Jan. 4, 2013
THE FLATS – Looking to continue its longest winning streak in three years, Georgia Tech opens Atlantic Coast Conference play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Miami at McCamish Pavilion. The Hurricanes, the last team to face Tech in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, will be the first ACC team to play the Yellow Jackets in McCamish Pavilion.
Tech (10-2) closed out its non-conference schedule with a 74-58 victory over Chattanooga Wednesday night, and in the process has completed its best non-league record, built its longest winning streak (six games) and posted its best 12-game start since the 2009-10 season, the last time the Yellow Jackets earned a post-season bid. The 2009-10 squad went 12-2 in non-conference play, reached the finals of the ACC Tournament and the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tech’s only two losses have come to California, which was undefeated at the time and went on to win the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, Calif., and to 12th-ranked Illinois on the road.
Saturday’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. 135, XM Ch. 193). The game will be regionally televised on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta), and is also available online at ESPN3.
Miami (9-3), which won eight of its first nine games this season, snapped a two-game skid Wednesday night with a 76-59 homecourt victory over LaSalle. The Hurricanes, who won both meetings against Tech last year, are ranked as high as 11th in RPI services with a strength of schedule rated as high as fourth.
Saturday’s game closes out a seven-game homestand for the Yellow Jackets, who play three of their next four games on the road.
Miami is the first ACC opponent to play a game in the new McCamish Pavilion, and was the last foe (ACC or otherwise) to play in Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
A win for Tech against Miami would give the Yellow Jackets 11 wins for the season, matching last year’s total. It would also even Brian Gregory’s Tech record at 22-22.
Miami won both meetings with Tech last year, both of which took place at Philips Arena, and the Yellow Jackets scored a total of 85 points in the two games.
Tech has won six straight games and is off to its best start since the 2009-10 season, in which the Yellow Jackets won seven in a row on their way to an 11-2 start.
Tech is 8-0 at home in its first season in McCamish Pavilion and has averaged 7,071 in attendance with two sellouts.
Tech has won its last four games by an average of 26.8 points, the closest game being the most recent, a 16-point win over Chattanooga.
Tech has held its last four opponents to an average of 47 points a game, including three straight foes to under 50 for the first time since the 1959-60 season (Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn).
Tech’s last four opponents have shot 29.4 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent on threes collectively.
Tech ranks among the nation’s top 10 in scoring yield (6th, 53.5 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (3rd, 35.1 pct.) for the season, second in the ACC in scoring defense and in field goal defense. California’s 44.2 percent is the best against Tech this year.
Tech has not played a game closer than seven points. Its seven wins have come by an average of 18.1 points, its two losses by 12.0 points.
Tech was listed No. 50 in CBSSports.com’s RPI ranking after its first six games with an overall strength of schedule ranked No. 60. Six consecutive wins later, Tech’s RPI rank is No. 114 in that service, and its strength of schedule was No. 303. Tech’s highest RPI rank is 63rd (Kenpom.com).
Tech’s two losses have come to teams with a combined record of 21-6 (as of Jan. 2).
In both of Tech’s losses, the Yellow Jackets held leads well into the second half. Tech led Cal by three at the 15:33 mark, and Illinois by four with 7:15 left.
Tech’s most frequent starting lineup this season (11 of 12 games) has been Mfon Udofia and Brandon Reed at the guards, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr., at the forwards and Daniel Miller at center. Jason Morris started in place of Georges-Hunt against California.
Series Notes vs. Miami
After winning the first two meetings with Miami after the Hurricanes became members of the ACC, Tech has dropped seven of the last nine. Miami won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams in 2011-12, as well as their ACC Tournament meeting, both games at Philips Arena.
Miami was the opponent for Tech in its last game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, a game the Yellow Jackets won 66-57 to close out the 2010-11 regular season. Tech won four of six games against the Hurricanes in the building.
Four current Tech players – Kammeon Holsey, Daniel Miller, Jason Morris and Mfon Udofia – appeared in the last game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and combined for 18 of the Yellow Jackets’ 66 points against the Hurricanes. Five current Miami players – Rion Brown, Julian Gamble, Reggie Johnson, Durand Scott, Erik Swoope – played in that game and combined for 27 of Miami’s 57 points.
Ten of the 15 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
The last meeting between the two schools prior to Miami’s joining the ACC occurred in December of 1997 as part of the Orange Bowl Classic doubleheader at Miami Arena, the Hurricanes’ home court until the team moved into the on-campus Convocation Center last year. The Yellow Jackets, led that year by senior forward Matt Harpring, won that game, 69-61.
Tech played Miami twice under former head coach Whack Hyder, losing the first-ever meeting in the series by 22 points in 1953, then taking a six-point homecourt victory in 1967. That was the only pre-ACC visit by the Hurricanes to Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and the 90-84 Tech win has been the highest scoring game in the brief series.