ATLANTA (Mar. 6) – Eighth-seeded Georgia Tech opens the 47th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Thursday with a 7 p.m. game against seventh-seeded Florida State at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C.
The Tech-Florida State game will televised by ESPN, while the remainder of the ACC Tournament will air on ESPN and Raycom/Jefferson-Pilot (WATL in Atlanta). The entire ACC Tournament can also be heard on the Georgia Tech-ISP network (WGST 640AM/105.7 FM in Atlanta), featuring Wes Durham and Randy Waters.
The Yellow Jackets enter the ACC Tournament with a record of 13-16 overall and 5-11 in the ACC, while the Seminoles are 11-16, 6-10 ACC. The winner advances to meet second-seeded Maryland Friday at 2 p.m. The Tournament continues with semifinals games Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. and the championship game Sunday at 1 p.m.
“I told the team we’re going to fight to the bitter end together,” said Tech head coach Bobby Cremins, who will step down following the season.
“We’ve played better the last few games, and we had a great win over Clemson, so hopefully we can carry that into the ACC Tournament. I’d like to see us play loose and with confidence.”
Tech’s starting five features 7-0 senior Jason Collier (Springfield, Ohio), 6-11 junior Alvin Jones (Lakeland, Fla.) and 6-6 senior Jason Floyd (Hampton, Ga.) in the frontcourt, with 5-11 sophomore Tony Akins (Lilburn, Ga.) and 6-3 junior Shaun Fein (Centerville, Mass.) as the guards.
Collier leads Tech in both scoring (16.9) and rebounding (9.1). He ranks fifth in the ACC in scoring and first in rebounding, and he leads the league with 11 double-doubles, including five in ACC play. Jones averages 9.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and an ACC-leading 2.6 blocks per game, while Floyd averages 9.6 points and 3.5 rebounds.
Akins is Tech’s second-leading scorer at 11.5 points per game along with a team-leading 3.5 assists per game. Fein contributes 10.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 3.4 apg with an assist-turnover ratio of 1.74.
Tech’s top subs are 6-4 freshman forward Clarence Moore (Norco, La.), 5.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg, 5-10 junior guard T.J. Vines (Woodstock, Ga.), 4.5 ppg and 2.2 apg, and 6-7 junior forward Jon Babul (North Attleboro, Mass.), 3.9 ppg and 4.1 rpg.
Florida State is led by the perimeter tandem of 6-9 senior Ron Hale, 15.7 ppg, and 6-7 senior Damous Anderson, 15.7 ppg, who averaged 25 points in the two games against Tech this season. Point guard Delvon Arrington, a 5-11 junior, averages 8.9 ppg and 6.5 apg, while 6-8 senior Oliver Simmons, 7.3 ppg and 4.9 rpg, and 7-0 sophomore David Anderson, 2.2 ppg and 3.4 rpg, start in the frontcourt.
Georgia Tech and Florida State split their two meetings this season, with each team winning on its homecourt.
Tech defeated the Seminoles, 65-62, in Atlanta on Jan. 19 as Fein hit six of 10 three-pointers for 18 points and the Yellow Jackets connected on 12 of 27 from beyond the arc. In the rematch in Tallahassee on Feb. 21, Damous Anderson scored 24 points to lead the Seminoles, who overcame a 34-26 halftime deficit and a career-best 33 points by Akins.
“Florida State is very athletic,” said Cremins. “Damous Anderson had two great games against us. We had a good win over Florida State in Atlanta, and then the game at Florida State, I thought we had it under control but we couldn’t put them away in the second half.”
Tech in the ACC Tournament
Georgia Tech enters its 21st ACC Tournament with a record of 15-17, including a 9-8 mark in the 1990s. Even though Tech has played in fewer than half of the ACC Tournaments, the Jackets have won more titles – three – than Clemson (0), Virginia (1) and Maryland (2). In addition to winning the ACC Tournament in 1985, 1990 and 1993, the Yellow Jackets had runner-up finishes in 1986 and 1996, both times losing by a single point.
Tech has been the eighth seed three times, in 1980, ’81 and ’82, its first three years in the league, losing all three times. Since the league expanded to nine team, the Jackets have played on Thursday only once, in 1997, when ninth-seeded Tech fell to eighth-seeded NC State, 60-46.
Charlotte has been the site of two of Tech’s three ACC Tournament titles as the Jackets claimed the trophy here in 1990 and 1993. With a 7-4 record at the Charlotte Coliseum, Tech has more wins in this building than at any other site.
Bobby Cremins and the ACC Tournament
Bobby Cremins is one of two current ACC head coaches who have also played in the ACC Tournament, along with Maryland’s Gary Williams. Only Cremins has played and coached in the championship game.
Cremins was a three-year starter at point guard for South Carolina, playing in the ACC Tournament in 1968, 1969 and 1970. As a senior, he helped USC to a 25-3 record and a perfect 14-0 mark in the ACC regular season, but the Gamecocks fell to NC State in double overtime in the Tournament finals at the old Charlotte Coliseum.
Cremins, whose ACC Tournament record as a player was 4-3, has coached the Yellow Jackets to a 15-15 mark in Tournament play, with three titles (1985, 1990, 1993) and two runner-up finishes (1986 and 1996). Only Dean Smith, Mike Kryzyzewski, Vic Bubas and Everett Case have won more ACC Tournament titles than Cremins.
The Series with Florida State
Florida State leads the series 24-18, including a 10-8 advantage since the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1991-92. Tech dropped the first six meetings after FSU entered the league, but since then the Jackets are 8-4 in the series.
Tech and Florida State are meeting in the ACC Tournament for the first time, but the two teams have met in postseason play. When Tech was a member of the Metro Conference, the Jackets faced Florida State in the conference tournament two straight years, winning 72-67 in the first round in 1977 and falling to the Seminoles 71-69 in the 1978 second round.
Jason Collier, Alvin Jones and Tony Akins have all achieved career highs in games against Florida State. Last season in Tech’s 111-108 double-overtime win at Tallahassee, Collier scored a career-high 30 points, while Jones had his career-best with 28 points, along with 17 rebounds. This season at Florida State, Tony Akins reached his career high with 33 points, hitting 9-of-14 three-pointers. In addition, Shaun Fein’s 18 points in the first meeting with the Seminoles are his high in an ACC game.
Collier on a Roll
Jason Collier enters the ACC Tournament having averaged 22.5 points in the last four games, hitting 29-56 (.518) from the field, 7-18 (.389) from three-point range, and 25-31 (.806) from the free throw line. Last week, the seven-foot senior scored 25 points versus North Carolina, his high in an ACC game this season, and then 24 against Clemson.
Collier led Tech to victory against the Tigers with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists in his final game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Against UNC, he scored 15 points in the second half, including the game-tying field goal with 30 seconds left in regulation. In Tech’s win over NC State, he scored 22 points, including a key baseline hook shot with 57 seconds left.