So what does a loss to Georgia and a win over Duke get you? About a zero-sum gain, according to the Associated Press voters. Georgia Tech stayed at No. 20 in the newly released Top 25 poll this afternoon.
The Yellow Jackets contributed to the commotion at the top of the rankings though. Duke fell from No. 5 to No. 8. Texas took over the No. 1 spot and Kentucky moved to No. 2, while Kansas fell all the way (ahem) to No. 3 after the loss to Tennessee.
North Carolina dropped to No. 12 after the College of Charleston loss. The Tar Heels await Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Tech has two key two road games coming up this week and a chance to build on the momentum they gained by beating Duke. To use an old Tobacco Road cliché, winning on the road in the ACC comes down to good guard play. And that adage seems to ring true with Tech these days anyway, but I think it applies well to these next two games.
If Mfon Udofia can take what he did against Duke and Florida State at home on the road at Virginia and North Carolina, that could go a long way for the Yellow Jackets in picking up some key road wins. Udofia went 3-for-6 from 3-point range against Duke, this after going only 1-for-16 in Tech’s previous four games.
Udofia had gone 4-for-8 from 3-point range on his way to 12 points against Florida State on Dec. 20.
Udofia scored 13 points against Duke while committing just one turnover in 34 minutes. That’s what Tech needs. Granted he had no assists in the game, but I’d say at this point, it’s more important that he doesn’t make mistakes and hits some big shots, and the rest will come as he continues to grow in this offense.
Lawal good bet for ACC player of the week
You’ve got to figure Gani Lawal will be chosen for that, especially after his 21 points and nine rebounds against Duke, but while we wait for the release we’ll talk about his free throw shooting.
Coach Paul Hewitt was asked on the ACC teleconference this morning if playing with Derrick Favors was helping free Lawal up this season. Hewitt pointed more toward Lawal’s improvement at the free throw line this year as a key difference. Here’s the case he made:
“This year Gani is making his free throws,” Hewitt said. “And this year people have to be a little more careful about how physical they are with him, whereas last year there was no holds barred. He’d literally get fouled almost every time down the court. And you can’t expect the referee to call it every time. Now people aren’t as quick to push him and bang him and try to push him off the block.”
Lawal has improved his free throw percentage from 55.6 percent last year to 70.6 percent this year. In the past three games he’s gone 29-for-37 (78.3 percent) at the line, including 17-for-20 against Charlotte.
Coach K redux
Georgia Tech was still on Mike Krzyzewski’s mind this morning on the ACC coaches teleconference and thought you guys might be curious what he had to say:
“I thought Paul’s team played with great intensity,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought we played very hard also but they had a real sense of purpose. Lawal has really turned it up. Coming into the year, I thought he was one of the best players in the league. After seeing him, I’m sure. He really gives them a presence. I thought their freshman guard Udofia played a great game. Hit three big 3s for them after not shooting real well a couple games before.”