Tech Faces Season's Toughest Test at No. 3 Duke
Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils tip at 9 p.m. Thursday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium (ESPN)
Jan. 16, 2013
THE FLATS - In a game pitting a team looking for its first Atlantic Coast Conference win of the season against a team coming off its first loss of the season, Georgia Tech treks to Durham, N.C. to play No. 3-ranked Duke in a 9 p.m. nationally televised contest Thursday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.Tech (10-5, 0-3 ACC) has dropped its first three ACC games, most recently a 70-65 overtime defeat at home Saturday to Virginia Tech, and sit 0-3 in conference play for the first time since the 2008-09 team began the season 0-6. The Yellow Jackets, whose next two games are on the road, still have their best 15-game start since the 2009-10 season.
Three of Tech's losses have come against teams currently ranked 18th (Illinois), fifth (Miami) and 11th (NC State) in the CBS Sports RPI ranking.
Thursday'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. 91, XM Ch. 91). The game will be nationally televised on ESPN and on the WatchESPN application.
Duke (15-1, 2-1 ACC) stumbled for the first time this season Saturday in an 84-76 loss at 20th-ranked NC State, who had beaten Tech earlier in the week. The Blue Devils are 8-0 at home this season.
The Yellow Jackets, who are making their firswt visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium in two years, have a bye this weekend before returning to action Jan. 23 at North Carolina. Tech's next home game is Jan. 26 against Wake Forest.
Georgia Tech is playing its third top-25 team this season following losses to No. 22 Illinois and No. 20 NC State, both on the road.
Tech has played just two true road games this season, a 75-62 loss at Illinois on Nov. 28 and an 83-70 loss at NC State last Wednesday.
Tech began its first season in McCamish Pavilion with eight straight wins before dropping its first two ACC games at home against Miami and Virginia Tech.
A win for Georgia Tech against Duke would give the Yellow Jackets 11 wins for the season, matching last year's total.
Tech has its best 15-game start since the 2009-10 season, in which the Yellow Jackets won seven in a row on their way to an 12-3 start. Tech had won six straight before a Jan. 5 loss to Miami, its first home loss of the season.
Tech is 8-2 at home in its first season in McCamish Pavilion and has averaged 7,186 in attendance with two sellouts.
Tech had not played a game closer than seven points this year until Saturday's 70-65 overtime defeat to Virginia Tech. Its previous four losses all came by double digits, and its closest victory has been by seven points.
NC State's 83 points last Wednesday night were the most by a team against Georgia Tech this year, and the Wolfpack became the first team to shoot 50 percent (50.9) against the Yellow Jackets since North Carolina last Jan. 29.
Tech remains in the nation's top 20 in scoring defense (17th) and field goal percentage defense (13th), and ranks third in the ACC in both categories.
Tech's losses have come to teams with a combined record of 59-21 (as of Jan. 14), and only two of those were at home.
Tech's most frequent starting lineup this season (14 of 15 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.
Tech's top two scorers for the season currently are both freshmen - Marcus Georges-Hunt (10.9 ppg) and Robert Carter, Jr. (10.1 ppg). They rank No. 2 and 4, however, on the Tech chart for ACC games only. Captains Mfon Udofia (11.3) and Daniel Miller (9.0) are No. 1 and 3.
Series Notes vs. Duke
Duke has won 28 of the last 31 games in the series. The Blue Devils won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams each of the last two years, 79-57 in Durham in 2010-11 and 81-74 in 2011-12 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
Tech has won just five of 36 games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the first four coming in (1959, 1984, 1987 and 1996). Tech's most recent win occurred on Mar. 3, 2004 in a 76-68 victory, which snapped a 41-game homecourt winning streak for the Blue Devils.
Since then, Duke has won five straight meetings against the Yellow Jackets at Cameron Indoor Stadium by an average of 16 points. The closest game was a 71-62 contest during the 2006-07 season.
Duke won 11 of the last 13 meetings at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and posted a 21-13 lead over Tech in games played on the Jackets' former home court, as well as a 25-16 mark in games played in Atlanta.
Duke leads the overall series 65-23, and is 52-19 against Tech since the Jackets joined the ACC.
Tech's best stretch of the series occurred between 1982 and 1989, with 10 wins in 17 meetings. Tech has never won more than two in a row.
Tech is 19-51 against Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, 12-18 in games played in Atlanta.
Tech is 3-7 against the Blue Devils in ACC Tournament encounters. Tech defeated Duke on the way to each of its three tournament titles, including semifinal victories in 1985 and 1990 and a first-round triumph in 1993. The Blue Devils have defeated Tech three times in championship games (1986, 2005, 2010).