@GTMBB Visits San Diego State in NIT Quarterfinal
First meeting between the Jackets and Aztecs tips at 9 p.m. Wednesday in San Diego
San Diego, Calif. - Georgia Tech (21-14), seeded fourth in the National Invitation Tournament, travels to No. 2 seed San Diego State (27-9) for a quarterfinal game, which tips off at 9 p.m. Wednesday night at Viejas Arena in San Diego, Calif. This is the 24th post-season appearance in Georgia Tech’s basketball history, and the eighth appearance for the Yellow Jackets in the NIT.
The Yellow Jackets have compiled a 21-14 overall record this season, the most wins by a Tech team since the 2009-10 season, and went 8-10 in the ACC, only the 15th team to win as many conference games in the program’s 37-year history in the league. Only two Tech teams have won more games overall since 1996.
The Jackets go to San Diego having won eight of their last 10 games, including an 81-62 victory over Houston opening round of the NIT and an 83-66 win on the road over No. 1 seed South Carolina in the second round. Over its last six regular season games, Tech defeated Florida State, No. 19 Notre Dame, Clemson, Boston College and Pittsburgh, and lost only to No. 11 Louisville (on the road by three). The Jackets then defeated Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament before falling to fourth-ranked Virginia.
San Diego State has won 27 games, going 16-2 to finish first in the Mountain West Conference regular season after compiling a 9-7 mark in the non-conference slate. The Aztecs reached the championship game of the Mountain West Tournament before dropping a 68-63 decision to Fresno State. They defeated IPFW, 79-55, and Washington, 93-78, to reach the NIT quarterfinals.
Wednesday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and will be streamed live on the WatchESPN app. 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).
• Free basketball - Georgia Tech is playing in the post-season for the first time since 2010, when the Yellow Jackets last played in the NCAA Tournament. Tech is in the NIT for the first time since 2003, and has advanced to the quarterfinals for the fourth time.
• Twenty-something - Tech’s win over Houston in the first round of the NIT gave the Yellow Jackets their first 20-win season since 2009-10, and their fourth in the last 20 years. Tech has won 20 games in a season 15 times in its history. Only two Tech teams have won more games since 1996 - the 2004 Final Four team (28) and the 2010 NCAA second-round team (23).
• Next up - The winner of Wednesday’s game will face either George Washington or Florida in the NIT semifinals on March 29 at Madison Square Garden. Tech has fallen one win short of reaching New York in its last two appearances in the NIT (1998, 2003), and has played at Madison Square Garden only once in the post-season NIT, in 1971 when the entire tournament was contested there.
• Common opponents - Tech and San Diego State have no common opponents in 2015-16. The Yellow Jackets have not played a Mountain West Conference team since losing to UNLV in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
• On the road - Tech is 5-7 in road games this season, winning at Tulane, NC State, Florida State, Boston College and South Carolina. The Jackets last won five road games in the 2013-14 season, and last won six road games in the 2007-08 season.
• Stellar seven - Tech played seven of the teams that have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, the six ACC teams plus Villanova, and went 2-7 against them.
• Senior citizens - Five Georgia Tech seniors - Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, Adam Smith and James White - have accounted for 135 of a possible 170 starts this season, 62.2 percent of the minutes played and 76.2 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 won five of its last six regular-season games (the lone loss by three points at No. 11 Louisville). It was 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).
• Historical look - In Tech’s 37 years in the ACC, 15 Yellow Jacket teams have won eight or more ACC games in the regular season. Only four have won nine or more.
• No cigar - ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) has Tech No. 48 with an overall schedule strength ranking of No. 3. The Yellow Jackets were the highest-rated team to not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
• Close calls - Tech’s 18 regular-season ACC games were decided by an average of 5.2 points, only one of those by double digits (66-52 loss at Clemson on Feb. 13). The Yellow Jackets won their eight ACC games this season by an average of 4.3 points, and their 10 losses came by an average of 6.3 points. Tech’s last seven games before the ACC Tournament quarterfinal loss to Virginia, which included six wins, were decided by a total of 24 points.
• Close calls II - Tech lost by double digits only three times all year, two of those to top-2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament - Villanova (69-52) back in November and No. 4 Virginia (72-52) in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. Until defeating Houston Wednesday night, Tech had not won a game by more than seven points since Dec. 23.
• Tough at home - Tech finished the season 14-5 at home, percentage-wise its best home record, and its most home wins, in five seasons under Brian Gregory. The Jackets, who closed out the home schedule with five straight wins, 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 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).
• Old school - All five of the schools that Tech’s four transfers attended previously (Adam Smith attended two schools before Tech) are in the postseason. Maryland (Charles Mitchell), UNC-Wilmington (Adam Smith) and Arkansas-Little Rock (James White) are in the NCAA tournament. Alabama (Nick Jacobs) and Virginia Tech (Smith) are in the NIT.
TECH’S NIT HISTORY
Georgia Tech has a 10-7 record all-time in eight appearances in the National Invitation Tournament, reaching the finals once (1971) and the quarterfinals three other times. The Yellow Jackets are 1-4 in post-season NIT games on the road.
• Tech’s last appearance in the NIT before this season occurred in 2003, when current NBA stars Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack were freshmen on a team that also included B.J. Elder, Tech’s 12th all-time leading scorer and Marvin Lewis, No. 21 on the all-time scoring list. That team defeated Ohio State at home and Iowa on the road before falling a game short of going to New York in an 80-72 loss to a Bob Knight-coached Texas Tech team.
• Tech also made the quarterfinals in 1998 with a team led by No. 2 all-time leading scorer Matt Harpring, defeating Seton Hall and Georgetown before losing to Penn State, 75-70. All three games were played at home.
• Tech reached the finals in 1971 behind its all-time leading scorer, Rich Yunkus, defeating LaSalle, Michigan and St. Bonaventure before losing to North Carolina in the championship game. The entire tournament was played at Madison Square Garden in those days.
INSIDE THE SERIES WITH SAN DIEGO STATE
Georgia Tech and San Diego State are meeting for the first time ever on the hardwood.
• The Yellow Jackets, however, have played on the home floor of the Aztecs, facing Saint Joseph’s in the opening round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament at what was then known as Cox Arena. The Hawks eliminated the Yellow Jackets, 66-62.
• Tech coach Brian Gregory’s Dayton team defeated San Diego State, 76-71, in the semifinals of the 2003 Maui Invitational en route to the title of that event.
• This is the third meeting for Tech against a Steve Fisher-coached team, having split a pair of meetings against Michigan back in the 1990s. The Jackets lost to the Wolverines, 80-70, in the 1993 Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic in Springfield, Mass., and earned a 77-61 win in the third-place game of the 1995 Pre-Season NIT in Madison Square Garden.
START ME UP
Marcus Georges-Hunt will start his 129th career game at San Diego State, the most career starts ever at Georgia Tech (Malcolm Mackey held the former mark of 127 from 1990-93). He also will play his 130th career game against the Aztecs to match the most in program history, a mark currently shared by Mackey, Marvin Lewis (2000-04) and Anthony McHenry (2001-05).
What makes that number impressive is that Georges-Hunt will be playing in only the eighth post-season game of his career (three NIT and five ACC Tournament games). Mackey played in four NCAA Tournaments and won two ACC Tournament titles (20 games combined). Lewis played in 13 combined ACC and NCAA Tournament games, and McHenry played in 15.
Georges-Hunt ranks 10th all-time at Tech in minutes played with 3,979.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in 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).