THE FLATS – Georgia Tech begins its 40th season of Atlantic Coast Conference play Saturday with a 2 p.m. contest against Wake Forest at McCamish Pavilion. These two teams completed the 2017-18 regular season on the same court, with the Yellow Jackets prevailing, 64-56.
Tech (8-5), in its third season under head coach Josh Pastner, is 7-2 at home this season following an 87-57 victory Friday over Kennesaw State and a 79-63 win Wednesday over USC Upstate to complete its non-conference schedule. 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.
Wake Forest (7-5), in its fifth season under head coach Danny Manning, opens its ACC slate following Wednesday’s 83-61 home win over Cornell, which came on the heels of losses to Gardner-Webb and Tennessee, teams to whom the Jackets also lost. The Demon Deacons have lost their only two road games to date, at Richmond and Tennessee.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network, airing in Georgia on Fox Sports South, and 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 (Sirius ch. 103, XM ch. 193, internet ch. 955).
Sophomore forward Evan Cole returned to the Tech lineup for Kennesaw State and has scored 27 points combined in the last two games.
- For starters – Georgia Tech opens its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with two games at home for the first time since the 2005-06 season and will have five of its first eight ACC games at home in the 2018-19 season.
- Home is where the heart is – 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 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.
- On the right foot – Georgia Tech has won its ACC home opener each of the last three years (No. 15 Miami last season, No. 9 North Carolina in 2016-17, No. 4 Virginia in 2015-16).
- Tough at home – Tech is 12-6 against ACC teams at home under Pastner, 5-3 against top-25 ACC teams.
- Tough slate – January shapes up as a rugged month as Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, Duke and North Carolina all made the NCAA Tournament field last season. Duke is currently No. 1 in the nation in both polls, while Virginia Tech and North Carolina are both in the top 10. Clemson and Syracuse were ranked in the top 25 to begin the season.
- Freshmen emerge – Guard Michael Devoe and forward Khalid Moore have started Tech’s last four 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), fourth in field goal percentage defense (No. 33 nationally) and second in three-point percentage defense (No. 18 nationally). The Jackets are also third in blocked shots and in sixth 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 83.9 (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 70.9 (63).
- 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 33.8 percent of available minutes, 103rd in the nation according to KenPom.com (national average is 31 pct.). Tech reserves are outscoring there opponents 27.8 to 17.5 per game).
- Creating offense with defense – Georgia Tech has forced an average of 15.3 turnovers per game, about two per game more than last season (ranks 7th in ACC, 57th in NCAA). Tech has turned those into 17.2 points per game (24.1 percent of total points).
- 668 – Career points for Brandon Alston, the most of any current Tech player. Georgia Tech finished last season with a trio of 1,000-point career scorers on its roster for the first time since 1989.
SERIES VS. WAKE FOREST
- Georgia Tech has a 42-40 lead in the all-time series and a 41-38 lead in games played since it became a member of the ACC.
- Tech has won seven of the last 10 meetings between the two teams, but split two regular-season meetings in 2017-18, dropping a 79-62 decision in Winston-Salem and winning at home, 64-56.
- Tech has won its last 12 games against Wake Forest at home, dating back to an 80-76 Demon Deacon win on Feb. 22, 2004 when both teams were ranked in the top 20. The Jackets won the last seven meetings in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, a 69-62 decision at Philips Arena during the 2011-12 season, and all four meetings so far at McCamish Pavilion.
- Tech was 24-9 against Wake Forest in games played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and is 29-9 against the Demon Deacons at home, which includes a 2012 meeting at Philips Arena, where the Jackets played their home games that season.
- Tech made a sweep of the season series in 2010-11, setting school records in each game for margin of victory in an ACC game (74-39 at home on Jan. 19) and for margin of victory in an ACC road game (80-54 on Mar. 3). The Jackets also swept the Demon Deacons in 2012-13.
- The home team has won 37 of the last 48 regular-season games in the series, with Wake Forest winning four times in Atlanta during that span, and Tech winning seven times in Winston-Salem.
- Tech is 39-29 against Wake Forest since 1985, including 12 straight victories from 1985-91.
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.