March 9, 2010
ATLANTA – Looking to solidify its post-season hopes, Georgia Tech begins play in the 57th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday night against North Carolina. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
Georgia Tech earned the No. 7 seed in the tournament, while North Carolina is seeded No. 10. The winner will advance to face No. 2 seed Maryland at 7 p.m. Friday.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (19-11, 7-9 ACC, #7 seed) vs.
North Carolina Tar Heels (16-15, 5-11 ACC, #10 seed)
Date: Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Eastern time
Site: Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum
Television: ESPN2 – Mike Patrick play-by-play, Len Elmore color
Radio: Georgia Tech/ISP Sports Network, live on flagship station WYAY-FM (106.7). Wes Durham play-by-play, Randy Waters color.
Satellite Radio: XM 190-191, Sirius 212
On the web: Audio and live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com. Live video streaming on ESPN360.com.
Series History: North Carolina leads, 60-22
Tech in the ACC Tournament: Tech is 21-27 all-time (6-9 under Paul Hewitt). Champions in 1985, 1990, 1993; runner-up in 1986, 1996, 2005.
As the No. 7 seed: Georgia Tech is 1-1 as the No. 7 seed (2008, Charlotte).
At the Greensboro Coliseum: Georgia Tech is 7-17 all-time in the Greensboro Coliseum, 5-12 in ACC Tournament games.
Tech, 19-11 overall, 7-9 in the ACC, is within a victory of winning 20 games for the 13th time in its history, and for the fourth time under head coach Paul Hewitt. A win would complete a three-game sweep of the Tar Heels for the Yellow Jackets, something Tech has done only once before, in the 1984-85 season when they downed the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament finals in Atlanta.
The Yellow Jackets prepare for Thursday night’s game having dropped five of their last seven contests, including losses to Clemson and Virginia Tech in the final week of the regular season.
North Carolina enters the tournament with a 16-15 overall record and a 5-11 mark in ACC play. The Tar Heels have lost four of their last six games coming into the tournament, including an 82-50 defeat at Duke Saturday night.
Tech won both regular-season meetings with North Carolina, holding off a Tar Heels’ rally for a 73-71 win in Chapel Hill on Jan. 16, and cruising to a 68-51 win in Atlanta on Feb. 16.
Thursday’s game will be the ninth meeting between the two teams in the ACC Tournament, and the teams have split the previous eight encounters. It matches the most ACC Tournament games between Tech and any other ACC team (also Duke and Virginia). The teams are 1-1 in games played in Greensboro.
Tech has won its last two ACC Tournament games against North Carolina, including a 78-75 decision in 2005 in Washington D.C., when Will Bynum scored 35 points, and an 83-82 win in 2004 in Greensboro, when Jarrett Jack hit a last-second shot.
Tech’s ACC Tournament History
Georgia Tech has played in 30 ACC Tournaments, and has a 21-27 all-time record in the event. The Yellow Jackets have won three championships, in 1985, 1990 and 1993, but none of those occurred in Greensboro.
Tech has been a runner-up three other times (1986, 1996, 2005). The 1986 and 1996 runs to the finals occurred in Greensboro.
Tech is 5-12 all-time in ACC Tournament games played in the Greensboro Coliseum. Since 1996, when the Yellow Jackets reached the finals against Wake Forest, the Yellow Jackets have won just one of six tournament games in Greensboro.
Tech has a 6-9 record in the tournament with Paul Hewitt as its head coach, including a runner-up finish in 2005 in Washington, D.C., and a 1-3 record in Greensboro.
The Yellow Jackets have won at least one tournament game in four of eight years under Hewitt, including first-round victories over Virginia (2001, 2008), North Carolina (2004) and Clemson (2009), plus wins over Virginia Tech and North Carolina in 2005 to reach the finals.
Tech has been the No. 7 seed only once before, in 2008 in the Bobcats Arena in Charlotte. The Jackets defeated Virginia in the opening round before losing to Duke in the quarterfinals. Since the tournament has been played with 12 teams, Tech is 2-1 when it is the higher seed.
Series History with North Carolina
> North Carolina has an overwhelming 60-22 lead in the all-time series between the two teams, and a 46-20 advantage since Tech joined the ACC. The Tar Heels have won 20 of the last 28 meetings, but Tech swept the regular-season series in 2010 for the first time since 1996.
> Tech is 8-11 against UNC under Paul Hewitt, but 7-3 in games played away from Chapel Hill, including a pair of ACC Tournament wins. The Jackets are 6-6 against the Tar Heels under Roy Williams, and 6-7 against Williams all-time.
> Tech’s win in Chapel HIll in January of 2010 snapped a streak nine straight losses in the Smith Center. Counting regular-season games in Greensboro, Tech is 5-25 on the road against UNC. Tech is 5-17 in the Smith Center.
> In ACC Tournament play, the teams are even at four wins apiece, and Tech has won the last two encounters, 83-82 in the first round in 2004 and 78-75 in the semifinals in 2005. The other two Tech’s wins occurred in championship games, the 1985 final in Atlanta and the 1993 final in Charlotte.
> Tech’s greatest success in its series with North Carolina occurred during the middle 1990s when the Jackets won five of seven meetings, including three straight wins over No. 1-ranked Tar Heel teams during the 1993 and 1994 campaigns.
> The teams have played 34 times in the city of Atlanta, but only 22 times at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where the Tar Heels hold an 12-10 lead. Tech has won five of the last six meetings in the Thrillerdome, however, and is 5-2 against UNC in the Coliseum under Paul Hewitt. The top-ranked Tar Heels’ 83-82 win during the 2007-08 season was head coach Roy Williams’ first win at the Thrillerdome.
> Between 1982 and 1996, the Yellow Jackets played eight of their home games with the Tar Heels at the old Omni Coliseum in downtown Atlanta (2-6 record). Counting ACC and SIC Tournament games played in the city, Tech is 13-21 vs. North Carolina in Atlanta.
Paul Hewitt Quotes – March 9, 2010
On Derrick Favors winning ACC Rookie of the Year:
“I’m very happy for him. Obviously, he had to battle some foul trouble early in the year and just getting adjusted to the physical style of play. But, one of the things I’ve really grown appreciative about him is all those little things don’t frustrate him, and he plays through things. Obviously it’s built him and he continues to play well and he’s playing his best basketball at this time of the year.”
On trying to jump on North Carolina early, like the Yellow Jackets did in their first two games against the Tar Heels:
“That would be nice. We have to take care of the ball, take good shots, and we’ll go from there. We did a good job defensively against them as well, especially the second game here where we held them to 21 points [in the first half]. That’s what it’s going to take.”
On how dangerous the team can be if they get into the NCAA Tournament:
“We’re just trying to concentrate on North Carolina, Thursday night, that’s it. It all comes down to us being consistent. When we play consistently well, we got a chance to be pretty good.”
On if all the distractions around the program have hampered the team’s performance on the court:
“No, I thought if anything after watching the [Virginia Tech game] tape again that we played tight. Our guys were pressing. The second half especially where we missed some easy shots around the basket and we started going too hard to offensive rebounds and gave them some transition baskets. Our guys were trying really hard. They want to win.”
On how to deal with the players with all the distractions going on around the team:
“That’s the one thing I always try to tell them, you guys have to focus on what you have an opportunity to do here. We as coaches, if we make it to the NCAA Tournament this would be my 11th trip overall. Players have a limited time to do it, so you can’t worry about those things. Playing good basketball and put yourself in a position so you can enjoy a good tournament.”
On if these next ACC Tournament games are some of the most important of his career:
“For this team to get to the [NCAA] tournament, we have to win this game in order to give ourselves a chance. I look at the projections, and quite frankly, I’m surprised they still have us in the field, but that still means we have to take care of business on Thursday [against North Carolina]. If we do that, then we’ll see what happens on Friday. We’ve got to win this game on Thursday to have a realistic shot.”
On how he will put the importance of the game to his players:
“You got to go play. You just have to go play, there’s no two ways about it. The players have to respond. That’s something that maybe these younger guys have to learn is that you have to respond when you’re put in that moment. That’s what we have to do. We haven’t put it that way to this group because we feel like we’ve played some really good ball. The last two games, you can’t explain the shooting of Virginia Tech and Clemson. I looked at the tape and we were right there in both games, but both teams were lights out.”