The nonconference schedule for Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball has been out for a couple of months. But since there is about three weeks left until tipoff of the 2014-15 season, this seems like a good time to take a look at who is on the docket for the Yellow Jackets leading into league play.
When you look at the nonconference slate, you see that Georgia Tech has some pretty strong competition scheduled, and that is not even accounting for the Orlando Classic which could prove to be a big RPI booster for spring tournament consideration given that the Jackets put together a winning season this year.
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After the Jackets play Clayton State on November 7th in a game which is a scrimmage, Tech will take on the Georgia Bulldogs on November 14th, which will truly be a test out the gate for Brian Gregory’s club.
Georgia returns all five of their top scorers from last year’s 20-14 squad. The backcourt of Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines is going into their junior year and will test the new Yellow Jackets backcourt rotation early.
Following the intrastate rivalry game, the Yellow Jackets will face Alabama A&M on November 18th who finished 14-16 out of the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) and IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne) on November 21st out of the Summit League who finished 25-11 overall last year.
All of those games will be played at McCamish Pavilion before the Yellow Jackets go to the Orlando Classic Tournament at the HP Field House from November 27 -30.
At the Orlando Classic the Yellow Jackets will open up that tournament by playing against the Marquette Golden Eagles.
What is going to make this game interesting is that the Jackets will get an up close look at how the new Marquette head coach and Mike Kryzewski disciple, Steve Wojciechowski, handles the lead chair on the sideline.
If the Jackets win that game there is a potential matchup that will pit Brian Gregory against former coaching mate Tom Izzo and Michigan St.
Gregory was an assistant for Tom Izzo at Michigan State when the Spartans won the National Championship in 2000.
Michigan State will be facing the Rider Broncs out of the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in Orlando.
When the Orlando Classic ends the Yellow Jackets will have their first road test of the year when they visit Evanston, Ill to take on the Northwestern Wildcats on December 3rd.
Northwestern is coached by another “Coach K” disciple in Chris Collins who is slowly turning the Northwestern program around.
After that road contest the Yellow Jackets will play three straight games at home in McCamish.
That home stand starts on December 6th when the Yellow Jackets take on USC Upstate out of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Upstate finished 19-15 overall last season and 11-7 in the Atlantic Sun.
That game will be followed by a December 15th contest against Appalachian State out of the Southern Conference who finished 2013-14 with a record of 9-21 and 5-12 in conference.
The final game of that home stand will have the Vanderbilt Commodores visiting McCamish on December 20th.
Vanderbilt’s hoop program has been on a slight decline of late under coach Kevin Stallings.
The Commodores are coming off of a 15-16 season in the SEC from last year and will be looking to get back on their NCAA tournament track this year.
The Jackets will look to get revenge for a 76-63 road loss that they took at Vanderbilt last season.
Hopefully the Yellow Jackets will not be looking past that Vandy matchup to hard because a road game against the Dayton Flyers follows the Commodores on December 23rd.
If the Yellow Jackets wanted to get Coach Gregory a Christmas gift, beating his former employer and avenging the 82-72 loss from the Flyers last season would be a nice present.
Dayton is a solid team who made the “Elite 8” last season in the NCAA tournament. Dayton finished 26-11 coming out the Atlantic 10, and rumor has it that the A-10 is going to be one of the Top Five conferences in the nation this year.
The nonconference slate comes to an end on December 30th when the Jackets take on the Charlotte 49ers out of Conference USA. Last season the Jackets went to Charlotte and beat the 49ers 58-55. Charlotte finished 17-14 last season and 7-9 in C-USA.
Overall the Jackets have seven home games, two road games and two neutral court games going into their conference schedule.
This is a solid schedule that is going to test this new look Yellow Jackets club.
Brian Gregory is going to find out a lot about his team going into ACC play, and has enough big name teams on the nonconference slate to build a pretty nice resume for his team for consideration come March Madness time.