Feb. 6, 2014
THE FLATS – Looking forward to an unprecedented four-game homestand, Georgia Tech begins it by hosting 20th-ranked Virginia in a 12 noon contest Saturday at McCamish Pavilion.
The ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta) will air television coverage of the game. 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 Tech radio broadcast can be heard nationally on satellite radio (Sirius ch. 92, XM ch. 190).
Tech (12-11, 3-7 ACC), 1-3 at home in conference play this season, dropped a 45-41 decision at Clemson Tuesday night in its last outing. The Yellow Jackets went 2-2 in its recent stretch of road games, defeating Boston College and Wake Forest and falling in overtime at NC State. North Carolina defeated the Jackets on Jan. 29 in Tech’s only home game during that stretch.
In its third season under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech has played its entire conference schedule to date with no more than nine scholarship players, sometimes with as few as seven, as it did for most of the game at Wake Forest and the entire contest at Clemson. Senior guard Trae Golden (groin) is expected back for Saturday’s game, and sophomore forward Robert Carter, Jr., may be able to play for the first time since injuring his knee on Dec. 29.
Despite its shorthandedness, Tech has played well offensively most of the time, outpacing its scoring output against the conference from a year ago and shooting better than it ever has under Gregory. Tech has suffered, however, on the boards and on the defensive end.
Virginia (18-5, 9-1 ACC) was picked to finish fourth in the ACC in pre-season polls but currently stands second, a half-game behind undefeated and top-ranked Syracuse and two games ahead of Pittsburgh and Duke. The Cavaliers’ lone ACC loss came at Duke (69-65) on Jan. 13.
Tech continues this homestand Wednesday when Boston College comes to town (7 p.m.). The Yellow Jackets then have a bye in the schedule before entertaining No. 11 Duke (Feb. 18) and Clemson (Feb. 22).
Letterwinners Game Follows Tech-Virginia
Georgia Tech will have its annual Letterwinners Game Saturday following the Yellow Jackets’ contest against Virginia. Former head coach Bobby Cremins and All-American Roger Kaiser will coach the two teams, and several former stars are expected to be on hand, including Jon Babul, Drew Barry, Bruce Dalrymple, James Forrest, Malcolm Mackey, James Munlyn and Dennis Scott. Admission is free.
Fast Break Points
Georgia Tech faced the nation’s top-ranked team in scoring defense Tuesday night in Clemson (55.0 ppg) and now faces the No. 2 team in Virginia (56.0 ppg). The Jackets scored 41 against the Tigers, 42 against Miami (59.5 ppg), which ranks 10th nationally, and 74 against Pitt (60.3), which is No. 14.
Virginia ranks No. 3 nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency rating, and Clemson is No. 6.
This is the only scheduled meeting between Tech and Virginia this season. Each team won at home in 2012-13.
Georgia Tech’s last four ACC road trips have produced two wins, an overtime loss and a four-point loss. Tech has won five of its last 11 ACC road games, winning at Virginia Tech, Wake Forest (twice), Miami and Boston College in that stretch. The Yellow Jackets won only three times in 36 ACC road games before that dating back to the 2008-09 season.
Trae Golden aggravated a groin injury in last Saturday’s game at Wake Forest and played only eight minutes, then sat out Tuesday’s game at Clemson. Jason Morris broke his right foot in Tech’s Jan. 29 game against North Carolina and played only four minutes. The senior swingman underwent surgery Monday and is out indefinitely. He has played only nine games this season. Sophomore guard Solomon Poole was dismissed from the team Monday for “conduct and accountability issues.”
Tech has played its ACC games this season with as few as seven scholarship players. Forward Robert Carter, Jr., swingman Jason Morris, and guards Travis Jorgenson and Solomon Poole had combined for 22 starts and were all projected as major contributors this season when practice began. They have missed a total of 52 games this season (Carter, Jr., 10, Golden 1, Jorgenson 20, Morris 14, Poole 8).
The absence of Carter, Jr., has hurt Tech in several ways, most notably on the glass, where the Yellow Jackets have been beaten on the boards five times in the 10 games the ACC’s leading rebounder has missed. Tech had won the rebound battle against all 13 non-conference opponents this season.
Their absences have given rise to bigger impact performances from senior Daniel Miller in the post, and freshmen Corey Heyward (average of 25 minutes last 8 games) and Quinton Stephens (18.3 minutes in ACC games).
Series Notes vs. Virginia
Virginia has won six of the last seven meetings, but Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 39-35.
Tech and Virginia split their two regular-season meetings in 2012-13, with the Cavaliers earning a split with an 82-54 drubbing of the Yellow Jackets in Charlottesville on Feb. 24. Tech won the teams’ first meeting, 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 nine visits to Charlottesville, but is just 1-4 at John Paul Jones Arena and has lost on its last three trips to Charlottesville.
The Yellow Jackets were 10-16 against Virginia at University Hall, the Cavaliers’ former homecourt, Tech’s best winning percentage on any ACC foe’s home court.
Virginia had won three straight meetings in Atlanta before its loss to the Yellow Jackets on Feb. 3, 2013, 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 37-34 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.
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).