Jan. 3, 2014
THE FLATS – Having completed its non-conference schedule at 9-4, Georgia Tech opens Atlantic Coast Conference play Saturday with a 2 p.m. game against Maryland at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md.
The ACC Network will provide regional television coverage of Tech’s final ACC regular-season meeting with the Terrapins, which can be seen in Atlanta on WATL-TV. Radio coverage of the game will be provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on WYAY-FM (106.7). The Maryland radio broadcast can be heard nationally on satellite radio – Sirius channel 134 and XM channel 196.
Saturday’s game is the third of four consecutive road games for the Yellow Jackets, who captured a 58-55 win at Charlotte Sunday night and are 2-1 on opponents’ home courts this season and 2-3 away from Atlanta.
In its third season under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech enters ACC play with its best offensive numbers during that time frame in several categories, averaging 72 points per game while hitting 44.3 percent of its field goal tries, 29 percent of its threes and 70.5 percent of its free throws. Tech also has outrebounded every opponent so far and has a +7.3 rebound margin for the season.
Defensively, Tech ranks 56th nationally in scoring yield (65 ppg) and 29th in field goal percentage defense (38.8 pct.) while also ranking 28th in rebound margin and 67th in assists.
Maryland (9-5) has won four of its last five games, including an 88-80 win Dec. 12 at Boston College in the ACC opener for both teams. The Terps are one of the better rebounding teams in the ACC (+7.4, 3rd in the ACC) and stand toward the middle of the conference rankings in most offensive and defensive categories.
Following Saturday’s game, Tech completes its four-game road stretch with a Tuesday night game at No. 7 Duke (7 p.m.) before returning home for three straight home games.
Fast Break Points
Tech learned this week that Robert Carter, Jr., will be sidelined indefinitely after sustaining a tear of the meniscus in his left knee during the Yellow Jackets’ game at Charlotte last Sunday. An MRI taken Tuesday revealed the tear, and Carter, Jr., will underog surgery next Tuesday (Jan. 7).
This is the first time Georgia Tech has opened ACC play on the road since the 2010-11 season, when the Yellow Jackets opened with games at Boston College and at Clemson. Tech has played its ACC opener at home in five of the last six seasons.
Tech has lost its last seven ACC openers, five of those coming at home, and its last seven in a row when the opener has been played on the road. Tech’s last win in an ACC opener on the road occurred Jan. 5, 1993 at Maryland (85-75). Tech’s last win in an ACC opener – home or away – was Dec. 4, 2005 against Virginia (63-54).
This is the eighth time in Tech’s 35 seasons in the ACC that the Yellow Jackets are opening conference play with two road games. Tech has lost both games on four of those occasions and split them the other three times (1984-85, 1986-87, 1988-89).
With a win Saturday, Tech will be 37-35 vs. Maryland as an ACC foe. A Terrapin win will leave the teams tied 36-36 as ACC brethren.
Georgia Tech averaged 72.0 points per game in its pre-conference schedule, nearly six points per game better than 2012-13 (66.6) and eight better than 2011-12 (63.8). Tech has also posted better numbers over last year in field goal percentage (44.3/44.0), free throw percentage (70.5/64.3), free throws made per game (15.5/11.4), assists (14.9/14.2) and rebound margin (+7.3/+5.9).
Tech’s defensive numbers also have risen over last year’s pre-conference schedule (65.0 ppg/53.5, 38.8 pct. FG/35.1), but its ranking within the conference remains similarly high. Tech ranks 56th nationally (7th in the ACC) in scoring defense, 29th in field goal percentage defense (6th in the ACC).
In its non-conference schedule, Tech played six teams currently ranked 121 or higher in the CBSSports.com RPI rankings (Illinois 17, St. John’s 56, Dayton 57, Mississippi 73, Vanderbilt 84, Charlotte 118), only two of those at home. Eleven of the 15 ACC schools are ranked higher than Tech’s current No. 126 (as of Thursday), and six of those are in the top 68.
Tech has out-rebounded every opponent this season, 13 straight games. It is the longest such streak for the Jackets dating back to the 2000-01 season.
Jason Morris made his first start of the season at Charlotte, replacing Chris Bolden in the lineup. He scored three points with four rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes. Morris missed Tech’s first 10 games this season after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot in October.
Tech plays its next two games on the road and does not play again at home until Jan. 11, when Notre Dame tips off a stretch of three straight ACC games at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech and Maryland have no common opponents in their non-conference schedules.
Series vs. Maryland
Georgia Tech has won the last two meetings and three of the last five in the series, including a 78-68 victory at McCamish Pavilion in 2012-13 in the teams’ only regular-season meeting.
Prior to a 69-64 Tech win in the 2010 ACC Tournament, Maryland had won nine straight over the Yellow Jackets and now leads the all-time series, 39-36.
Tech’s win in 2012-13 gave the Yellow Jackets a 36-35 record against Maryland since 1979-80, which is its second-best mark against any ACC team since the Jackets joined the league (37-34 vs. Virginia). The teams met only four times before Tech joined the ACC, and the Terps won all four.
Fourteen of the 21 games between Tech and Maryland since the 2000-01 season have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Maryland’s 61-50 win at Comcast Center on Jan. 15, 2012 is the largest margin of victory for either team over the last nine meetings.
Tech was 17-11 against Maryland in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and is 21-11 in games played in Atlanta. The Terps won the last four meetings at the Thrillerdome, and they were 12-6 against the Jackets on their home court under Gary Williams.
Percentage-wise and in terms of the number of wins, Tech’s 11-24 road record vs. Maryland is the second-best it has against any team in the ACC. The Jackets are 1-7 in the Comcast Center, and were 10-17 at Cole Field House. Tech’s only win at the Comcast Center was a 75-64 victory during its Final Four season of 2003-04.
Maryland won the first nine games of the series, but Tech turned the tables under head coach Bobby Cremins, winning 28 of 35 meetings (including 10 in a row at one point) through the 1995-96 season. The Terps won the next seven in a row before Cremins’ last Tech team won 69-68 at home on Jan. 15, 2000.
Tech is 4-4 in ACC Tournament meetings with Maryland. The Terrapins were Tech’s first-ever ACC Tournament opponent, a 51-49 overtime win in the 1980 first round in Greensboro. Maryland also was Tech’s first ACC Tournament victim, in 1983 at the Omni by a 64-58 score.
About Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its third year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships, played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004).