@GTMBB Opens ACC Tournament Against Clemson
130th meeting between the Jackets and Tigers tips at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. - Georgia Tech (18-13, 8-10 ACC), who earned the 10th seed in the ACC Tournament after defeating Pittsburgh in its regular-season finale Saturday, opens its 37th appearance in the conference tourney against Clemson (17-13, 10-8 ACC), the seventh-seed, at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Tech enters the ACC Tournament with six wins in its last eight games, including a 63-59 win over the Panthers and a four-game winning streak against Florida State, Notre Dame, Clemson and Boston College. The Yellow Jackets’ last six games (five wins) have been decided by a total of 21 points.
Clemson finished the regular season with a 66-50 win at Boston College. The win snapped a three-game losing streak in which the Tigers lost to NC State, Georgia Tech and Virginia by a total of 12 points.
The teams, which are permanent home-and-away partners in the conference, split their regular season meetings, with the Tigers winning 66-52 on Feb. 13 in Greenville and the Yellow Jackets responding with a 75-73 win 10 days later in Atlanta.
Wednesday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta) and nationally on ESPN2. 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).
• Bye, bye - Georgia Tech has avoided playing the opening round of the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2010, when the Yellow Jackets won three straight and reached the finals, where they lost to Duke, 65-61.
• D.C. revisited - In the ACC Tournament’s last visit to the Verizon Center in 2005, Georgia Tech defeated Virginia Tech and top-seeded North Carolina to reach the finals, where they also lost to Duke, the third seed, 69-64.
• Georgia Tech has won three of four ACC Tournament meetings with Clemson, including a 69-61 semi-final decision on the way to the 1993 conference title in Charlotte. The Tigers won the last meeting, however, a 69-65 decision in overtime in the second round of the 2014 tournament in Greensboro.
• Senior citizens - Five Georgia Tech seniors - Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, Adam Smith and James White - have accounted for 123 of a possible 155 starts this season, 62 percent of the minutes played and 76 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ scoring.
• 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).
• Finishing strong - Georgia Tech has won six of eight games coming down the stretch of the ACC schedule, including four straight wins over Florida State, No. 19 Notre Dame, Clemson and Boston College. It is the Yellow Jackets’ best finish since they won seven of nine to close out the 2001-02 regular season.
• Winning - Georgia Tech has achieved its highest win total, both overall and in the ACC, under Brian Gregory, and has its most wins overall since 2009-10 (23-13) and most in the ACC since 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).
• Next up - A win over Clemson Wednesday would advance the Yellow Jackets into a 7 p.m. matchup Thursday against No. 2 seed Virginia. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Cavaliers, 68-64, in Atlanta on Jan. 9.
• Historical look - In Tech’s first 36 years in the ACC (this is the 37th), fourteen Yellow Jacket teams have won eight or more ACC games in the regular season. Only four have won nine or more. Fourteen teams finished .500 or better in conference play.
• Toughening up - ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) has Tech No. 45 with an overall schedule strength of No. 4, and the Yellow Jackets are projected as an at-large team and a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament. CBSSports.com ranks Tech’s overall strength of schedule at No. 28 (through games of March 5). The Jackets’ non-conference schedule strength is rated No. 119.
• Close calls - Tech’s 18 ACC games have been decided by an average of 5.3 points, only one of those by double digits (66-52 loss at Clemson on Feb. 13). The Yellow Jackets have won their eight 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 closing six games, which included five wins, were decided by a total of 21 points.
• Even it up - Tech lost its first meeting with each of its four home-and-away opponents this season but came back to win the second meeting with three of them, including Clemson. Only Louisville got by the Yellow Jackets in both games, winning by four in Atlanta and by three in Louisville.
• Tough at home - Tech finished the regular season 13-5 at home, percentage-wise its best home record, and its most home wins, in five seasons under Brian Gregory. The Jackets have not had a better home record since going 14-2 in 2009-10.
• All-Conference - Marcus Georges-Hunt was named second-team All-ACC by the league’s coaches and third-team All-ACC by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. He is the second all-conference honoree for Tech under Brian Gregory (Daniel Miller third-team in 2014).
TECH’S ACC TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Georgia Tech has played in 36 ACC Tournaments, and has a 25-33 all-time record in the event. The Yellow Jackets have won three championships, in 1985 (Atlanta), 1990 (Charlotte) and 1993 (Charlotte).
Tech has been a runner-up four times (1986, 1996, 2005, 2010). The 1986, 1996 and 2010 runs to the finals occurred in Greensboro. Tech also made the finals in 2005 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
THE JACKETS BY NUMBERS
• In Tech’s last six games - Tech made 45.9 percent of its field goal tries, 35.3 percent of its three-point tries and 75.6 percent of its free throw attempts. The Jackets also out-rebounded the six opponents by 6.5 per game. Marcus Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith have scored 220 of Tech’s 416 points (53 percent).
• Less post-oriented - The Jackets’ four post players have combined for 139 points, or 33.4 percent, of Tech’s total scoring during Tech’s last six 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 27th in the nation and No. 3 in the ACC. Tech has out-rebounded 26 of 31 opponents this season with two ties. Tech is No. 3 in the ACC and 23rd nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.2).
• Turnovers down - Tech is averaging 11.0 turnovers this season (6th in the ACC, 32nd 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 73.5 points per game, nearly 10 points per game higher than a year ago. The Yellow Jackets have scored 70.4 per ACC game, also nearly 10 points per game better than last year’s average.
• From downtown - Tech’s 34.7-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 71.6 percent in all games, 72.1 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 last six games that trend reversed to the tune of 90-61 in the Jackets’ favor.
• Double up - Four Georgia Tech players are averaging in double digits - Marcus Georges-Hunt (16.6 ppg), Adam Smith (14.6), Nick Jacobs (10.8) and Charles Mitchell (10.3). 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.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH CLEMSON
• This is the oldest and longest-running series the Yellow Jackets have with an ACC member. The 129 all-time meetings are far-and-away more than Tech has played with any other ACC opponent. The series dates back to the 1912-13 season, when John Heisman coached the Tech basketball team.
• Clemson is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents on Tech’s schedule each year (Notre Dame is the other).
• Clemson has won 19 of the last 23 meetings in the series, and had won 10 straight games in the series until Tech captured a 63-52 win on Feb. 16, 2015 at McCamish Pavilion.
• The teams have split their regular season series each of the last two seasons. This season, Clemson took a 66-52 win in Greenville, S.C., and Tech responded with a 75-73 victory at home.
• The Yellow Jackets trail 45-33 to the Tigers since joining the ACC.
• Clemson head coach Brad Brownell is 11-2 vs. Tech, while Brian Gregory is 2-9 vs. Clemson. In the first 12 meetings with the Tigers and Brownell, before the most recent 75-73 game, the Yellow Jackets averaged under 56 points per game, never scoring more than 65 in any one game.
TECH PLAYERS VS. CLEMSON
Georges-Hunt has averaged 13.2 points per game in nine career meetings against Clemson. He scored 10 points in the Yellow Jackets’ loss on Feb. 13 in Greenville, then scored 25 with the game-winning free throws for Tech at home on Feb. 23.
Charles Mitchell had a double-double with 11 points and 19 rebounds in Tech’s loss at Greenville, and had four points with five boards on the Feb. 23 win. He has averaged 6.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in four meetings while at Tech.