Game Preview: Georgia Tech vs. No. 21/18 UCLA

Head coach Josh Pastner and center Ben Lammers chat with UCLA legend Bill Walton before Wednesday's press conference.
Nov. 10, 2017

Shanghai, China - Georgia Tech opens its 2017-18 season halfway around the world Friday night when the Yellow Jackets take on No. 21/18 UCLA as part of the fourth annual Pac-12 China Game at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Follow the Jackets the entire week in China

The Yellow Jackets enter their second season under head coach Josh Pastner, the 2017 ACC Coach of the year, after going 21-16 overall, finishing 8-10 (11th) in the ACC and reaching the championship game of the NIT last season. Tech has played two exhibition games in preparation for its season opener, a 65-58 loss to crosstown foe Georgia State on Oct. 28 in a game organized to aid hurricane relief efforts, and a 78-60 win over NAIA member Faulkner on Nov. 2.

UCLA, entering its fifth season under head coach Steve Alford, went 31-5 overall last season and 15-3 in the Pac-12, reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in his four seasons in Westwood. The Bruins won their only exhibition game before departing for China, 111-80 over Cal State-Los Angeles.

The Tech-UCLA game will be played at 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, local time in Shanghai, which is 11:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the Eastern time zone of the United States. The game will be televised live on ESPN to a national audience. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM).

THE STARTING LINEUP

• Beginning with UCLA, ranked No. 21 in the preseason Associated Press poll and No. 18 by the coaches, Georgia Tech faces a schedule that includes eight games against teams ranked in the top 25 of the preseason polls. That includes Northwestern (19/20) in the non-conference slate, as well as Duke (1/1), defending national champion North Carolina (9/9), Miami (13/12), Notre Dame (14/14) and Louisville (16/16). Of that group, the Jackets face only Notre Dame twice.

• Georgia Tech has not played a team ranked in the AP or coaches preseason top 25 to open the season since Nov. 26, 1993, when the Yellow Jackets dropped an 80-70 decision to No. 5 Michigan in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic in Springfield, Mich.

• Tech also has not lost a season opener since the 2007-08 season, an 83-74 loss at home to UNC Greensboro.

• Sports Illustrated rates Georgia Tech’s defense No. 6 in its pre-season projection of the top 50 defenses in Division I.

Ben Lammers (first team) and Josh Okogie (second team) were named to the preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference team by the media at the conference’s annual Operation Basketball media day.

• Lammers is one of 20 Division I players named to the preseason watch list for the Kareen Abdul Jabbar Award, given annually to the nation’s top center.

• Lammers also is on the list of 40 Division I players on the preseason watch list for the Lute Olson National Player of the Year Award.

• Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook has projected Georgia Tech to finish ninth in the 15-team ACC, and tabbed Ben Lammers to its All-ACC team.

• In Tech’s exhibition loss to Georgia State, three of the Yellow Jackets’ four freshman started, and the foursome combined to play 102 of the available 200 minutes.

SERIES VS. UCLA

• Georgia Tech and UCLA are meeting for the fifth time in a series that dates back to 1966. The last meeting took place in the finals of the 2006 Maui Invitational, in which the Bruins captured an 88-73 victory.

• Tech’s only win in the series occurred in the Wooden Classic at Arrowhead Pond in Anahaim, Calif., on Dec. 2, 2000, a 72-67 Yellow Jacket triumph.

• The other two meetings in the series came against John Wooden-coached Bruin teams in 1966 and 1969, both in the Bruin Classic at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.

• Tech is facing UCLA head coach Steve Alford for the third time. The two previous meetings took place while Alford was the head coach at Iowa. The Yellow Jackets lost to Iowa, 85-67, in the 2000 ACC-Big Ten Challenge, and defeated the Hawkeyes. 79-78, in the 2003 postseason NIT. Both games took place at Des Moines.

GEORGIA TECH OVERSEAS

• Georgia Tech’s game against UCLA will mark the second time in which the Yellow Jackets have played a regular-season game in a foreign country, and the fourth time in which the Jackets have visited a foreign land overall.

• The Yellow Jackets knocked off Boston College (65-62) and SMU (63-54) in an event called the Suntory Ball on Dec. 20-21, 1986.

• The Yellow Jackets also played a single game against Richmond (a 67-54 victory) in The Bahamas in the 2010 Battle4Atlantis, part of a doubleheader which was the forerunner of the full eight-team Battle of Atlantis which exists today.

• Tech played four exhibition games in Cuba to start the 1925-26 season, splitting a pair of games each against the University of Havana and the Havana Yacht Club.

• Tech also visited France prior in August/September of 1991, a two-week summer trip in which the Yellow Jackets played a series of games against French professional teams.

• Tech has played in three early regular-season tournaments in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico (1997, 2010) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (2007).

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its second year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has 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) and Instagram.

For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com. Tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.