Jan. 12, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 18th-ranked (AP) basketball team, boosted by its 71-67 win over No. 5 Duke Saturday, goes back on the road for a pair of games this week, beginning with a 7 p.m. contest Wednesday night at Virginia.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12-3, 1-1 ACC) vs.
Virginia Cavaliers (9-4, 1-0 ACC)
Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern time
Site: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Va.
Television: none (live video streaming at TheACC.com)
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network and WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM 191 (Virginia broadcast)
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Series History: Tech leads, 38-30
Tech is 12-3 overall, 1-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and off to its best start since the 2003-04 season. The Duke win prevented a fourth straight 0-2 start in ACC play and was the Yellow Jackets’ first win over a top five team in the Associated Press poll since 2005. The Yellow Jackets are 2-1 on opponents’ home courts this season, and this is their first ACC road game of the year.
Virginia is 9-4 overall, 1-0 in the ACC following its 70-62 win at NC State Saturday. The Cavaliers have won five straight games since a one-point loss at Auburn on Dec. 7.
The only Tech team with a record as good or better after 15 games was the 2004 Final Four squad, which was 13-2 and extended that mark to 16-3 before its next loss.
Head coach Paul Hewitt, who coached his 300th Tech game Saturday, is guiding the Yellow Jackets through a tough stretch, which includes three top 25 teams in the next four games. Following Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers, Tech visits No. 13 North Carolina, returns home to meet No. 19 Clemson, then travels to No. 25 Florida State. Those four teams have a combined record of 47-14.
The Jackets have been inconsistent on offense of late, averaging just over 70 points in their last seven games and shooting just 40.9 percent from the floor, but have played well defensively, limiting their last nine foes to an average of 60.1 points per game. Tech’s last nine foes have shot just 36.4 percent from the floor and turned the ball over more than 17 times a game. The Jackets held Duke, which was averaging 85.9 points per game, nearly 20 under that norm.
Tech returned to full strength Jan. 2 when Iman Shumpert, the sophomore guard, returned from a six-game absence due to surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his right knee. Shumpert has played an average of 31 minutes in his three games back.
The Yellow Jackets have been in and out of the Associated Press poll of writers after beginning the season ranked 22nd, and have returned to the AP top 25 this week at No. 20, same as last week. Tech has been in the ESPN/USA Today coaches top 25 each week of the season, currently holding the 18th position, down from No. 17 last week.
Series with Virginia
> Georgia Tech has won eight of the last 12, 12 of the last 17, and 19 of the last 26 meetings with Virginia. But Virginia won the only meeting between the two teams in 2008-09, an 88-84 overtime victory in Atlanta.
> Since Tech joined the ACC, the Yellow Jackets are 36-29 against Virginia.
> Tech has four wins in its last six trips to Charlottesville, including a 1-1 mark at John Paul Jones Arena. The Yellow Jackets were 10-16 against Virginia at University Hall, the Cavaliers’ former homecourt, Tech’s best winning percentage on an ACC foe’s home court.
> Tech is 3-3 against Virginia teams coached by Dave Leitao, and is 11-5 against Virginia under Paul Hewitt, including all three meetings in Hewitt’s first season of 2000-01.
> Tech and Virginia have played to overtime seven times since the 1983-84 season, including a 72-71 triple-overtime win for Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 23, 1984, and an 88-85 double-overtime triumph for Virginia in Charlottesville on Jan. 22, 1995.
> The Jackets have won 10 of the last 13 meetings between the two teams in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, but lost the most recent game, 88-84 in overtime on Dec. 28, 2008. Overall, Tech is 21-7 against the Cavaliers in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, 22-9 on all home courts and 24-10 in games played in the city of Atlanta.
> In the ACC Tournament, Tech has won five of nine games, including a 70-61 Jacket victory in the 1990 final in Charlotte.
Focus on the Bigs
There’s no question where the focus of Georgia Tech’s offensive plans rest, not to mention its opponents’ defensive schemes – starting post players Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors. They have been called the best front line in the ACC and one of the best in the nation.
Lawal, a 6-9 junior, and Favors, a 6-10 freshman, are Tech’s top two scorers and rebounders, and both rank among the ACC’s top five in rebound average and field goal percentage.
Lawal has seven double-doubles this year and ranks second in the ACC in field goal percentage (57.7 pct.), while Favors has double-doubles in five games and has shot 57.0 percent from the floor.
They have combined to produce 36 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ scoring and 43.1 percent of their rebounds. They have accounted 49 percent of Tech’s free throws made and 34 percent of its field goals.
Making his presence felt off the bench is 6-8 senior Zachery Peacock, who has averaged 10.1 points per game this season and shot 56.1 percent from the floor. With Peacock includes, Tech’s three-man rotation of big men account for nearly half (48.3 pct.) of Tech’s scoring and 53 percent of the rebounds.