Feb. 2, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 21st-ranked (AP) basketball team passes the halfway point of its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule this week with an important pair of games within a 48-hour period, visiting Duke for a nationally-televised (ESPN2) game Thursday night at 7 p.m. and returning back home to meet NC State Saturday at 4 p.m.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-5, 4-3 ACC) vs.
Duke Blue Devils (17-4, 5-2 ACC)
Date: Thursday, February 4, 2010
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham.N.C.
Television: ESPN2 – Mike Patrick play-by-play, Jay Bilas 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, Sirius 213
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Series History: Duke leads, 61-23
Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium: Tech has a 5-29 record at Duke’s home arena.
National Rankings: Tech is ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and 19th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Duke is 10th in the AP poll, ninth in the coaches poll.
Tech is 16-5 overall, 4-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, tied for fourth place in the ACC standings. The Yellow Jackets have their best record through 21 games since the 2003-04 season and have beaten three top-25 teams in the last month, including a 71-67 win over No. 5 Duke on Jan. 9, a 73-71 triumph at No. 12 North Carolina Jan. 16 and a 66-64 win over No. 17 Clemson on Jan. 19.
The Jackets, who defeated Wake Forest (79-58) and Kentucky State (98-50) at home last week, are 3-3 on opponents’ home floors this season (1-2 in ACC games) and 5-4 away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Duke, 17-4 overall following an 89-77 loss to Georgetown Saturday, sits atop the ACC standings at 5-2, having defeated Clemson and Florida State by an average of 13.5 points in its last two conference tilts.
Each team is 4-2 since the first meeting on Jan. 9, won by Georgia Tech, 71-67, in Atlanta. Duke (10th AP, 9th coaches) and Tech (21st and 19th) are the only ACC teams that appear in the national polls this week. They are the only ACC teams that have been in at least one poll every week of the season. Duke currently holds its lowest ranking of the season, while Tech has risen as high as 19th in the AP poll and 15th in the coaches poll.
The Blue Devils remain the ACC’s highest scoring team at 81.9 points per game, and in conference games only, they rank second at 73.4 per game.
The Jackets have been one of the better defensive teams in the ACC and the nation so far, ranking second in the ACC and fourth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (36.6 pct.) in all games, and second in the ACC in league games only (39.5 pct.). Tech ranks fourth in the conference and 18th nationally in lowest three-point percentage yield (.293) in all games, third in the ACC in league games only (28.0 pct.).
In its four ACC wins, Tech has held its opponent to an average of 15.5 points under its season scoring average (Duke 19 points under, North Carolina 12 under, Clemson 13 and Wake Forest 18). The Yellow Jackets have allowed 70 points in a game only three times in the last 16 games.
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, who has played an average of 31 minutes in his nine games back, has averaged 11.6 points and 3.7 assists in that stretch.
Series History with Duke
> Duke has won 24 of the last 27 games in the series, but Tech won the most recent contest, 71-67 in Atlanta earlier this season.
> Duke leads the overall series 61-23, and is 48-19 against Tech since the Jackets joined the ACC.
> Thursday night will be the 26th meeting between the schools when both are ranked in the nation’s top 25. Duke is 16-9 in such encounters in the past.
> Tech has won just five of 34 games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the first four coming in 1959, 1984, 1987 and 1996. Tech’s most recent win occurred on Mar. 3, 2004 in a 76-68 victory, which snapped a 41-game homecourt winning streak for the Blue Devils.
> Tech’s best stretch of the series occurred between 1982 and 1989, with 10 wins in 17 meetings. Tech has never won more than two in a row.
> Tech is 19-47 against Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, 12-17 in games played in Atlanta. Paul Hewitt is 3-16 vs. Duke.
> Duke has won 11 of the last 13 meetings at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and has a 21-13 lead over Tech in games played in the Jackets’ home court, as well as a 25-16 mark in games played in Atlanta.
> Tech is 3-6 against the Blue Devils in ACC Tournament encounters. Tech defeated Duke on the way to each of its three tournament titles, including semifinal victories in 1985 and 1990 and a first-round triumph in 1993. The Blue Devils defeated Tech in the 1986 championship game, in the 2004 semifinals and in the 2005 championship game.
Leftovers from Tech-Kentucky State
> Tech’s field goal percentage (.712) was the highest in the Paul Hewitt era and one of just six times in school history the Yellow Jackets have shot better than 70 percent.
> It was the fourth-highest single-game field goal percentage in Tech history and the highest since Dec. 17, 1985 when it shot 72.0 percent against Texas.
> Interestingly, Tech shot better than 70 percent in both halves, .714 in the first and .708 in the second.
> Tech’s 29 assists tied for the ninth-most single-game assists in school history.
> The 48-point margin of victory was the ninth-largest in school history and the largest since a 51-point win over Winston-Salem State on Jan. 3, 2007.
> Tech scored 90 points or more for the third time this season.
> Tech’s 55 points from its bench was the best single-game total in the ACC this season.
Quoting Head Coach Paul Hewitt
On if his young team is ready for the challenges ahead at Duke:
“Having the extra days here has been very helpful. We’ve spent more time on some of the sets and trying to recreate some of the situations that will come up in the game. It comes down to just your preparation.”
On what to expect from Duke’s Kyle Singler after he struggled in the first Georgia Tech-Duke game:
“He’s too good a player to have to bad shooting day again. At home, all three of their perimeter guys have been lights out. They are a different team at home.”
On if the team is experienced enough to win a big game at Duke:
“We’ve won some big games so far this year and these guys just keep getting better and better. One of the things I like about our team right now is the development of Glen Rice [Jr.] and Brian Oliver. They’ve come off the bench and are starting to become more consistent in terms of their offensive and defensive production.”
On Duke point guard Jon Scheyer:
“He is the primary concern, there’s no question about that. He was the primary concern the last game and I’m sure they’ve figured that out. We have to do, as best we can, to make him work for everything he gets.”
On the importance of getting out to a quick start:
“I’m not a big believer in the quick starts thing. I’ve seen when you get 13 or 14 point leads in the first four minutes, and they evaporate. The game is going to even out. It’ll be a game that will have some defining parts late in the first half and early in the second.”
On if it is surprising to be one of the two schools ranked in the Top 25 from the ACC this week:
“The league has always been one in which everyone beats each other up. There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played. The league is not down; I think it’s balanced. I think if you look around the country you see teams beating each other up. I think people have to start coming to grips that there’s a lot of parity in college basketball. It’s been going this way for eight to ten years.”
On the importance the game could have on Tech separating itself from the middle of the ACC:
“It’s very important for us. We had an opportunity against Florida State to separate ourselves from the pack, and we didn’t take advantage of it. Now, here’s another opportunity. It presents itself.”
On if the team will have to improve from the last game with Duke to pull out a victory:
“We know we’re going to have to play a lot better. I thought our effort was tremendous the last game, I thought our defense was very good, but offensively, we weren’t as smooth as we needed to be. Again, they are a different team in that building. They shoot the ball much better; they’re much more explosive defensively and force more turnovers. We’re going to have to play better.