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Tech Opens NCAA Tournament Against Loyola Chicago

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Ending an 11-year hiatus from the NCAA Tournament, Georgia Tech plays its first-round game of the 2021 tournament at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon against Loyola Chicago at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The Yellow Jackets are a No. 9 seed in the field as an automatic qualifier after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship last weekend.

Georgia Tech update – The Yellow Jackets have won eight straight games since a Feb. 12 loss at Clemson, including victories over Miami and Florida State to win the ACC Tournament. Tech also earned its highest ACC regular season finish (fourth) since the 2004 national runner-up team also finished fourth, and have a NCAA NET ranking of No. 34. Tech’s current surge began with a 71-65 home win over Pitt on Feb. 14 and included three road victories over Miami, No. 16 Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

Loyola update – The No. 8-seeded Ramblers won the Missouri Valley Conference, defeating Southern Illinois, Indiana State and Drake, and have a six-game winning streak entering the NCAA Tournament. Loyola has actually won 17 of 18 games dating back to a Jan. 10 loss at Indiana State. The Ramblers’ only other losses occurred at Drake in overtime on Feb. 14, and to Wisconsin and Richmond in December.

Broadcast information – Live TV broadcast on TBS with live streaming on the March Madness app. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Learfield IMG College and flagship station WCNN-Radio (680 AM, 93.7 FM) in Atlanta. Westwood One will broadcast the game nationally.

TECH’S NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Georgia Tech has played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times in its history. Fifteen of those appearances have occurred from 1985 to the present, 10 under head coach Bobby Cremins and five under Paul Hewitt.

The Yellow Jackets’ last NCAA Tournament appearance was 2010 in the Midwest Regional, where the Yellow Jackets defeated Oklahoma State in the first round before losing to Ohio State in the round of 32.

Tech has a record of 23-16 in NCAA Tournament play, highlighted by its 2004 trip to the NCAA title game as well as a Final Four berth in 1990. The Yellow Jackets have reached the NCAA Sweet 16 seven times (1960, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2004).

The 2004 and 2005 appearances were Tech’s’ first back-to-back appearances since Bobby Cremins led the Institute to the Big Dance nine straight years from 1985-93.

Georgia Tech has won at least one game in 11 of its 16 previous NCAA Tournament appearances.

Head coach Josh Pastner speaks to the media Tuesday

THE TIPOFF

  • Jackets-Ramblers second meeting – Georgia Tech and Loyola have met once before – 54 years ago. The Jackets traveled to Chicago and suffered a 96-71 defeat at the hands of the Ramblers at Chicago Stadium in late December, 1967.
  • Tech’s last NCAA Tournament team – The starting lineup for Georgia Tech’s last NCAA Tournament team included four players who played at least briefly in the NBA – Derrick Favors, Iman Shumpert, Gani Lawal and Glen Rice, Jr. Favors and Shumpert remain active in the NBA.
  • Big wins for the Jackets – Loyola, the 17th-ranked team in the Associated Press poll, will be the 10th AP top-25 team the Yellow Jackets have played this season. Tech has defeated five AP top 25 teams this season, most recently No. 15 Florida State in the ACC Tournament, more than any other team in the ACC. The Jackets also defeated No. 20 Kentucky (Dec. 6), No. 20 Clemson (Jan. 20), No. 16 Florida State (Jan. 30) and No. 16 Virginia Tech.
  • Fourth ACC title for Tech – Georgia Tech (17-8) claimed its fourth ACC Tournament championship and its first since 1993. The Yellow Jackets are 4-4 all-time in tournament title games.
  • Automatic – Georgia Tech earned the ACC’s automatic qualifying berth in the 2021 NCAA Tournament and will carry an eight-game winning streak into this weekend’s play in Indianapolis. The Yellow Jackets have not lost a game in more than a month (74-72 at Clemson on Feb. 12).
  • Streaking – Tech’s current eight-game winning streak is the longest since the Yellow Jackets opened the 2003-04 season 12-0. But Tech has not won as many straight games at this time of year since the Jackets won nine in a row in 1996, seven to finish the regular season and their quarterfinal and semifinal games in the tournament. Tech lost in the finals to Wake Forest.
  • Rise above – The Yellow Jackets once again outperformed pre-season projections in 2020-21, finishing fourth in the ACC after being projected to finish ninth. Last season, Tech finished in fifth place after being picked to finish 12th in the official poll of ACC media. Same thing in 2018-19, when Tech finished 10th in the ACC after being projected to finish no higher than 13th in the preseason. Tech also outperformed projections in 2016-17, finishing 11th after being picked to finish 14th in Josh Pastner’s first season.
  • Nothing but NET – Georgia Tech’s eight-game winning streak elevated the Yellow Jackets 28 spots in the NCAA’s NET rankings (from 62 to the current 34) and 23 spots in the KenPom.com rankings (from 55 to 32). Those are Tech’s highest positions in both rankings during head coach Josh Pastner’s tenure. Tech is 9-6 against quad 1 and 2 teams.
  • Tech’s ACC schedule among strongest – Georgia Tech went 11-6 against an ACC schedule ranked No. 3 in strength according to KenPom.com. Tech’s schedule had been rated the strongest prior to playing at Wake Forest to finish the season.
  • Tech vs. NCAA teams – Six ACC teams are the only Tech opponents to make the NCAA field, and the Yellow Jackets went 6-4 against them during the regular season and ACC Tournament. None of Tech’s non-conference opponents made the NCAA or NIT fields.
  • Getting himself Wright – Moses Wright probably sealed his selection as ACC Player of the Year with a remarkable stretch during Tech’s six-game winning streak to end the regular season, averaged 23.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. He hit 65-of-97 FG (67 pct.), 23-of-36 FT (63.9 pct.) and 3-of-4 3pt FG, adding in 19 assists, 12 blocks, and 6 steals during the stretch.
  • The Wright stuff – Moses Wright ranks among the ACC’s TOP SIX in scoring average (3rd, 17.40 ppg), rebound average (4th, 8.04 rpg), field goal percentage (4th, .532), steals (7th, 1.48 pg), blocked shots (6th, 1.64 per game), offensive rebounds (4th, 3.16 rpg) and minutes (6th, 35.34 mpg).
  • All in for Alvarado – A second-team All-ACC selection, Jose Alvarado ranks among the top 10 in the ACC in seven (7) statistical categories … No. 9 in ACC in scoring (15.28 ppg), No. 6 in FG percentage (.506), No. 1 in FT percentage (.846), No. 6 in assist average (4.12), No. 1 in steals (2.96), No. 7 in assist/turnover ratio (2.02), No. 3 in minutes (36.98) … With enough makes he would also rank in the top 10 in three-point percentage (.389).
  • MVP – Michael Devoe just missed making one of the three official All-ACC teams (he was top top vote-getter among the honorable mention players), but he became the fourth Tech player to win the Everett Case Award as the Outstanding Player in the ACC Tournament. The junior guard scored 20 points with three assists and two steals against Florida State in the championship game, and 13 points with seven assists in Tech’s quarterfinal win over Miami. Combined, he went 12-of-20 from the floor, 5-of-8 from three-point range.
  • Call me Ush – Jordan Usher, the fourth Yellow Jacket averaging in double figures this season, has averaged 15.7 points and 5.7 rebounds over his last five games (Syracuse, Duke, Wake Forest, Miami, Florida State), hitting 31-of-60 from the floor with 15 assists and 11 steals.

Jose Alvarado speaks to the media Tuesday

TEAM TRENDS

  • Long time coming – With an 11-6 ACC record to follow last year’s 11-9 finish, Georgia Tech collected its most ACC victories (22) in back-to-back years in its 42-year history in the conference. The Yellow Jackets went 8-8 in 1994-95 and 13-3 in 1995-96 (21 wins).
  • High cotton – Tech’s fourth-place finish in the ACC regular season was its highest since its NCAA Tournament runner-up team tied for third in 2004. Coupled with last year’s fifth-place finish, the Yellow Jackets posted their highest back-to-back finishes since 2004 (T-3) and 2005 (4th).
  • Also – Tech achieved 10-plus ACC wins in back-to-back years for the first time in program history. Tech also has posted winning ACC records in back-to-back seasons since 1989 and 1990 (both 8-6). Also, the Yellow Jackets are five games over .500 in the ACC for the first time since March 3, 1996.
  • Home sweet home – Tech finished the 2020-21 campaign with an 8-1 record at home in ACC games this season, and has won 14 of its last 15 conference games at McCamish Pavilion. The Jackets won four of those ACC games at home after trailing as the half.
  • Snack runs – After dropping its first five ACC road games this season, Tech won its last three by an average of 18.3 points against Miami (87-60), No. 16 Virginia Tech (69-53) and Wake Forest (75-63). It is the first time since the 2007-08 season that the Yellow Jackets have won three straight ACC road games,
  • Four-large – Georgia Tech is one of two NCAA Division I teams (Ole Miss is the other) to have four active players with 1,000 career points. This has never happened in Tech history. Moses Wright joined the group Feb. 20 at Miami and has 1,130 career points. Michael Devoe (1,135 points) reached that benchmark Feb. 14 against Pitt. Bubba Parham (1,446) already had 1,000 when he transferred to Tech, and Jose Alvarado (1,416) surpassed the mark late last season.
  • Doing it at both ends – Through the end of the regular season, Georgia Tech ranked No. 6 in the ACC (conference games only) in scoring offense (71.76 ppg) and No. 4 scoring defense (67.29 ppg). Florida State was the only other team to rank sixth or higher in both.
  • On second thought – After intermission during its eight-game winning streak, the Yellow Jackets have shot 55 percent from the floor (126-of-229). Tech shot 50 percent or better the second half of 14 of its 19 ACC games (including the ACC Tournament). In Tech’s 13 ACC wins (including the tournament), the Jackets have made 55.9 percent (204-365) of their attempts after halftime.
  • Moses climbs the mountain – Moses Wright is the 21st player in Tech history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in a career, reaching the scoring mark Feb. 20 at Miami and the rebound mark Jan. 30 vs. Florida State. The 6-9 senior now has 1,130 career points and 614 career rebounds.
  • On guard – Michael Devoe and Jose Alvarado have accounted for 40.2 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ points this season. They have scored or assisted on 65 percent of Tech’s field goals. The Jackets are 13-1 this season when both players score in double digits, 11-0 in ACC games (including the tournament.
  • The Three Amigos – Moses Wright (17.40), Michael Devoe (15.28 ppg) and Jose Alvarado (15.08) and all rank among the top 10 players in the ACC in scoring average. Syracuse is the only other team with three players in the top 20. Tech is 10-1 this season (8-0 in ACC games) this season when all three reach double figures. Tech has not had three players average 15 or more points over an entire season since the Jackets’ last ACC championship team in 1992-93 (James Forrest 19.5, Travis Best 16.3 and Malcolm Mackey 15.6).
  • Bombs away – Alvarado and Devoe have combined to make 39.6 percent of their three-point shots this season (40.8 in ACC games), combining for 101 of the Yellow Jackets’ 189 threes.
  • Ball security – The Jackets remain No. 1 in the ACC in turnover margin (plus-4.80) and rank No. 8 nationally in turnover margin. Tech’s margin of plus 4.12 in ACC games also ranked No. 1. Tech leads the ACC in turnovers forced (15.92) in league games, and is third in fewest turnovers committed (11.12).

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and the Support The Swarm Fund, created to give fans an opportunity to help Georgia Tech athletics maintain its recent momentum through the financial challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic! To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its fifth year under head coach Josh Pastner, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship for the fourth time in team history and appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010. Tech has been a member of the ACC since 1979, won four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), played in the NCAA Tournament 17 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. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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