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Pre-Season NIT Tips Off Demanding Men's Hoop Schedule

Aug. 20, 2003

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s fourth appearance in the Pre-Season National Invitation Tournament, a road trip to Ohio State and a home game against 2003 NIT champion St. John’s highlight the 2003-04 Yellow Jacket men’s basketball schedule announced Wednesday by the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Jackets are coming off a 16-15 season in which they advanced to the quarterfinals of the post-season NIT and finished fifth in the ACC regular season. Eleven letterwinners and four starters return from that squad, including third-team all-ACC guard B.J. Elder and senior guard Marvin Lewis.

Tech will open its fourth campaign under head coach Paul Hewitt Nov. 18 with a home game against Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round of the Pre-Season NIT, the Yellow Jackets first appearance in the event since 1995.

The game will be nationally televised on ESPN at 7 p.m. The winner advances to a Nov. 20 second-round game against either Hofstra or Marist, and Connecticut is a potential semi-final foe if the Jackets get that far. The tournament features three teams from last year’s NCAA Championship (Connecticut, Utah and Vermont) and five who played in the NIT (Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas Tech).

“It’s another great schedule, and we’re looking forward to this 2003-04 season with a talented, veteran team,” said Hewitt. “We’re excited about having a quality non-conference opponent like St. John’s coming to play in our Coliseum along with the ACC teams.”

Tech’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge visit to Ohio State (Dec. 3, ESPN) is a rematch of the teams’ first-round game in last year’s post-season NIT, which the Yellow Jackets won, 72-58, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center. It will be Tech’s first visit to OSU’s Value City Arena, but the Jackets are 0-6 against Ohio State in games played in Columbus.

St. John’s will be making its first-ever visit to Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 21 (3 p.m.) for the first of three Tech appearances on Fox Sports Net’s “ACC Sunday Night Hoops” national television package. All seven of the previous meetings between the Jackets and Red Storm have occurred on neutral courts.

Tech also makes trips to Georgia (Jan. 3) and Tennessee (Feb. 7), and faces Saint Louis (Dec. 13) at Philips Arena in the annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Holiday Classic for Kids. The Saint Louis game will mark the first appearance for junior guard Will Bynum, the Chicago native who transferred from Arizona in the middle of last season and becomes eligible following fall semester.

The visits by Louisiana-Lafayette and St. John’s highlight a home slate that also includes Virginia Commonwealth (Dec. 29) and the typically rugged parade of ACC foes. Defending ACC champion Duke visits Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 31, while Maryland comes to Atlanta Jan. 17 and North Carolina is in town on Feb. 10.

Including the three ACC Sunday Night Hoops appearances, Tech is on national television 10 times during the course of the season, including five games on ESPN and two on ESPN2. That number could increase to 12 should the Jackets reach the finals of the Pre-Season NIT.

Tech’s other appearances on the Sunday night series includes a Jan. 11 date at North Carolina and a Feb. 22 home game against Wake Forest.

Tech will make 13 other appearances on regional television, including the Feb. 7 game at Tennessee (ABC) and nine ACC contests on the conference’s regional networks. Complete TV details appear in the schedule below.

Hewitt welcomes back two of Tech’s top three scorers in the 6-4 Elder (15.0 points per game last season) and the 6-4 Lewis (12.2 ppg). The Jackets boast a strong returning backcourt which also includes 6-3 sophomore point guard Jarrett Jack (9.5 ppg, 6.0 assists per game last season) and the 5-11 Bynum (6.6 ppg at Arizona). Other returning players with extensive starting experience include 6-6 junior Isma’il Muhammad (6.5 ppg career), 7-1 junior Luke Schenscher (4.1 ppg career), and 6-8 senior Robert Brooks (2.5 ppg career).

2003-04 Georgia Tech Men's Basketball Schedule

November 6 Thu. TEAM NIKE / exhibition, 7 p.m. 10 Mon. SOUTHEAST ATLANTA ALL-STARS / exhibition, 7 p.m. 18 Tue. LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE [ESPN] / Pre-Season NIT 1st round, 7 p.m. 20 Thu. Hofstra or Marist/ Pre-Season NIT 2nd round (if necessary), 7 p.m. 23 Sun. at Cornell, 2 p.m. 26 Wed. Pre-Season NIT Semifinals [ESPN], time tba Madison Square Garden, New York (if necessary) 28 Fri. Pre-Season NIT Finals [ESPN], time tba Madison Square Garden, New York (if necessary)

December 3 Wed. at Ohio State [ESPN] / ACC-Big Ten Challenge, 7 p.m. 6 Sat. TENNESSEE STATE, 7 p.m. 13 Sat. Saint Louis [FSNS/SUN], 12:30 p.m. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Classic, Philips Arena, Atlanta, Ga. 17 Wed. ALABAMA A&M, 7 p.m. 21 Sun. ST. JOHN’S [Fox Sports Net], 3 p.m. 23 Tue. MARIST, 2 p.m. 29 Mon. VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH [FSNS], 7 p.m.

January 3 Sat. at Georgia [FSNS/SUN], 3 p.m. 11 Sun. at North Carolina [Fox Sports Net], 8 p.m. 15 Thu. VIRGINIA [ESPN2], 7 p.m. 17 Sat. MARYLAND [RJ], 8 p.m. 20 Tue. at Wake Forest [RJ], 9 p.m. 24 Sat. at NC State [RJ], 4 p.m. 27 Tue. CLEMSON [RSN], 7 p.m. 31 Sat. DUKE [ESPN], 5 p.m.

February 3 Tue. at Florida State [RSN], 7 p.m. 7 Sat. at Tennessee [ABC], 3 p.m. 10 Tue. NORTH CAROLINA [RJ], 9 p.m. 14 Sat. at Virginia [RJ], 2 p.m. 19 Thu. at Maryland [ESPN2], 7 p.m. 22 Sun. WAKE FOREST [Fox Sports Net], 8 p.m. 25 Wed. NC STATE [ESPN], 7 p.m. 28 Sat. at Clemson [RSN], 12 noon

March 3 Wed. at Duke [ESPN], 7 p.m. 6 Sat. FLORIDA STATE [RSN], 4:30 p.m. 11-14 ACC Tournament, Greensboro, N.C.

All times Eastern, subject to change Home games (in ALL CAPS) at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center

TV designations [in brackets]: RJ – Raycom/Jefferson-Pilot ACC regional syndication network (check local listings for station); FSNS – Fox Sports Net South (regional cable); SUN – Sunshine Network (Florida); RSN – ACC regional cable network including Fox Sports Net South, Comcast Sports Net and Sunshine Network; FSN – Fox Sports Net (national cable)

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