@GTMBB Hosts Pittsburgh for Senior Day
Ninth meeting between the Jackets and Panthers tips at 2 p.m. Saturday at McCamish Pavilion
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech (17-13, 7-10 ACC), winner of five of its last seven games, looks to lock down a spot in Wednesday’s second round of the ACC Tournament Saturday when it hosts Pittsburgh (20-9, 9-8 ACC) in a 2 p.m. regionally televised game at McCamish Pavilion.
Tech had won four straight games against Florida State, No. 19 Notre Dame, Clemson and Boston College, by a total of 15 points, before dropping a 56-53 decision to No. 11 Louisville on the Cardinals’ senior night Tuesday. Tech is 4-4 at home in ACC games this season, 12-5 overall.
Pittsburgh is finishing its regular season with a pair of road games, having lost at Virginia Tech 65-61 Wednesday night on the heels of a solid 76-62 win over Duke in the Panthers’ senior day last Saturday. Pitt is 3-4 on the road in the ACC this season, 3-5 overall.
Saturday’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 81, XM 81).
• Senior Day - Five Georgia Tech seniors - Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, Adam Smith and James White - will play their final regular-season game at home Saturday. Those five seniors have accounted for 119 of a possible 150 starts this season, 62 percent of the minutes played and 76 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ scoring.
• Finishing strong - Georgia Tech has won five of seven games coming down the stretch of the ACC schedule, including four straight wins over Florida State, No. 19 Notre Dame, Clemson and Boston College, the longest ACC winning streak for the Yellow Jackets since the 2001-02 season.
• Winning - With one regular season game 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 tied with Florida State for 11th place in the ACC standings at 7-10. The Jackets need only to hold their position to avoid playing on Tuesday at the ACC Tournament, because they hold a tiebreaker over FSU, which hosts Syracuse at the same time the Jackets are playing Saturday. A Tech win over Pitt or a Seminole loss to the Orange would lock up the No. 10 seed and put the Yellow Jackets in a 7 p.m. game Wednesday against the seventh seed. If the Jackets lose and the Seminoles win, Tech would be the No. 11 seed and face Boston College at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
• 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. 46 with an overall schedule strength of No. 4, and the Yellow Jackets are projected as an at-large team in the NCAA Tournament. CBSSports.com ranks Tech’s overall strength of schedule at No. 29 (through games of March 2). The Jackets’ non-conference schedule strength is rated No. 117.
• 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 17 ACC games have been decided by an average of 5.4 points, only one of those by double digits (66-52 loss at Clemson on Feb. 13). The Yellow Jackets have won their seven ACC games this season by an average of 4.3 points, and their 10 losses have come by an average of 6.3 points.
TECH’S SENIORS BY NUMBERS
They didn’t accumulate all their career numbers on the Flats, but Georgia Tech’s five seniors account for some significant statistical numbers when taken in total.
Three of them have more than 1,000 career points, with Nick Jacobs four points shy of that milestone, and four of them have more than 500 career rebounds.
Player Games Starts Minutes Points Rebounds Georges-Hunt 124 123 3,810 1,632 556 Jacobs 123 51 2,541 996 518 Mitchell 132 62 2,626 1,033 921 Smith 108 88 3,179 1,453 288 White 107 62 2,102 846 517 Totals 593 386 14,258 5,960 2,800THE JACKETS BY NUMBERS
• In Tech’s last five games - Tech made 47.3 percent of its field goal tries, 35.6 percent of its three-point tries and 76.0 percent of its free throw attempts. The Jackets also out-rebounded the three opponents by 6.2 per game. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith have scored 187 of Tech’s 353 points (53 percent).
• Less post-oriented - The Jackets’ four post players have combined for 111 points, or 31.4 percent, of Tech’s total scoring during Tech’s last five games. The foursome has accounted for 38.1 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 26th in the nation and No. 4 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 25 of 30 opponents this season with two ties. Tech is No. 4 in the ACC and 25th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.2).
• Turnovers down - Tech is averaging 11.0 turnovers this season (6th in the ACC, 31st NCAA), down 1.7 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 73.8 points per game, nearly 10 points per game higher than a year ago. The Yellow Jackets have scored 70.8 per ACC game, also nearly 10 points per game better than last year’s average.
• From downtown - Tech’s 34.8-percent success rate from three-point range is up approximately eight percent over last year. The Yellow Jackets have hit 33.7 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 recentt four-game winning streak that trend reversed to the tune of 71-38 in the Jackets’ favor. Louisville had the edge at the line Tuesday night, 12-5.
• Double up - Four Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits - Marcus Georges-Hunt (16.8 ppg), Adam Smith (14.4), Nick Jacobs (10.5) and Charles Mitchell (10.4). 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 five games and won four of the five.
• Tech’s starting perimeter trio of Marcus Georges-Hunt, Adam Smith and Quinton Stephens combined for 56 of Tech’s 75 points against Clemson, 66 of Tech’s 86 at Florida State, 50 of 76 against Boston College. They scored 28 of Tech’s 53 at Louisville.
• Also in Tech’s last five games, Georges-Hunt has averaged 37.4 minutes, Smith 35.2 and Stephens 33.6. They have scored, respectively, 20.6, 16.8 and 82 points per game. Collectively they have hit 30-of-83 (36.1 pct.) from three-point range, which includes a 4-for-20 effort against a stout Louisville defense.
• Tech is 5-3 in Quinton Stephens’ six starts, and is 6-0 when he scores in double digits, including games against Virginia, Florida State, the second meeting against Clemson.
• Stephens has played consistently well in Tech’s last six games, including starts in the last five, Stephens has averaged 8.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in his last six games, hitting 18 of 43 shots from the floor, 9 of 29 from three-point range.
• Last seven games for Marcus Georges-Hunt: 20.4 points per game, 4.2 assists per game, 44-for-80 (55.0 pct.) from the floor, 8-for-20 (40 pct.) on threes, 47-for-59 (79.7 pct.) from the free throw line.
• In ACC games, Georges-Hunt is averaging 18.6 points per game (5th in the ACC) and Adam Smith 15.4 (13th).
• Georges-Hunt, with 1,632 career points, has surpassed 23 players on Tech’s all-time scoring list this season and enters this weekend 26 points shy of 11th-place Tony Akins (1,658 from 1998-2002).
• Georges-Hunt ranks eighth in the ACC in free throw percentage (81.0) and third in free throw attempts per game (7.0). 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 7.3 per ACC game.
• Charles Mitchell has recorded 15 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 (9.9 per game), having led the conference for most of the season. He ranks No. 4 in offensive rebounds (3.87 per game). Mitchell ranks 25th in the nation in rebound average and 13th in offensive rebounds.
• Adam Smith leads the ACC in three-point field goals made (2.93 per game, 29th in NCAA) and ranks ninth in percentage (39.8). He has averaged 3.00 three-pointers in ACC games and has made 38.7 percent of his tries.
• In 30 games, Smith has made more three-pointers (career-high 88) than any Tech player since Tony Akins (98) in 2001-02.
ONE THOUSAND TIMES THREE, MAYBE FOUR
Georgia Tech 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 1,033 career points, 615 of them as a Yellow Jacket.
Nick Jacobs’ recent string of double-digit games (nine in the last 16) has him within reach as well, with 996 points entering this weekend’s action.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH PITTSBURGH
Georgia Tech won the first five games in the series before the Panthers became members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Pitt earned its first win over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta on Jan. 14, 2014, with an 81-74 victory, and has made it three in a row with two subsequent wins at the Petersen Events Center, including an 89-84 win earlier this season on Jan. 6.
•The two most entertaining games between Tech and the former Big East member played in the same month of the 1989-90 season, when the Yellow Jackets were on the way to their second ACC title and first Final Four appearance. Bobby Cremins and Paul Evans were the respective head coaches at the time.
•Tech overcame an early 26-5 deficit to win the ACC/Big East Challenge game in Hartford in early December, getting 42 points from Dennis Scott, including the game-winner with 8 seconds left. Later in the month, the Panthers came to Atlanta for a Kuppenheimer Classic game at the Omni, and Tech won the game without head coach Bobby Cremins, who was attending his father’s funeral. Kenny Anderson recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists.
•Tech scored easy wins over Pitt in the first three games of the series, all under head coach Whack Hyder, two of which were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the Tech campus.
•Tech coach Brian Gregory is 1-4 all-time vs. Pittsburgh, facing the Panthers twice while he was the head coach at Dayton, including an 80-55 win over the No. 6 Pitt on Dec. 29, 2007 in Dayton.
TECH PLAYERS VS. PITTSBURGH
Two of Georgia Tech’s best individual performances of the year came in the Yellow Jackets’ first meeting against Pittsburgh on Jan. 6. Adam Smith scored 30 points, most by a Tech player since 2010-11, and knocked down 8-of-13 three-point attempts, while Charles Mitchell scored 20 points with 17 rebounds, his best performance in an ACC game this season.
Smith also scored 26 points, hitting 6-of-11 from behind the arc, in Virginia Tech’s only meeting against Pitt last season. He nailed a game-tying three to send the game into overtime, then sealed the overtime with with another three.
Mitchell had 10 points and nine boards against the Panthers in Tech’s only meeting last season, and scored nine points with three rebounds in two meetings against Pitt while at Maryland.
Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 14 points and had six assists in the teams’ first meeting this season. He has reached double digits in points in each of his three career games against the Panthers, averaging 13.3 points.
Nick Jacobs scored eight points with six rebounds in the teams’ first meeting this season.
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).