Feb. 17, 2012
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ATLANTA – Georgia Tech completes a week on the road Saturday with a 3 p.m. regionally-televised visit to Virginia Tech Saturday at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.
The only meeting between the two schools this season will be televised on regional cable TV outlets throughout the East Coast (FS South in Atlanta) and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 790 the Zone (790 AM) and True Oldies 106.7 FM, as well as across the country on satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 93, XM Ch. 191). The game can also be viewed on ESPN3.
In its first year under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech (9-16, 2-9 ACC) hopes to capture its second road win in the ACC and third overall this season. Tech has lost eight of its last nine games and 12 of its last 14, having beaten NC State on the road and Boston College at home in conference action this season. The Jackets dropped a 59-50 decision at Wake Forest in their last game Wednesday night.
Tech is 3-7 on opponents’ home courts this season, including an 82-71 win at NC State on Jan. 11. The Yellow Jackets are 0-6 all-time in Cassell Coliseum, including a 102-77 decision last season.
Virginia Tech is 14-12, 3-8 in the ACC following a last-second 48-47 loss at Florida State Thursday night. The Hokies have split their last four ACC games following a 1-7 start, beating Clemson and Boston College at home.
The Jackets follow Saturday’s game with a pair of home games next week against Clemson (7 p.m. Tuesday) and Maryland (2:30 p.m. Saturday) at Philips Arena.
Tech/Virginia Tech Update
Georgia Tech’s primary goals this season have been to play solid team defense, win the rebounding battle, and be efficient on offense. The Yellow Jackets have a +3.9 edge in rebounding for the season and has won that battle in 14 of 25 games.
The Yellow Jackets rank No. 5 in the ACC (62nd nationally) in field goal percentage defense (40.5 pct.) and in scoring defense (84th nationally, 63.2 ppg). Tech has held 13 opponents under 40 percent from the field, and have held 10 teams under 60 points.
The Yellow Jackets have had difficulty scoring of late, averaging 54.1 points a game during the last nine games (that includes an 81-point effort at North Carolina). Tech has shot 37.9 percent from the floor over that stretch, failing to reach 40 percent five times.
Tech’s offensive troubles have manifested themselves mostly in the first half of those games. The Jackets have scored less than 20 points in the first half four times, averaging 21.7 ppg and shooting 31.0% over the 9 games. Compare that to an average of 32.4 ppg and 45% shooting from the floor in the second half.
Both teams rank near the bottom of the ACC in scoring output and field goal percentage against the league – Virginia Tech (58.7 ppg, 38.6%), Georgia tech 58.5 ppg, 40.1%).
Despite its 3-6 road record, Tech has been outscored collectively by less than 2 points on average on the road, and has outshot its opponents 43.4-39.0 percent from the floor.
Virginia Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring defense (62.2 ppg) and field goal defense (40.4%), similar numbers to the Yellow Jackets. The Hokies, however, rank third in the conference in three-point percentage (35.3%) and fourth in three-pointers made (6.0 per game), and ranks second in three-point defense (27.7%).
Whom to Watch
6-11 sophomore center Daniel Miller has scored in double figures in four straight games, averaging 10.3 points and 8.0 rebounds over that stretch. Miller has hit 18-of-28 shots from the floor, 4-for-4 from the foul line. He has 12 blocked shots, 6 assists and 6 steals.
6-5 junior Glen Rice, Jr., has scored in double figures in each of the last 3 games since he missed the FSU game on F1 with turf toe, averaging 10.4 ppg and 8.0 rpg. He ranks 14th in the ACC in scoring and 11th in rebounding.
Miller ranks 12th in the ACC in rebounding and 2nd in blocked shots (2.5 per game).
Rice and 6-2 junior Mfon Udofia are Tech’s only players averaging in double figures for the season, and Rice is the only one doing so against the conference.
Udofia has gone 3-for-24 from the floor in his last 3 games, but has 14 assists and just 4 turnovers in 101 minutes. He snapped an 0-for-19 slump by hitting his first attempt Wednesday at Wake Forest (a 3).
Point guards Udofia and Pierre Jordan have just 5 turnovers between them in the last 3 games (137 minutes).
6-3 sophomore Brandon Reed has made his last 16 free throw attempts dating back to Jan. 11 at NC State. He is 13-for-13 in Tech’s last 5 games.
6-10 sophomore center Nate Hicks has been sidelined with mononucleosis since F8 (missed 2 games). He is not expected to play this weekend and may remained sidelined next week as well.
Tech-Virginia Tech History
Virginia Tech won two of three games against the Yellow Jackets last year, three games that could not have been more different. Tech took a 72-57 win in Atlanta on the strength of a triple-double by Iman Shumpert, then lost 102-77 in Blacksburg in a game that was not that close, and 59-43 in the ACC Tournament.
Virginia Tech has won 12 of 16 all-time meetings with Georgia Tech, including eight of 11 as a member of the ACC. The Hokies won the first three games played in Atlanta.
Virginia Tech won four of six games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, including the teams’ first three meetings before the Yellow Jackets captured an 81-70 decision on Jan. 19, 2008. The Yellow Jackets also won the most recent game in Atlanta, 72-57, on Jan. 25, 2011.
The teams have split two ACC Tournament encounters, the Jackets capturing a 73-54 victory in the first round of the 2005 tournament in Washington, D.C., and the Hokies winning a 59-43 decision in the first round in 2011.
Georgia Tech has lost all six previous meetings with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, including a 102-77 decision last season. The Hokies, led by future NBA star Dell Curry, held off the Jackets and their future All-Americans Mark Price and John Salley, 77-74, in the teams’ first meeting at Cassell Coliseum in 1984.
Georgia Tech’s first victory over Virginia Tech occurred on Dec. 27, 1962, a 73-72 overtime triumph at the Gator Bowl Tournament that was part of an 11-0 start for the Yellow Jackets. Tech went on to finish the season 21-5. Both teams were ranked in the UPI poll at the time, Georgia Tech at No. 18, Virginia Tech at No. 14.
Both teams were members of the old Metro Conference, but not at the same time. Georgia Tech was a member for three seasons from 1975-76 through 1977-78 before leaving to join the ACC. Virginia Tech joined the league for the 1978-79 season.