THE FLATS – Georgia Tech will tip off its 41st season of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball Tuesday night against NC State with an 8:30 p.m. tip at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The contest is one of seven ACC games on tap to open the 2019-20 campaign Tuesday and Wednesday nights, four of which will be televised on the new ACC Network*.
Tech (14-18 overall, 6-12 ACC in 2018-19), beginning its fourth season under head coach Josh Pastner, is opening its 2019-20 season against the same opponent and in the same venue in which it finished the 2018-19 regular season. The Yellow Jackets captured a 63-61 victory against the Wolfpack in that game, finishing the season in 10th place in the ACC standings.
NC State (24-12 overall, 9-9 ACC in 2018-19), begins its third season under head coach Kevin Keatts after advancing to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament last March. The Wolfpack tied for eighth place in the final ACC standings.
Tuesday’s game will be Georgia Tech’s debut on the ACC Network, which is on cable and television providers coast-to-coast. The broadcast also will be streamed live 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.382, internet ch. 986).
Head coach Josh Pastner addressed the local media before the Jackets departed for Raleigh.
- Rise above – The Yellow Jackets finished last season 10th in the ACC after being projected to finish no higher than 13th in the preseason. It was Tech’s highest finish since tying for ninth in 2013. Tech also outperformed projections in 2016-17, finishing 11th after being picked to finish 14th in Josh Pastner’s first season. The Jackets have been projected to finish 12th this season in the official preseason poll of ACC media.
- Been a long time – Georgia Tech is opening a regular season with a true road game for the first time since the 1979-80 season, Tech’s first as a member of the ACC, a 55-37 loss at Virginia on Dec. 1, 1979. That is also the last time the Yellow Jackets opened the season with a conference game.
- Core group returns – Georgia Tech returns all five players who started its final two games of the season, and eight players who started a total of 123 games.
- Firepower returning – Tech returns its top three scorers from the 2018-19 season – Jose Alvarado, James Banks III and Michael Devoe – who accounted for 48.4 percent of its points, 41.6 percent of its rebounds and 47.2 percent of its minutes. Altogether, Tech returns eight ot its top 11 players, who combined for 73.2 percent of its points, 66.4 percent of its points and 73.7 percent of its minutes. Those eight players combined to start 123 games.
- Get old and stay old – Tech’s core eight returning players include two seniors, three juniors and three sophomores.
- Reinforcements – Tech brought in two high-level transfers in 6-7 forward Jordan Usher from Southern California and 5-11 guard Bubba Parham from VMI, both of whom hail from the Atlanta area and were successful with their former schools. Usher, a former 4-star high school prospect, averaged more than eight points a game last year at USC, while Parham, an All-Southern Conference selection, led the SoCon in scoring at 21.4 points per game. Parham was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Usher, who enrolled at Tech last January, becomes eligible for the Jackets’ Dec. 18 game against Ball State. The Jackets also signed an all-state high school guard from South Carolina in 6-5 Asanti Price.
- 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 power conference foes Georgia and Nebraska.
- 105th season – Georgia Tech is beginning its 105th season of basketball in 2019-20 and has an all-time record of 1,354-1,243.
- First time – Georgia Tech’s roster is composed entirely of student-athletes recruited by head coach Josh Pastner and his staff for the first time in Pastner’s tenure.
- Wright stuff – Junior Moses Wright is returning to his hometown as a Georgia Tech player for the second time. The 6-9 forward scored 18 points last March 6 in the Yellow Jackets’ 63-61 victory over the Wolfpack.
- Better than par – Junior guard Bubba Parham was ranked No. 18 among the 2019-20 transfer class by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, who quoted one scout as saying, “He’s a badass. Cat-quick combo guard who can score 40. Elite in ball screens, deep range and can really pass.”
Senior center James Banks III chats with local media Monday.
SERIES VS. NC STATE
- NC State has a 57-40 lead in the overall series which dates back to 1925. Georgia Tech has won four of the last five meetings, including a 63-61 victory in Raleigh in the teams’ only regular-season meeting of 2018-19.
- Twenty-one of the last 25 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less, with three of those decided in overtime.
- Tech is 23-18 against the Wolfpack in Atlanta, including one home-court meeting that was played at the Omni in 1986 and one at Philips Arena in 2012. NC State had won all three games played at McCamish Pavilion before Tech’s victory on March 1, 2018.
- Since it joined the ACC, Tech is 32-43 against NC State, including regular-season and tournament.
- Tech has won three of four games against the Pack under head coach Josh Pastner, and is 2-0 vs. NC State coach Kevin Keatts.
- The Jackets are 11-31 against NC State in Raleigh, including a 4-11 mark at PNC Arena.
- Tech is 3-3 against NC State in ACC Tournament games, the last meeting occurring in 2003 in a 71-65 Wolfpack victory in Greensboro. The Jackets won first-round games in 1996 in Greensboro (88-73) and 1990 in Charlotte (76-67).
JACKETS SPLIT TWO EXHIBITION GAMES
Georgia Tech 98, Georgia College 76 – Fifty-two percent field-goal shooting, 48-percent shooting from downtown, and a 15-0 second-half run led Georgia Tech past Georgia College. The Yellow Jackets were led by six double-digit scorers on the afternoon, topped by junior Bubba Parham’s 15 (5-for-5 from three), joined by Jose Alvarado (14), Khalid Moore and Evan Cole (13) and Moses Wright (12). Evan Cole finished with a double-double (13 points and 11 rebounds).
Alabama 93, Georgia Tech 65 – Evan Cole scored 18 points to lead four Georgia Tech players in double figures, but Alabama overwhelmed the Yellow Jackets with a barrage of three-point shots. Tech outshot Alabama overall from the floor, 43.1 to 41.6 percent, but had no answer for Alabama’s hot hand from long range as the Tide connected on 17 three-point baskets in 37 attempts. The Jackets also struggled to take care of the ball, amassing 24 turnovers that led to 21 Alabama points. Cole came off the bench to score 18 points, hitting 7-for-10 shots from the field. Michael Devoe and Moses Wright scored 12 apiece, while Jose Alvarado had 11.
- All 11 of Georgia Tech’s available scholarship players competed against Alabama, and all but Michael Devoe, who missed the first three weeks of preseason practice rehabbing a toe injury, was held out as a precaution against Georgia College.
- All 10 scholarship players scored at least one field goal, and five players reached double figures in scoring.
- Georgia Tech knocked down its first six field goal attempts in the game and finished the first half at 58.8 percent, and 52.2 percent for the game from the floor.
- Tech connected on 11 three-point field goals against Georgia College, made by five different players. The Jackets hit double digits in threes twice last season – 12 in the opener vs. Lamar and 11 at Virginia Tech.
- Tech’s starting five in the game combined to hit 35-of-68 shots from the floor in the two exhibition games. Wright was 9-of-14, Moore was 4-of-5, Banks was 6-of-13 and Alvarado was 10-of-22.
Moses Wright looks forward to his second trip back to his hometown of Raleigh.
* 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.