March 1, 2010
ATLANTA – After getting back on the winning track Saturday with a victory over Boston College, Georgia Tech plays its final road game of the regular season Tuesday night at Clemson (8 p.m.). The game is being regionally televised on the ACC’s Raycom television network and broadcast on the Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Radio Network.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (19-9, 7-7 ACC) vs.
Clemson Tigers (20-8, 8-6 ACC)
Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Tipoff: 8 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C.
Television: Raycom – Bob Rathbun play-by-play, Mike Gminski color
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WQXI-AM (790 the Zone) and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM 190
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com. Live video streaming on ESPN360.com.
Tickets for Tech home games: available at www.Ramblinwreck.com/tickets
Series History: Tech leads, 59-56
Tech at Littlejohn Coliseum: Tech is 8-29 all-time in Clemson’s home arena.
National Rankings: Clemson is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Tech is unranked.
Tech, 19-9 overall, 7-7 in the ACC, evened its conference record with a 73-68 win over Boston College Saturday and are within a victory of winning 20 games in the regular season for the 13th time in its history. A win Tuesday night would give the Yellow Jackets their first regular-season sweep of Clemson since the 2004-05 season and their first win at Littlejohn Coliseum since then.
Clemson is 20-8 overall, 8-6 in the ACC following its 53-50 victory at Florida State Sunday night. The Tigers have won four of their last five games, losing only at Maryland, and are 6-1 in ACC home games.
Tech won the first meeting between the two teams, 66-64, on Jan. 19 in Atlanta, when Zachery Peacock drained a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining. Both teams were ranked in the nation’s top 25 then, but neither are now. The Jackets are 5-5 since the first meeting, while the Tigers are 5-4.
The Yellow Jackets begin the final week of the regular season alone in seventh place in the ACC standings, but are within a game of third place, currently shared by Virginia Tech (Saturday’s regular-season finale for the Jackets), Clemson, Florida State and Wake Forest, all 8-6. As it stands today, Tech loses a head-to-head tiebraker only to Florida State, and can gain tiebreakers over both Clemson and Virginia Tech with wins this week. Mathematically, the Yellow Jackets can finish anywhere from third to eighth depending on this week’s results.
Head coach Paul Hewitt’s Georgia Tech teams are 4-5 at Littlejohn Coliseum, but have lost their last four games in the Tigers’ home arena. The Yellow Jackets are 3-7 in road games this year, 1-6 in ACC road games.
Next Up for Tech
Georgia Tech finishes off its regular season with a 4 p.m. home game against Virginia Tech Saturday. The regionally-televised game (Raycom/WATL) will be the final home game for Tech senior players D’Andre Bell and Zachery Peacock, as well as senior manager Brad Hamilton.
Series History with Clemson
> Overall, Tech holds a 59-56 lead in a series that began in 1913. It is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 115 all-time meetings are 28 more than Tech has played with any other ACC member. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
> Clemson is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Wake Forest is the other) since the ACC expanded to 12 schools.
> Clemson has won six of the last 10 meetings in the series, and the Yellow Jackets trail 33-31 to the Tigers since joining the ACC. Clemson swept the Jackets in the regular season last year, but Tech captured the team’s meeting in the ACC Tournament, 86-81.
> Tech and Clemson have split their season series 19 times since the 1982-83 season, and there has been a home-team victory split 15 times. The home team has won 36 of the last 48 meetings.
> The Jackets have swept the season series from the Tigers three times under Paul Hewitt. Clemson has swept Tech twice in that time, and has done so only three times since the 1982-83 season.
> The Yellow Jackets have won 12 of the 20 games between the two teams since Paul Hewitt became Tech’s head coach, with a 7-3 record at home and a 4-5 mark at Clemson. Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell is 6-8 vs. Tech.
> Tech is just 15-36 all-time in games played at Clemson, including an 8-29 mark in Littlejohn Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets have won four of the last nine games at Littlejohn, but lost seven in a row at Clemson prior to that.
> Tech’s 111-108 win against the Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 24, 2001 is the highest scoring regulation game Tech has had with any ACC opponent. The Jackets defeated Florida State by the same score in Tallahassee (in two OTs) on Feb. 11, 1999, and lost to Wake Forest in the 2007 ACC Tournament, 114-112 in double-overtime.
Last Time Out
Georgia Tech continued its solid play on both ends of the court Saturday in a 73-68 victory over Boston College, building a 15-point lead over the Eagles before a sloppy final minute of the game saw BC score the game’s final seven points.
Sophomore guard Iman Shumpert led the Yellow Jackets with 24 points, hitting 10-of-16 shots from the floor, 4-of-8 from three-point range, while Derrick Favors also reached double figures with 14 points and five rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets shot 52.9 percent from the floor, the 11th time this year Tech has reached 50 percent in a game, and the fourth time in ACC play. Tech also made 8-of-17 shots from three-point range, and 11-of-12 from the foul line.
Defensively, the Jackets forced 21 turnovers and turned them into 25 points.
Georgia Tech in the RPI
From Monday’s College Basketball News RPI report, which most closely resembles the NCAA’s RPI calculations …
> As the No. 33 ranked (RPI) team, Georgia Tech is fifth among ACC schools.
> Tech owns wins over three of the top four rated ACC schools – No. 2 Duke, No. 27 Clemson and No. 29 Wake Forest.
> Georgia Tech has seven wins (7-7 record) over current top 100 schools, four versus the top 50. There are more than 340 schools playing Division I men’s basketball, so that represents the top third.
> The Yellow Jackets have games remaining against No. 27 Clemson and N0. 52 Virginia Tech, and their remaining opponents have a combined conference record of 14-12.
> Tech’s overall strength of schedule is rated the 20th toughest in the nation.
> Georgia Tech will play 29 regular season games against Division I opponents and 20 of those games (69 percent) will be against teams currently ranked within the top 100.
> This week’s RPI report ranks Tech’s non-conference strength of schedule to be THIRD among the 12 ACC schools. Since most non-conference games have concluded, this is not likely to change significantly. The system does not reward or penalize schools for games against non-Division I schools such as Kentucky State.
> The current RPI list notes that Tech will play the bottom four ranked teams (NC State, Virginia, Boston College, Miami) only once while playing each of the top four teams (Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson), as well as North Carolina (No. 86), twice.
Non-Conference Foes Having Success
Among Tech’s non-conference foes, a few are doing quite well, including Siena, whom Tech defeated by 13 points in December. The Saints are 24-6 overall and leading the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at 17-1.
Charlotte, which has an 19-9 overall record, is fifth place in the Atlantic 10 with an 9-5 record, while Dayton is 19-9 overall and 8-6 in the league, tied for sixth place.
USC, whom Tech defeated by 26 points in December, has rebounded to a 16-12 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the Pacific-10, in fourth place. Georgia is just 13-14 overall and in last place in the SEC East, but has defeated four top-25 teams.
George Mason, whom Tech defeated in Puerto Rico, is 17-13 overall, 12-6 and tied for third place in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Paul Hewitt Quotes – March 1
On Clemson’s last game against Florida State, a 53-50 win:
“It was a late February, early March game is what it was. They’re both fighting to strengthen their NCAA resume, so it was a hard-fought game. I can promise you wouldn’t see anything different tomorrow night. We’re going to up the tempo, and I’m sure they’re going to up the tempo. I suspect it’s going to be a grind-it-out, defensive battle. It’s going to be a tight, one-possession game down the stretch.”
On what the team needs to do to be successful against Clemson:
“We have to take care of the basketball. They’re going to pressure us. Derrick [Favors] really benefitted from us breaking the press in the first half [Saturday against Boston College] and got a lot of easy baskets. We’re going to have to do that for 40 minutes tomorrow night.”
On the team’s success at Clemson during his tenure:
“Four of our first five years here we won [at Clemson]. I know a lot of people around the program who know how hard it is to win up there, and we’ve actually done pretty well. Hopefully we can get another win tomorrow night.”
On playing the Tigers on their Senior Night:
“I’m not looking forward to that. There’s going to be a lot of emotion. Their team is going to be really fired up, and they’re going to play with a great deal of energy. Hopefully after the first five to 10 minutes they kind of level off. We expect a lot of fury from them to start off.”
On how important the game is:
“I think every game is very important because you just don’t know what everybody else is going to do; very few [teams] stay status-quo. If everything stays status-quo, do I feel good about our chances? Yeah, but you look around the country and you see different teams winning games. The only way to keep yourself on solid ground is to keep playing solid basketball.”
On where the team is right now going into the end of the regular season:
“We’re getting better. That’s the great thing, we are getting better. For the most part we are doing a better job of taking care of the basketball, and those lapses that you used to see are starting to disappear. But, you see that when you’re playing four freshmen and a sophomore. We’re moving in the right direction. We played enough basketball that those things can’t happen.”
On if the team’s positioning in the ACC and NCAA tournament ever comes up in conversation with the team:
“A little bit. So much of it comes down to just trying to get yourself immersed in the game and what the task is at hand. After the game is when you address it. You don’t want to go into the game thinking the game is important for this. I think it kind of goes without saying that you’re playing for something and that’s something that they should recognize. It’s a positive in itself that they’re playing meaningful games in March. Not everybody is going to play a meaningful game in March; their seasons could be long over. They should be proud of themselves to be in this position, but also understand that a responsibility comes with that. Like you said, each and every possession, you have to do what you have to do.”
On how important it would be to get a signature road win at Clemson:
“We’ve been close, so it’s not like a situation where we’re like “how are we going to do this?” We’ve got to do what we did against Maryland. We put ourselves in a position against Miami and the other teams we played on the road. We just have to go out there, just like we did against Charlotte, and get a good win on the road. We just have to go out there and play good basketball.”
On Clemson forward Trevor Booker:
“He’s a guy that when he came back to school, he really worked on expanding his game. He’s good off the dribble now, he’s actually shooting the ball well from the perimeter now and he’s tremendous around the basket, whether it be scoring or rebounding. It’s the old line that you can’t stop him, you only hope you can contain him a little bit and get a lot of points. It all centers around Trevor Booker.”
On what Glen Rice, Jr., brings to the starting lineup:
“Improved defense, better passing and really a playmaker; especially in the open court. He’s perfect for what we’re going to be getting into tomorrow because he’s a guy that can go in and make a good decision. Whether that is skipping the basketball or making a pass to somebody that makes a shot.”
On if every game is a must-win for Tech, starting with Saturday’s Boston College game:
“Anytime you’re at home you have that type of approach, but when you look at Maryland and now Clemson, there’s a lot of basketball to be played. The one thing you could do to help yourself is to play well. Now, if the team outplays you, there’s nothing you can do about it. We played really well against Maryland, the kid made a shot. If we go out and play really well against Clemson, we’ll live with the results.”