So are the Georgia and Georgia Tech basketball programs truly headed in opposite directions? There is evidence to suggest that but we’ll get a greater sense of it tonight.
The Bulldogs and Jackets meet at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Since the series moved back on campus in 1995-96, the home team has won all but one of 15 meetings. The exception came 10 years ago, when Georgia (coached by traveling potions salesman Jim Harrick) won at Alexander 75-70 in Hewitt’s first season with Tech.
A lot has changed since then. The Dogs have changed coaches twice (from Harrick to Dennis Felton to Mark Fox) but appear to moving forward now. Fox has invigorated the fan base, winning several big games in his first season and stepping things up in recruiting.
The Jackets had a meteoric rise under Hewitt, all the way to national championship runner up in his fourth season but have won only two NCAA tournament games in six years since, despite talented rosters. Going from 11-17 in 2008-09 to 23-13 last year didn’t appease a significant segment of the fan base, which felt a second-round exit wasn’t good enough for a team that included two future NBA players (Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal).
So this should be interesting. A Tech win at home obviously means nothing once the ACC season begins but it certainly would take the heat off Hewitt, who doesn’t want to hear that the programs are going in different directions.
Tech rebounded from the humiliating loss at Kennesaw State to win its next three games and nearly upsetting Syracuse, before losing 80-76. The Jackets then were drilled by h0t-shooting Northwestern 91-71.
The Jackets’ biggest problem will be dealing with the Dogs’ potent front line of Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie and Jeremy Price.
That’s it for now. I’ll be blogging live during the game. What are your early thoughts on the game?
– By Jeff Schultz