-11 mark in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with back-to-back victories over Nebraska the last two seasons.

  • 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), Nebraska (2019 and 2020) and Northwestern (2010 and 2011, 2017 and 2018) in consecutive years.
  • Tech has played nine “home” games in the series and has a 6-3 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 3-8 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, won at Northwestern in 2014 and at Nebraska in 2020. 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.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship in 2021 after finishing fourth in the regular season. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, winning four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), playing in the NCAA Tournament 17 times and playing 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.

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