Previewing Georgia Tech

Mfon Udofia and Marcus Georges-Hunt lead Georgia Tech into ACC play. Here is a preview of the Yellow Jackets, tonight's opponent for the Wolfpack.

  • ROSTER
  • SCHEDULE
  • STATS

    PROJECTED STARTERS
    G #0 Mfon Udofia (SR, 6-2/195) 9.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg
    G #23 Brandon Reed (JR, 6-3/182) 5.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg
    F #3 Marcus Georges-Hunt (FR, 6-5/218) 11.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg
    F #4 Robert Carter (FR, 6-8/245) 9.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg
    C #5 Daniel Miller (JR, 6-11/257) 6.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg

    STAR WATCH
    Marcus Georges-Hunt -- Georges-Hunt has been one of the ACC's top freshmen, as the burly wing leads Georgia Tech in scoring (11.2).

    He is shooting 44.8% from the field, 31% from the line, and has scored in double-digits in nine of 13 games. NC State will likely start out with Scott Wood on Georges-Hunt defensively.


    Georgia Tech Notables

    Tech Visits NC State, First Road Trip Since November
    After playing seven straight home games, Georgia Tech leaves the city of Atlanta for the first time this week to visit 20th-ranked NC State in its first Atlantic Coast Conference road game Wednesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

    Tech (10-3, 0-1 ACC) opened its ACC schedule Saturday with a 62-49 loss to Miami, which closed out a successful homestand on a down note, snapping a six-game winning streak. The Yellow Jackets still have their best 13-game start since the 2009-10 season, and are heading to a place where they gave head coach Brian Gregory his first ACC victory (82-71) almost exactly one year ago.

    Tech's three losses have come against teams currently ranked sixth (Miami), 11th (Illinois), and 69th (California) in the CBS Sports RPI ranking. The Wolfpack are ranked No. 16 in that service.

    NC State (12-2, 1-0 ACC) heads into Wednesday's game having won eight straight games, including a 78-73 victory in its conference opener at Boston College Saturday. The Wolfpack are the second top-25 team the Yellow Jackets have faced this season.

    Wednesday's game marks the first of three trips to the North Carolina Triangle in the next four games.

    After a home game Saturday against Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets visit No. 1 Duke (Jan. 17) and North Carolina (Jan. 23).

    Opening Tip
    • Georgia Tech handed coach Brian Gregory his first ACC victory, and his first ACC road win, on Jan. 11 of last season against NC State at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack would go on to reach the NCAA Sweet 16.

    • A win for Tech against NC State would give the Yellow Jackets 11 wins for the season, matching last year's total.

    • Tech has played just one game this season on an opponent's home court, a 75-62 loss at undefeated and 22nd-ranked Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

    • These two teams scored a total of 153 points in PNC Arena last year, and the Yellow Jackets scored 82 points and shot 51 percent in one of their best offensive efforts of the season. In Atlanta in Philips Arena, the game was quite different. The teams combined for 113 points in a 61-52 Wolfpack victory, and Tech shot 32.2 percent from the floor.

    • Tech averaged 62.9 points and shot 44 percent from the floor in road games last year (compared to 59.9 points and 42.3 percent at home). The Jackets scored 62 points and shot 44.2 percent in its only true road game this season.

    • Tech has its best 13-game start since the 2009-10 season, in which the Yellow Jackets won seven in a row on their way to an 11-2 start. Tech won six straight before Saturday's loss to Miami, its first home loss of the season.

    • Tech is 8-1 at home in its first season in Mc-Camish Pavilion and has averaged 7,131 in attendance with two sellouts.

    • Tech has not played a game closer than seven points this year. All three of its losses have come by double digits.

    • Tech has held its last seven opponents to 52.9 points per game, 32.9 percent from the floor and 25.8 percent from three-point range.

    • Tech remains in the nation's top 10 in scoring defense (6th) and field goal percentage defense (8th), and ranked second and third in the ACC, respectively, in those categories.

    California's 44.2 percent is the best shooting percentage against Tech this year, and Illinois' 75 points is the high mark in scoring.

    • Tech was listed No. 50 in CBSSports.com's RPI ranking after its first six games with an overall strength of schedule ranked No. 60. The Yellow Jackets remain in the nation's top 75 in the Sagarin Index and KenPom.com, but No. 114 in the CBS RPI.

    • Tech's losses have come to teams with a combined record of 32-11 (as of Jan. 8).

    • Tech's most frequent starting lineup this season (12 of 13 games) has been Mfon Udofia and Brandon Reed at the guards, Marcus Georges- Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr., at the forwards and Daniel Miller at center. Jason Morris started in place of Georges-Hunt against California.

    • Tech's top two scorers currently are both freshmen - Marcus Georges-Hunt (11.2 ppg) and Robert Carter, Jr. (9.8 ppg).

    Series Notes vs. NC State
    • Tech and NC State split their regular-season series in 2011-12, each winning on the other's home court, the third time that has happened in the history of the series and the first time since the 1987-88 season.

    • Tech has won three of the last five games between the two teams, including an 82-71 win last Jan. 11 in Raleigh.

    • Fourteen of the last 16 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.

    • Tech is 22-15 against the Wolfpack in Atlanta, including one home-court meeting that was played at the Omni in 1986 and one at Philips Arena in 2012.

    • Since it joined the ACC, Tech is 29-39 against NC State, including regular-season and tournament.

    • The Jackets are 9-29 against NC State in Raleigh, including a 2-9 mark at PNC Arena.

    • Tech is 3-3 against NC State in ACC Tournament games, the last meeting occurring in 2003 in a 71-65 Wolfpack victory in Greensboro. The Jackets won first-round games in 1996 in Greensboro (88-73) and 1990 in Charlotte (76-67).

    Handling The Rock Better
    Georgia Tech has made significant progress in several areas during year two of the Brian Gregory Era, but none more stark than its ball handling and sharing.

    • Tech ranks fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in turnover margin (+1.6) and sixth in assist/ turnover ratio (1.2) after ranking last in those categories a year ago.

    • Only five ACC teams have turned the ball over fewer times on average than Tech has, and the Jackets rank 48th in the nation in fewest turnovers per game after ranking 243rd in that category a year ago.

    • Tech's 1.17 assist/turnover ratio is 64th nationally, an improvement of 236 positions over the 2011-12 team.

    • Tech has recorded more assists than turnovers in a game eight times this season, winning seven of those games.

    • Tech's average of 14.1 assists per game ranks sixth in the ACC and 101st in the nation, but compare that to last in the ACC and 298th in the NCAA a year ago.

    • As a percentage of its field goals made, Tech has assisted on 57.9 percent of them. Last year's team assisted on 48.5 percent.

    • Even in Tech's loss to Miami, Tech assisted on 13 of its 17 field goals and had just 12 turnovers.

    • Tech's three primary big men - Daniel Miller, Robert Carter, Jr., and Kammeon Holsey, have 60 assists (4.6 per game) and 40 turnovers (3.1 per game) between them. Only Holsey (18/20) is on the minus side.

    Arts and Letters
    Georgia Tech enjoyed a fine fall semester in the classroom, posting its highest grade-point average in a semester under head coach Brian Gregory, and the highest in several years.

    Five members of the team made the Dean's List, all freshmen, including Chris Bolden, Brooks Doyle, Marcus Georges-Hunt, walk-on Colin Gurry and Corey Heyward. Tech's freshmen earned a collective grade-point average of 3.2.

    Not only has Tech improved in the court since Gregory arrived, but has made big strides in the classroom as well. Beginning with Moe Miller and Lance Storrs in the summer after Gregory took the head coaching position at Tech, every senior in the program has graduated, including Derek Craig and Nick Foreman last spring.

    This year's senior class includes Mfon Udofia, who is on schedule to finish his Business Administration degree work in the summer, and Pierre Jordan, who will complete his Masters degree requirements in Building Construction in the spring.

    Tech's men's basketball scored a perfect 2010-11 team single year Academic Progress Report score of 1000 in the latest APR report last June, a first for the program.

    Buzz Bytes
    • Tech has made 58-of-161 attempts (36.0 pct.) from three-point range in its last eight games, 11-for-67 (16.4 pct.) in its first four games.

    • Six different players have led Tech in scoring this season, and eight different players have scored in double digits.

    • Only one Tech players is currently averaging in double digits for the season, Marcus Georges- Hunt at 11.2 ppg. However, eight Tech regulars are averaging 4.5 or more points per game.

    • No Tech player has scored as many as 20 points in a game this year. Brandon Reed and Robert Carter, Jr., have each scored 19 in a game.

    • No Tech player ranks among the ACC's top 25 in scoring, and no Tech player ranks higher than 13th in rebounding.

    • Eight Tech players have averaged 16 minutes per game or more for the season so far, 10 are averaging in double digits.

    • Tech has shot 50 percent or better from the floor three times this season, 56.1 percent against Tulane, a high for the Yellow Jackets under Brian Gregory, 52.9 percent against UNC Wilmington and 50 percent against Fordham. Tech just missed that mark against Alabama State (49.2 pct.).

    • Tech's three most prominent scholarship freshmen, Chris Bolden, Robert Carter, Jr., and Marcus Georges-Hunt, have combined for just 39 turnovers in 899 minutes (that's 23.1 minutes between turnovers).

    • Bolden, Carter, Jr., and Georges-Hunt have combined to score 38.9 percent of the Yellow Jackets' points.

    • Tech had won every time it has had more assists than turnovers this season until the Miami game and is 13-4 under Brian Gregory when that is the case.

    • With Daniel Miller jumping center, Tech has controlled the opening tip in 33 of 44 games since the beginning of the 2011-12 season, and 11 of 13 times this season.

    • Tech is 3-0 this season in games decided by fewer than 10 points (Saint Mary's, Georgia, UNC Wilmington). The Jackets were 3-10 in such games last year.

    • Tech defeated UNC Wilmington despite trailing at the 5-minute mark of the second half, snapping an 0-for-21 streak in such games under Brian Gregory.

    • Tech's 34-point margin of victory against Alabama State was its biggest in 40 games under Brian Gregory.

    The Sixth Man Award
    They don't give a Sixth Man Award in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but Georgia Tech's Kammeon Holsey would be a prime candidate.

    After starting all 31 games for Tech last season, the 6-8 1/2 forward gave way to freshman Robert Carter, Jr., at the beginning of this season and has come off the bench in every game. But the junior from Sparta, Ga., has been among the Yellow Jackets' top four in scoring average all season, currently at 9.5 points a game while playing just under 20 minutes a game.

    Holsey's role has been to give the Jackets a burst of energy in the frontcourt off the bench, and he did so from the very first game, scoring a season-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting in just 18 minutes in Tech's season-opening win over Tulane.

    He scored seven straight points during one key stretch.

    Since then, he has reached double digits six more times, leading Tech in scoring three times, and has converted on 59.0 percent of his shots from the floor.

    He has not played more than 25 minutes (that occurred at Illinois when he led Tech with 14 points and hit 5-of-6 shots from the floor), and has been Tech's first sub off the bench in every game.

    Point Taken
    An argument can be made that no player on the Georgia Tech team has benefitted more under head coach Brian Gregory's tutelage than Mfon Udofia. After all, it's a point guard learning from a point guard, and Udofia has dived in head first.

    The 6-2 senior was recruited out of Miller Grove High School as part of a class that included teammates Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey, and the since-departed Derrick Favors, Brian Oliver and Glen Rice, Jr. After scuffling through his first two seasons and moving in and out of Tech's starting lineup, Udofia's transformation from score-first to pass-first point guard has taken hold.

    Gregory relied on Udofia last year to the tune of 31.8 minutes a game. In the pre-conference schedule, Udofia averaged 10.2 points a game but his assist-turnover ratio was just 33/42 in 14 games. Once conference play began, he averaged 9.6 points and his assist/turnover ratio improved to 56/42 over 17 games.

    This year has brought even more improvement in his floor game and remarkable progress in shot selection so far.


    Georgia Tech athletics contributed to this report.

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