Feb. 23, 2013
THE FLATS – Looking to complete its second regular-season sweep of an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent this season, Georgia Tech travels to Charlottesville, Va., to take on Virginia at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon in a regionally-televised game at the John Paul Jones Arena.
Tech (14-11, 4-9 ACC) has split eight games since an 0-5 start to the conference schedule, including a 66-60 home-court win over the Cavaliers on Feb. 3. The Yellow Jackets, who dropped their last game against North Carolina at home (70-58 Tuesday night) also have won a pair of road games in that stretch at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Sunday’s game can be heard over the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network (790 AM, 106.7 FM in Atlanta), as well as satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 93, XM Ch. 192). The game is being televised on the ACC Network, including WATL-TV in Atlanta, and is also available online via ESPN3 outside the ACC footprint.
Virginia (18-8, 8-5 ACC), the top defensive team in the ACC (54.0 ppg), has lost two straight games to North Carolina and Miami, both on the road, but had won seven of eight prior to that. The Cavaliers are 6-0 at home in the ACC this season, and 15-1 overall, having lost to Delaware in November.
Following Sunday’s game, Tech returns home to host Maryland (Wednesday) and NC State (March 3) in its final two home games of the season next week.
Percentage-wise, Tech’s 11-19 record in Charlottesville is its best record vs. any ACC opponent on the road, but the Yellow Jackets are just 1-3 at the John Paul Jones Arena after compiling a 10-16 mark at University Hall.
Tech’s next best marks on the road against ACC teams are Maryland and Wake Forest (11-24 vs. each). Its best winning percentages in current ACC road venues are the Tucker Center in Tallahassee (7-12) and the Joel Coliseum (7-17).
With its win over Wake Forest, Georgia Tech accomplished its first season sweep of an ACC opponent since the 2010-11 season. The opponent then was Wake Forest, whom Tech defeated 74-39 at home and 80-54 in Winston-Salem.
Tech’s win at Wake Forest gave the Yellow Jackets four conference victories, matching last season’s total.
Tech captured its second ACC road win at Wake Forest, the most for the team in one season since 2007-08, when the Yellow Jackets went 4-4. Tech was 3-29 in the four seasons in between.
Tech has improved its record in each month of this season over the corresponding month last season (see chart on page 6).
Tech coach Brian Gregory is closing in on 200 career victories as a head coach. He has 197, including 172 in eight seasons as the head coach at Dayton.
Tech needs two more victories to secure a winning season in year two under Gregory. No Tech coach since Dwight Keith in 1945 has had a winning record in his second year on the Flats.
Georgia Tech is five games ahead of its 25-game record a year ago.
Tech has led at the half in seven of its 13 ACC games. Tech’s biggest halftime lead has been 23 over Wake Forest (Jan. 26), and its largest deficit was 10 to Miami (Jan. 5).
Four of Tech’s conference losses have come by five points or less – 56-53 to Clemson, 56-54 to Florida State, 63-60 at Clemson and 70-65 (in overtime) to Virginia Tech.
Tech continues to be ranked high in the nation in scoring defense (27th) and field goal percentage defense (14th) as of Feb. 17, and ranks fourth and third, respectively, in the ACC in those categories.
Tech is 10-5 at home in its first season in McCamish Pavilion and has averaged 7,309 in attendance with three sellouts.
Tech has led wire-to-wire in three games – Georgia, The Citadel and Wake Forest. Tech has never led in two games this season, Feb. 14 against Clemson (there was one tie, 30-30 in the second half), and Jan. 23 at North Carolina (no lead, no tie).
Five of Tech’s losses this year have come against teams ranked in the top 50 of the CBSSports.com RPI rankings including ACC foes Miami (2), NC State (21), Duke (1) and North Carolina (26). The Yellow Jackets have lost only three times to teams outside the top 100.
Tech’s non-conference losses came to teams with a combined 36-17 record. Illinois is No. 32 in the current CBS RPI rankings, while California is No. 49. Saint Mary’s (22-5, No. 48) has the best overall record and highest ranking among the opponents Tech has beaten.
After getting outrebounded in its first three ACC games by an average of 9.3, Tech has outrebounded seven of the last 10 teams it has played (one tie).
Four of Tech’s six road games this season have been against teams ranked in the top 35 of the CBSSports.com RPI rankings top 25 – a 75-62 loss to No. 22 Illinois on Nov. 28, an 83-70 loss to No. 16 NC State on Jan. 9, a 73-57 loss at No. 1 Duke on Jan. 17 and a 79-63 loss to No. 34 North Carolina on Jan. 23.
Head coach Brian Gregory utilized seven different starting lineups last season. Two players – Kammeon Holsey and Daniel Miller – started every game. This year he has utilized three different lineups, and three players – Carter, Jr., Miller and Udofia – have started every game.
Tech’s lineup for 15 of the first 16 games had been Mfon Udofia and Brandon Reed at the guards, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr., at the forwards and Daniel Miller at center. Chris Bolden replaced Reed in game 16 at Duke and has started the last 10 games.
Series Notes vs. Virginia
Georgia Tech won the teams’ first meeting this year, 66-60, at McCamish pavilion in Atlanta, snapping a five-game losing streak in the series. That game represented a 38-point turnaround in scoring margin after Virginia had won 70-38 win in the teams’ only regular-season meeting in the 2011-12 season.
Tech has four wins in its last eight trips to Charlottesville, but is just 1-3 at John Paul Jones Arena and has lost on its last two trips to Charlottesville, including a 72-64 decision in the last visit on Jan. 22, 2011.
The Yellow Jackets were 10-16 against Virginia at University Hall, the Cavaliers’ former homecourt, Tech’s best winning percentage on an ACC foe’s home court.
Virginia had won three straight meeting in Atlanta before its loss earlier this year, including its last two in Alexander Memorial Coliseum and one at Philips Arena. Overall, Tech was 21-8 against the Cavaliers in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, is 23-11 on all home courts and 25-12 in games played in the city of Atlanta.
Since Tech joined the ACC, the Yellow Jackets are 37-33 against Virginia.
Tech and Virginia have played to overtime seven times since the 1983-84 season, including a 72-71 triple-overtime win for Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 23, 1984, and an 88-85 double-overtime triumph for Virginia in Charlottesville on Jan. 22, 1995.
In the ACC Tournament, Tech has won five of nine games, including a 70-61 Jacket victory in the 1990 final in Charlotte.