THE FLATS – Georgia Tech closes out its pre-conference schedule Wednesday night when the Yellow Jackets host USC Upstate for a 7:30 p.m. contest at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech (7-5), in its third season under head coach Josh Pastner, is 6-2 at home this season following an 87-57 victory Friday over Kennesaw State. The Yellow Jackets won their first five games at home this season before dropping a pair of contests to Gardner-Webb and Georgia the week before Christmas. Tech opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Saturday at home against Wake Forest.
USC Upstate (5-9), in its first season under head coach Dave Dickerson visits Tech for the second time, and the first since the 2014-15 season. The Spartans have won three of their last four games, most recently an 89-69 victory over Coker at home Sunday. Like Tech, Upstate has a loss to Gardner-Webb on its slate and losses at South Carolina and NC State.
Wednesday’s game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, which is available through the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, airing in Atlanta on 680 AM and 93.7 FM the Fan. The Tech broadcast is available on satellite radio (XM ch. 383, internet ch. 974).
James Banks III has averaged 9.5 points and 8.8 rebounds this season.
- Home for the holidays – Tech is in the midst of seven home games in a stretch of eight games. It began Dec. 9 with a 73-40 victory over Florida A&M and carries the Yellow Jackets through the pre-conference schedule and ends with ACC games against Wake Forest (Jan. 5) and Virginia Tech (Jan. 9). Tech’s only road game in that span was at Arkansas.
- Tough slate – Eight opponents on Georgia Tech’s schedule were ranked in the top 25 of the preseason AP and coaches polls, including Tennessee and ACC foes Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Florida State and Clemson. Six ACC teams are currently in the top 25 of both polls, and Tennessee is No. 3.
- Freshmen emerge – Guard Michael Devoe and forward Khalid Moore have started Tech’s last three games (Arkansas, Georgia, Kennesaw State). Tech has deployed five different starting lineups this season.
- Defending well – Georgia Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring defense (No. 21 nationally), fifth in field goal percentage defense (No. 35 nationally) and fourth in three-point percentage defense (No. 18 nationally). The Jackets are also third in blocked shots and in fourth in steals.
- Below average – Tech has held every opponent this season under its season scoring average – breakdown by game: Lamar 81.8 (69), Tennessee 85.5 (66), East Carolina 71.1 (54), UTRGV 70.2 (44), Prairie View A&M 69.2 (54), Northwestern 73.5 (67), St. John’s 83.5 (76), Florida A&M 63.2 (40), Gardner-Webb 82.9 (79), Arkansas 81.8 (69), Georgia 79.2 (70), Kennesaw State 62.5 (57). USC Upstate averages 70.9 (No. 262 in the country).
- Longer bench – Tech has deployed at least eight players for significant minutes in each of its games so far, sometimes nine or 10. Tech’s bench has played 35 percent of available minutes, 84th in the nation according to KenPom.com (national average is 31 pct.). Tech reserves are outscoring its opponents 26.4 to 17.0 per game).
- Creating offense with defense – Georgia Tech has forced an average of 15.8 turnovers per game, about two per game more than last season (ranks 6th in ACC, 57th in NCAA). Tech has turned those into 17.7 points per game (24.3 percent of total points).
- 658 – Career points for Brandon Alston, the most of any current Tech player. Jose Alvarado is next with 445, followed by Shembari Phillips with 401, and Abdoulaye Gueye with 249. Georgia Tech finished last season with a trio of 1,000-point career scorers on its roster for the first time since 1989.
- 151 – CBSSports.com’s ranking of Tech’s non-conference schedule. USC Upstate (No. 338) is the lowest ranked team Tech will face this season.
SERIES VS. USC UPSTATE
- USC Upstate won the teams’ only previous meeting, a 59-54 decision on Dec. 6, 2014 at McCamish Pavilion. Abdoulaye Gueye, who played three minutes, and Sylvester Ogbonda, who did not play, are the only members of Tech’s current team also on that Yellow Jackets’ team.
- Tech is 22-4 all-time against the current membership of the Big South Conference, which includes a 79-69 loss to Gardner-Webb two weeks ago on Dec 17.
- The Owls captured an 80-63 upset in 2010 at the KSU Convocation Center.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.