@GTMBB Travels to #11 Louisville
30th meeting between the Jackets and Cardinals tips at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Louisville
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech (17-12, 7-9 ACC) looks to extend its four-game winning streak Tuesday night when the Yellow Jackets travel to 11th-ranked Louisville (22-7, 11-5 ACC) for an 8 p.m. regionally-televised contest at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
Tech, winner of five of its last six games, has won four straight regular-season ACC games for the first time in 14 years, having beaten Florida State, No. 19 Notre Dame, Clemson and Boston College by a total of 15 points. Tech is 3-5 on the road in ACC games this season, 4-6 overall.
Louisville lost Saturday at Miami, 73-65, snapping a three-game winning streak. The Cardinals, playing their final home game of the season, are 17-1 at the KFC Yum! Center, losing only to Virginia on Jan. 30.
Tuesday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta) and will be streamed live on ESPN3. Radio coverage of the game is provided by the Georgia Tech/IMG Sports Network, and can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan (680 AM and 93.7 FM). The game can also be heard nationally on satellite radio (Sirius 108, XM 194).
• Streaking - Georgia Tech has won four straight regular-season ACC games for the first time since the 2001-02 season, when the Yellow Jackets defeated NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest and Florida State to close the regular season. Tech erased an 0-7 start by winning seven of its last nine to finish 7-9. The last time the Yellow Jackets beat five straight ACC teams in the regular-season was 1995-96, winning the last seven games of the regular season to finish 13-3, which was the last regular-season ACC title for Tech.
• Winning - With two regular season games remaining, Tech has achieved its highest win total, both overall and in the ACC, under Brian Gregory, and has its most wins overall and in the ACC since the 2009-10 season (23-13 overall, 7-9 ACC, the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament). The last Tech team with more ACC wins and the last one to finished .500 in the league was 2006-07 (8-8). The Yellow Jackets have assured themselves of finishing the season with a winning record for the first time since 2012-13 (16-15).
• ACC Tourney possibilities - Tech is alone in 11th place in the ACC standings with Virginia Tech a game ahead at 8-8, Florida State a half-game back at 7-10. The Jackets need only to hold their position to avoid playing on Tuesday at the ACC Tournament. They hold a tiebreaker over FSU, but lose a potential tiebreaker with Virginia Tech. Should Tech finish 11th, it would be the No. 10 seed in the ACC Tournament and play the 7 p.m. game against the No. 7 seed Wednesday. The Yellow Jackets can finish no lower than 12th, and should they finish 12th, they would be the No. 11 seed and face Boston College at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
• Yummy - Georgia Tech is making its first visit to the KFC Yum! Center, completing its rounds of the venues of the most recent additions to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets were 3-8 against Louisville at Freedom Hall and 1-1 against the Cardinals at the Louisville Convention Center.
• Historical look - In Tech’s first 36 years in the ACC (this is the 37th), seventeen Yellow Jacket teams won seven or more ACC games in the regular season, 13 won eight or more, four won nine or more. Fourteen teams finished .500 or better in conference play.
• Toughening up - ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) has Tech No. 49 with an overall schedule strength of No. 4, the highest-ranked team listed as ‘out” of the NCAA Tournament. CBSSports.com ranks Tech’s overall strength of schedule at No. 30 (through games of Feb. 28). The Jackets’ non-conference schedule strength is rated No. 116.
• Experienced - According to KenPom.com, Tech has the ninth most experienced roster in the nation, with an average number of years experience at 2.37. Tech has five seniors (one a fifth-year), three juniors (one in his fourth year in the program) and four sophomores (one in his third year).
• Close calls - Tech’s 15 ACC games have been decided by an average of 5.6 points, only one by double digits (66-52 loss at Clemson). The Yellow Jackets have won their seven ACC games this season by an average of 4.3 points, and their nine losses have come by an average of 6.7 points.
• Warm February - With its win Saturday at Boston College, Tech completed its first winning month of February (5-3) since the 2006-07 season (5-2).
THE JACKETS BY NUMBERS
• During Tech’s four-game winning streak - Tech has made 50.5 percent of its field goal tries, 40.3 percent of its three-point tries and 76.3 percent of its free throw attempts. The Jackets also out-rebounded the three opponents by 6.0 per game. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith have scored 166 of Tech’s 300 points (55.3 percent) in the four games
• Less post-oriented - The Jackets’ four post players have combined for 88 points, or 29.3 percent, of Tech’s total scoring during the four-game winning streak. The foursome has accounted for 38 percent of the Jackets’ total output for the season.
• Still relentless on the boards - Tech is out-rebounding its opponents by 6.9 per game, which ranks 28th in the nation and No. 4 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 24 of 29 opponents this season with two ties. Tech is No. 4 in the ACC and 33rd nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.1).
• Turnovers down - Tech is averaging 10.8 turnovers this season (6th in the ACC, 27th NCAA), down 1.9 per game (12.7) from last season. Tech’s turnover rate and ranking are the same in ACC games only.
• Scoring up - Tech is averaging 74.5 points per game, more than 10 points per game higher than a year ago. The Yellow Jackets have scored 71.9 per ACC game, also more than 10 points per game better than last year’s average.
• From downtown - Tech’s 35.4-percent success rate from three-point range is up more than eight percent over last year. The Yellow Jackets have hit 34.8 percent against the ACC.
• Profiting from charity - Tech improved its season conversion rates from the charity stripe to 71.5 percent in all games, 72.0 percent in ACC games. No Tech team since 1972-73 finished the season with a better percentage from the line (73.1). The 2002-03 team with freshmen Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack was the last to shoot better against the ACC (73.5).
• Advantage Tech - Tech was outscored from the line in 10 of its first 12 ACC games this season (222-155), but during its current four-game winning streak that trend has reversed to the tune of 71-38 in the Jackets’ favor.
• Double up - Four Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits - Marcus Georges-Hunt (17.1 ppg), Adam Smith (14.4), Nick Jacobs (10.7) and Charles Mitchell (10.2). Tech has not finished a season with four or more players averaging in double figures since 2008-09.
• Tinkering - Head coach Brian Gregory has used seven different starting lineups this season. Marcus Georges-Hunt is the only Jacket to start every game. Tech has started Georges-Hunt, Adam Smith and Quinton Stephens on the perimeter, Nick Jacobs and Charles Mitchell in the post in each of the last four games and won them all.
• Tech’s starting perimeter trio of Marcus Georges-Hunt, Adam Smith and Quinton Stephens has scored in double digits each twice in the last four games, helping lift Tech to wins over Florida State and Clemson. They combined for 56 of Tech’s 75 points against Clemson, 66 of Tech’s 86 at Florida State, 50 of 76 against Boston College.
• Also in Tech’s four-game winning streak, Georges-Hunt has averaged 38.8 minutes, Smith 34.5 and Stephens 33.0. They have scored, respectively, 23.5, 18.0 and 8.5 points per game. Collectively they have hit 26-of-63 (41.3 pct.) from three-point range.
• Tech is 5-2 in Quinton Stephens’ six starts, including the last four games, and is 6-0 when he scores in double digits, including games against Virginia, Florida State and the second meeting against Clemson.
• Stephens has played consistently well in Tech’s last five games, including starts against Florida State, Notre Dame, Clemson, averaging 8.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in that stretch, hitting 15-of-34 shots from the floor and 8-of-24 from three-point range.
• Last six games for Marcus Georges-Hunt: 22.3 points per game, 4.2 assists per game, 41-for-66 (62.1 pct.) from the floor, 7-for-15 (46.7 pct.) on threes, 45-for-57 (78.9 pct.) from the free throw line
• In ACC games, Georges-Hunt is averaging 19.2 points per game (5th in the ACC) and Adam Smith 15.6 (11th).
• Georges-Hunt, with 1,623 career points, has surpassed 22 players on Tech’s all-time scoring list this season and enters this week five points shy of 12th-place Roger Kaiser (1,628 from 1958-61).
• Georges-Hunt ranks eighth in the ACC in free throw percentage (80.8) and third in free throw attempts per game (7.2). Only Cat Barber of NC State, Grayson Allen of Duke and Michael Young of Pittsburgh also rank in the top 10 in both categories. Georges-Hunt is attempting 7.6 per ACC game.
• Charles Mitchell has recorded 14 double-doubles this season. He is bidding to become the first Tech player to average in double digits in points and rebounds since Alvin Jones in 2000-01. Only Jones and Malcolm Mackey (1991-92 and 1992-93) have done so since Tech joined the ACC.
• Mitchell is fourth in the ACC in rebound average (9.8 per game), having led the conference for most of the season. He ranks No. 4 in offensive rebounds (3.72 per game). Mitchell ranks 29th in the nation in rebound average and 16th in offensive rebounds.
• Adam Smith leads the ACC in three-point field goals made (2.97 per game, 29th in NCAA) and ranks eighth in percentage (40.8). He has averaged 3.00 three-pointers in ACC games and has made 38.7 percent of his tries.
• In 29 games, Smith has made more three-pointers (86) than any Tech player since Tony Akins (98) in 2001-02.
GEORGES-HUNT LIFTING JACKETS ON HIS BACK
Marcus Georges-Hunt, who scored 46 points in two Yellow Jacket wins over Florida State and No. 19 Notre Dame, became the first member of Tech’s program to earn the honor since March 7, 2011 (Iman Shumpert).
The 6-5 guard from College Park, Ga., who has become Tech’s primary point guard, repeated the effort last week against Clemson and Boston College.
• Georges-Hunt scored 20 of his 27 in the second half, making all three of his three-point attempts (5-for-7 overall), and made 7-of-10 free throws as Tech held off a furious Seminole rally. He also had four assists and one turnover in 38 minutes.
• Against No. 19 Notre Dame, Georges-Hunt scored the game-winning basket with one second remaining in the Jackets’ 63-62 win. He went 7-for-17 from the floor and 4-for-7 from the free throw line, matched his career high of seven assists and had just one turnover in 40 minutes. He became the first Tech player to play the full 40 minutes in more than 17 years.
• Last week against Clemson, Georges-Hunt scored 25 points, including two free throws with three seconds remaining, as Tech came back from a second-half deficit of 13 points to win 75-73. He scored 12 of his points (4-5 FG, 4-5 FT) in the second half while holding Jaron Blossomgame to five points after the Tiger’s leading scorer went off for 17 in the first half.
• Georges-Hunt scored 23 more points Saturday, 15 of them in the first half as Tech built a 48-35 lead at intermission. In the second half, he stemmed two BC rallies, first with a drive to the basket for two free throws after the Eagles trimmed Tech’s lead to six, then with a blocked shot as BC’s Eli Carter drove to the basket with his team down four. Georges-Hunt was then fouled and made two free throws with 10.7 seconds left.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT GEORGES-HUNT
“He’s in control. He knows what shots to take, when to take them. He’s so efficient.” - Tech coach Brian Gregory after the Yellow Jackets’ win at Boston College in which Georges-Hunt went 7-for-7 from the floor and 8-for-10 from the line
“I love him because he’s gotten his brains beaten in for three years now; we lost a million close games. He’s stuck with it and now he’s having as good a senior year as anybody in our league right now.” - Gregory again after the Boston College game
“They’ve got a guy in Marcus Georges-Hunt who’s an all-league type guy. He’s a guy who’s stayed the course. He’s better with the ball. He’s a competitor. He carries himself in a way that you like and respect.” - Clemson coach Brad Brownell
“He is such a class act and has been such a great ambassador for Georgia Tech and for ACC basketball. He’s helped Brian lead them through some tough times.” - Notre Dame coach Mike Brey
ONE THOUSAND TIMES THREE, MAYBE FOUR
Georgia Tech now has three career 1,000-point scorers on its roster, and could soon have one more.
Charles Mitchell reached the career milestone against Notre Dame and now has 1,016 career points, 600 of them as a Yellow Jacket.
Nick Jacobs’ recent string of double-digit games (nine in the last 14) has him within reach as well, with 990 points entering this week’s action.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH LOUISVILLE
• Of the four most recent newcomers of the expanded ACC, Tech has the longest history with Louisville.
• Louisville has won the last three meetings in the series, including the first two an ACC member, 52-51, last Feb. 23 at McCamish Pavilion, and 75-71 Jan. 23 of this season also at McCamish.
• Tech went 3-6 against the Cardinals with Whack Hyder as its head coach, all of those games between 1958 and 1965.
• After a 12-year hiatus, Tech was 2-2 vs. Louisville when both teams were members of the Metro Conference in the late 1970s. Dwane Morrison was the Yellow Jackets’ head coach for all those games, and Denny Crum was on the Cardinals’ bench.
• After another long break, the teams met 13 times between 1988 and 1999, with Bobby Cremins and Crum on the opposing benches in all those games. The Yellow Jackets went 8-5 against the Cardinals during this time. Three of the meetings took place at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and six at Freedom Hall.
• The other four were played at the Georgia Dome, and Tech won three of those, including the first-ever college basketball game played in the facility, and before the largest crowd ever to witness a college game in the state of Georgia at the time (28,885). That game will be forever remembered in Tech lore after the James Forrest launched a half-court heave that dropped through the net at the buzzer for an 87-85 Yellow Jacket victory,
• The teams have met seven times when both were ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams, and Tech has won four of those meetings.
• Tech coach Brian Gregory is 2-2 as a head coach vs. Louisville, all four games vs. the Cardinals’ head coach Rick Pitino, including a 68-64 neutral court win during the 2006-07 season and a 70-65 win at Freedom Hall in 2007-08.
• Tech has faced Pitino three times as the Louisville head coach, the first in a 76-54 Cardinals win in the second round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. The Yellow Jackets were 1-4 against Kentucky teams coached by Pitino, including an 81-80 victory over the Wildcats at Philips Arena on Dec. 21. 1991.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have 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).