Jackets start ACC play vs. Miami

Georgia Tech freshmen Robert Carter, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden have played a combined 827 minutes of college basketball. That being the case, Tech coach Brian Gregory said, guard Mfon Udofia informed them Thursday that they were no longer freshmen.

“You’ve played enough minutes, now you know what this is about,” Gregory said, quoting Udofia. “And it’s only going to get tougher.”

The last part is dead-on. Despite their 12 games at the college level, the celebrated freshmen will play their first minutes of ACC league play Saturday, when Tech opens the conference schedule at home against Miami.

Said Gregory, “The only way to learn is to go through it. There’s no question that experience is the best teacher.”

The Yellow Jackets will need to be braced for a stern test. Miami is 9-3 after playing one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country, highlighted by a win over Michigan State. Tech is 10-2 and has won six in a row, but has compiled its record largely against considerably inferior teams.

With the ACC expanding the conference schedule to 18 games, Tech took on a lighter load in nonconference play. The Jackets played four games against BCS conference teams last year but three this season. As of Friday, Tech’s strength of schedule, according to realtimerpi.com, was ranked 293rd, third lowest in the ACC.

Another game or two against BCS conference teams “would have probably given us a better evaluation of where we’re at, and so now you’re going to have to get that done in the first couple weeks of league play,” Gregory said.

Gregory likes the work that the team has put in, the freshmen included. The culture of focus and all-out play that he has attempted to create has begun to be modeled by older players like Udofia and center Daniel Miller. Gregory believes the freshmen are ready to hold their own in ACC play. While they haven’t played in an ACC game yet, they’ve put in hard hours on the practice court to prepare them for challenges like the one that awaits them Saturday.

“You can’t avoid them, and in this league, adversity, challenges, tough times are going to hit,” he said. “You put in all that work and you attack things with a positive attitude and a selfless attitude so you can respond to them in the right way.”

That said, while the Jackets have won six in a row for the first time since the 2009-10 season, they have occasionally lost focus. They were down for most of the first half against Chattanooga on Wednesday before winning 74-58 and trailed by five points with just over five minutes to play against UNC Wilmington Dec. 8 before rallying to win.

“We can’t have those games where we start off sluggish” and fall behind, Udofia said. “Because in those games (against ACC teams), we won’t be able to come back, because everybody’s good.”

Tech received a break in that the Hurricanes will be without center Reggie Johnson, who broke his thumb in practice in December. The Hurricanes still have dangerous players in forward Kenny Kadji, a third-team All-ACC player last season, and guard Durand Scott, who is averaging 15.9 points per game.

“Defensively, you need to make sure you’re focused every possession, because they’re explosive,” Gregory said.

Miami will be Tech’s first ACC opponent in McCamish. Coincidentally, the Hurricanes were also the Jackets’ last opponent in Alexander Memorial Coliseum in the 2010-11 season.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

26 comments Add your comment

BigTimeTECHFan

January 4th, 2013
6:06 pm

Gotta get this win at home

Dan the Man

January 4th, 2013
6:08 pm

Let’s get the FT shooting % up plz Jackets!

fuzzybee78

January 4th, 2013
7:02 pm

Its time for the big boy pants!

Fans, lets fill up the MAC and help these guys out!!!

5150 UOAD

January 4th, 2013
7:45 pm

Are they going to hang the Jerseys and Championship Banners in the rafters at some point during the MIAMI game?

5150 UOAD

January 4th, 2013
7:46 pm

Sorry it isn’t the MAC….it is a Brest Job on the AMC…………………….

OH Yeah BABY!

January 4th, 2013
8:16 pm

GO JACKETS!!!

Paul in NH

January 4th, 2013
10:26 pm

Ken – I undersand the comments about GT not playing many strong teams so far, but there are plenty of good b’ball teams outside the BCS conferences. The top teams in the A10 can play with practically anyone and St. Marys (WCC) is the 2nd best team GT has played (after Illinois)

wreckbone

January 5th, 2013
7:25 am

defense…….defense……crash the boards, limit turnovers. the number of assists is up from what I thought it would be. Hopefully in a month Solomon will be in the rotation. Stacey finish those drives. I like all the signs I see with the team. Hope its enough to compete in the ACC. I think it is, we will see. Go Jackets!! Over .500 from here would be a really good season; Lets get it done Yellow Jackets!!

Big Ol Stinger

January 5th, 2013
7:56 am

I’ll be there and Paul Hewitt won’t! It’s a beautiful day!

Go Jackets!

Bored in Newnan

January 5th, 2013
8:12 am

I’ll be there as well….and I’m not letting Paul Hewitt hitch a ride either.

ToeMeetsLeather

January 5th, 2013
8:33 am

Hit a couple of threes early to keep the Miami defense honest and TECH’s defense and rebounding will win this game. We need this W bad today!

GT fan

January 5th, 2013
10:34 am

Better go early..I couldn’t get a parking place last week. Go Jackets kick a@@!

Stephen CC

January 5th, 2013
11:36 am

No matter what happens in any game with any opponent, never let up and continue fighting with the great effort we are so proud to see in the CBG era. Hustle, block out, rebound, and hustle some more – good things are bound to happen! Go Jackets!!!

UGA = Yawn

January 5th, 2013
12:01 pm

I wish I could be there but Ohio a far way away. I will be there for Jan 26 vs Wake and am excited. I’m a big fan of Gregory’s. I’m as big a fan of his as I wasn’t of Hewitt. Aargh! Don’t panic Jackets – play within yourselves and you will win!!! THWM!!!

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

January 5th, 2013
12:13 pm

Game time? Any TV coverage?

Tech1986

January 5th, 2013
12:38 pm

Game time is 2:30 and it is on Channel 36 locally

Tech93

January 5th, 2013
4:00 pm

Start of ACC schedule. It is going to be long season with no offense. Seems like the guys have no prescence or confidence down low on the offensive end. No midrange game and way too many turnovers.

Iluvnutella

January 5th, 2013
4:07 pm

No wonder the Dayton fans laffed their arses off when we hired this loser…..I SMELL Al Groh all over this midget. guess the new AD has another mess to clean up after he finishes with fish-fry.

Johnny GT

January 5th, 2013
4:13 pm

That got ugly quick. That non-conference play got me excited about this season and the future but this is flat out pathetic. Last season’s team showed up more than this. If this team is going to rely on outside play to keep it in games then they are going to have a VERY long season ahead of them.

Might be cancelling my trip to Cameron now.

GTfan

January 5th, 2013
4:13 pm

Well our kids need to grow up…they will but Miami’s experience is showing. Its to much for GT this early. We will get better..bet on it.

Ken how about alittle love for the Lady Jackets Basketball Team…
Keep up the good job.

GTfan

January 5th, 2013
4:15 pm

Plus Miami shooting the lights out..

GTfan

January 5th, 2013
4:19 pm

@ 4:07…..have you ever said anything good about GT?

UGA = Yawn

January 5th, 2013
4:27 pm

OMG! Really!? You can’t be serious. WTF was that?????

White&Gold

January 5th, 2013
4:34 pm

You guys do realize we only have one senior, right? Relax! Anyone here thinking we were gonna just dominate ACC play like we did with our non-conference games needs to wake up. We’re young.

5150 UOAD

January 5th, 2013
4:36 pm

Man that was an UGLY game. Tiko Brown’s son couldn’t miss. I wish we had him.

TechApp fan

January 5th, 2013
4:42 pm

zone zone zone…will be the menu until Tech can /get the ball inside, /hit from outide,/ unknown?
With a tight zone, almost no possibility of a rebound. I know, I know, everyone can see this…
I’d like to see more Poole…action man.