WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Glad to report, I’m here and blogging with you tonight from the Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
About 1 a.m. last night I wasn’t feeling so great about making by noon flight up today, after I was woken up by a guy spinning out in the parking lot of my complex and watched him finally just stop and get out, leaving his car diagonally “parked” behind three other cars. But being the pragmatic, or wimpy, gal that I am, I called a cab this morning to get me to the airport and let him navigate the icy side streets, which he did beautifully.
Here’s hoping all you guys are safe and snug at home, ready to tune in and see which Yellow Jacket team shows up tonight. It seems to me that just when I think there’s no way they’re winning, they come up with something, so I won’t be ruling them out tonight at Wake Forest.
It won’t be easy, playing a Wake team that’s 11-1 at home this season, including 5-0 in ACC home games, and hungry to get back at Georgia Tech for its 79-58 romp on Jan. 28. And Tech is reeling from three bad games, losses at Duke and Miami, and the narrow escape over N.C. State.
The Yellow Jackets have got to turn the momentum in a hurry and in some tough circumstances. But they have a lot of good memories to draw on (from last game and winning four of the last five in the series) and they’ve had two full days here to get used to the environment. Tech flew in early yesterday morning (Friday) to beat the storm, and practiced here at Lawrence Joel, thanks to the generosity of Wake Forest.
The keys tonight are the same as they were in Atlanta on Jan. 28: keep point guard Ishmael Smith in front of them and Al-Farouq Aminu off the boards. The Yellow Jackets did a decent job of that in Atlanta, keeping Smith to 12 points – I believe 10 of them came in the second half after Tech had built up a healthy lead – and holding Aminu to eight rebounds. And yes that was limiting him. The Norcross High graduate leads the ACC with 11 rebounds per game and has hit double-digits in rebounds 15 times this season.
Smith is entering some rarified air at Wake Forest. He needs four points to hit 1,000 for his career and is 41 assists shy of 600. He would be the first Demon Deacon to hit both those numbers. The loveable Muggsy Bogues (1984-87) came up 14 points shy of that feat.
So hey, cozy up with some hot chocolate and your valentine (or hey, your computer) and chat with me. And flip over on commercials to the Olympics would you? And let me know what’s happening.
Oh, and they just wrote Tech’s starters on a board above my head in the press room. It lists Mfon Udofia in the starting lineup, instead of Brian Oliver. That tells me Paul Hewitt wants Udofia’s defense in there to help Iman Shumpert deal with Smith. That’s my hunch anyway.