Feb. 9, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 20th-ranked (AP) basketball team, tied for sixth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings but only two games out of first, faces a pair of important road games this week, at Miami Wednesday night (7 p.m.) and at Wake Forest Saturday (8 p.m.).
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (17-6, 5-4 ACC) vs.
Miami Hurricanes (16-7, 2-7 ACC)
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern time
Site: BankUnited Center, Coral Gables, Fla.
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 191, Sirius 219
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Series History: Series tied, 5-5
Tech at BankUnited Center: Tech 1-2 record in Miami’s home arena.
National Rankings: Tech is ranked No. 20 in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Miami is not ranked.
Georgia Tech Coach Paul Hewitt: Hewitt (St. John Fisher `85) is 171-137 in his 10th season with the Yellow Jackets, 237-164 in his 13th season overall.
Miami Coach Frank Haith: Haith (Elon ’88) is 104-80 in his sixth season at Miami, 104-80 in his sixth season overall.
Tech, 17-6 overall, 5-4 in the ACC, is tied with Florida State, in the middle of a conference where five games separate first and last place. The Yellow Jackets, who have beaten three top-25 teams since Jan. 1 (No. 5 Duke, No. 12 North Carolina and No. 17 Clemson), have no more ranked teams on their schedule in the regular season, but have four games against teams that are receiving votes, and three against teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Jackets, who split a pair of games last week, losing at Duke (86-67) and defeating NC State at home (73-71), have a 3-4 record on the road this year, 1-3 in conference play.
Miami, 16-7 overall, is tied with NC State for 11th place in the ACC at 2-7. The Hurricanes have lost two straight and six of their last seven games, but are 10-1 at home this year. Their only homecourt loss was a 79-75 decision to Boston College on Jan. 19.
This is the teams’ only scheduled meeting this year. In fact, of the seven remaining ACC games on Tech’s schedule, four are against teams the Jackets will meet just once. Tech won the teams’ only regular-season meeting last year, a 78-68 victory in Atlanta the last week of the regular season.
The Jackets have been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC and the nation this season, ranking second in the ACC and THIRD IN THE NATION in field goal percentage defense (36.8 pct.) in all games, and third in the ACC in league games only (39.5 pct.). The Yellow Jackets have allowed 70 points in a game only five times in the last 18 games, and have not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 44.6 percent from the floor this year.
Tech is ranked No. 20 in this week’s Associated Press poll of writers, two above its pre-season rank and one below its highest position, and are also No. 20 in the ESPN/USA Today poll of coaches, same as its its pre-season spot and five below its apex.
Series History with Miami
> After winning the first two meetings with Miami after the Hurricanes became members of the ACC, Tech dropped four in a row before winning last year’s only contest, 78-68, in Atlanta.
> The most recent meeting between the two schools prior to Miami’s joining the ACC occurred in December of 1997 as part of the Orange Bowl Classic doubleheader at Miami Arena, the Hurricanes’ home court until the team moved into the on-campus BankUnited Center. The Yellow Jackets, led that year by senior forward Matt Harpring, won that game, 69-61.
> Tech played Miami twice under former head coach Whack Hyder, losing the first-ever meeting in the series by 22 points in 1953, then taking a six-point homecourt victory in 1967. That was the only pre-ACC visit by the Hurricanes to Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and the 90-84 Tech win has been the highest scoring game in the brief series.
> Tech coach Paul Hewitt is 3-4 against Miami, and Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith is 4-3 against the Yellow Jackets.
Providing for the Common Defense
Georgia Tech has been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC and the nation this season, a consistent reason why the Yellow Jackets have won 17 games and are 5-4 in the ACC.
> Tech ranks second in the ACC (behind Florida State) and THIRD IN THE NATION (Kansas is 36.6 and FSU is 36.779) in field goal percentage defense (36.834 pct.) in all games this season, and are third in the ACC in league games only (39.5 pct.). Against the three, the Jackets are fifth in the conference and 45th in the nation (30.7 pct.).
> Head coach Paul Hewitt’s team also ranks in the upper half of the ACC in rebound average (3rd) and rebound margin (5th, 33rd nationally), while also ranking in the top 50 nationally in blocked shots (34th) and steals (47th).
> The Yellow Jackets have allowed 70 points in a game only five times in the last 18 games, and have not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 44.6 percent from the floor this year.
> No Tech opponent has shot better than 45 percent from the floor this season. Only seven opponents, including Tech’s six losses, have shot as high as 40 percent from the floor against the Jackets this year.
Close Encounters of the Hoop Kind
Four of Georgia Tech’s ACC games this season have been decided by exactly two points. Another was decided by four, and two others by seven, one of those in overtime.
> Georgia Tech’s first five ACC games were decided by a total of 24 points, including three straight two-point decisions.
> Only Boston College (3-4 record) has played more ACC games decided by five points or less, or that have gone to overtime, than has Georgia Tech (4-2 record in such games).
The exceptions to the rule this season were Tech’s 79-58 homecourt win over Wake Forest and an 86-67 loss at Duke. The 21-point margin over Wake Forest was the largest in an ACC game since the Yellow Jackets defeated Clemson on the road, 74-50, on Feb. 6, 2003, and Tech’s third-largest winning margin in an ACC game under Paul Hewitt. Tech’s top winning margin in an ACC game under Hewitt is 31 points, a 77-46 win over Florida State on Jan. 30, 2003.
Paul Hewitt Quotes – February 8, 2010
On what strengths Miami brings to the table in their matchup with the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday:
“They’re a very good three-point shooting team and they have a couple of big guys in the young kid [Reggie] Johnson and of course [Dwayne] Collins, the senior. They’re a pretty balanced team. They’re young at the guard position. They have a transfer in Malcolm Grant and a freshman, Durand Scott, who is pretty good.”
On Derrick Favors’ progress:
“He’s coming along great. Right now, if he can stay out of foul trouble, he can start putting up some big numbers. The fouls he’s committing are just nickel and dime fouls, inexperienced fouls. It’s made him a little timid. We talked after the game on Saturday, and he told me he wasn’t as aggressive defensively as he wanted to be because he didn’t want to pick up a foul. It’s just something he has to work out and get used to how they’re calling and understand what they’re calling.”
On if Tech matches up well defensively against Miami’s three-guard offense:
“I think so. With Iman [Shumpert], Mfon [Udofia] and D’Andre [Bell] and I feel we’re getting better defensively along the perimeter. Glen Rice [Jr.] coming off the bench for us gives us a big lift defensively, as it does when Brian [Oliver] comes in.
“We better be ready to defend shots better than we did last week. It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but when we practiced this morning, I could tell already that the guys have a little extra bounce. As you get into February and if you’re going to be relevant team, you have to be playing consistent basketball. Today, they were as ready to practice as I’ve seen them all year.”
On his reaction to the NC State victory on Saturday:
“I probably overreacted. I can only think of one half all year where we didn’t play with the level of toughness and intensity that we need on defense. It was more frustration than anything else.
“It was the last three minutes and 24 seconds. The guys that were involved in it said, coach, we screwed up. We just screwed up and didn’t do the things we were supposed to do. But, again, I could see them today in practice. They know we have a good team and we have a chance to do something very significant. We kind of feel like we dodged one on Saturday. Now, we have to take advantage of the opportunity we have.”
On which area Glen Rice, Jr., has improved on throughout the course of the season:
“For one, he’s much better with the basketball. He had a tendency to get the ball and stand straight up with the ball over his head, so people would jam up into him and force turnovers. He’s much better defensively in that he’s ready to play defense now. He’s really being aggressive. He’s a great passer, really good off the dribble, a good rebounder and an excellent athlete. But, there are the simple things he does, like being in a ready position offensively and defensively. That is probably the area where I’ve seen him improve the most.”