In the team’s second of three straight Atlantic Coast Conference road games, Georgia Tech visits Blacksburg hoping to extend their latest streak to 3-0. The Hokies, on the other hand, have dropped three of their last four games going into Wednesday’s matchup.
In a season many thought would result in Georgia Tech possibly going winless in ACC play, Josh Pastner’s first season in Atlanta has already far surpassed that narrative.
With his team at 11-6 overall, and 3-2 in conference play, Pastner has already equaled Brian Gregory’s win total in his first season at Tech. He is only one ACC win shy of equaling Gregory’s four conference wins in 2011-12.
Last Time Out:
After an upset win over Clemson at home, the Jackets took down North Carolina State in Raleigh three days later, beating the Wolfpack 86-76.
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The key to Tech’s latest road was quite simple; the Jackets made their shots.
“We had 24 assists on 31 made field goals, 13 on 15 in the first half, and that’s been really important to me as a head coach – player movement and ball movement,” Josh Pastner said of his team’s performance in Raleigh. “We’re getting better at that. We’re very limited offensively, but when we have good player movement and ball movement, it creates good shots for us.”
With the win, Pastner became the first, first-year head coach in Tech basketball history to start off with a 3-2 ACC record.
Know the Opponent:
Virginia Tech is an impressive 13-4 on the season so far, but is below .500 in conference play with a 2-3 record going into Wednesday night’s game.
The Hokies have lost three of their last four games, including a loss to common opponent NC State. However, VT was able to beat Duke 89-75, a team that handed the Jackets an embarrassing 110-57 loss.
Georgia Tech is 1-8 in Blacksburg all-time, having picked up their first and only win at Cassell Coliseum back in 2013.
Players to Watch:
Georgia Tech: F Quinton Stephens
Quinton Stephens score nine points in his team’s loss to Duke, and only one point in Tech’s loss to Louisville. The next two outing saw the senior forward put up 16 versus Clemson and 22 at NC State, both wins. He picked up a combined 14 rebounds in the Jackets’ last two victories as well.
When Stephens scores well over his season average, his team usually comes out ahead. Tech will need a strong outing from the senior on both sides of the ball to stay in the game.
Virginia Tech: F Zach LeDay
Zach LeDay is averaging 16.2 points per game for the Hokies going into Wednesday’s game, and 7.3 rebounds on top of that. He scored close to a season high of 22 in Tech’s recent win over Syracuse, but only managed 10 in the Hokies’ loss to Notre Dame.
Look for LeDay to get a lot of looks at rebound chances on the defensive side of the ball, and if he can capitalize on Georgia Tech misses from the floor, he can help put the Hokies in a good position to stop the Jackets’ hot streak.
With plenty of momentum, the Jackets are one of the hottest teams in the ACC, but has an abysmal record in Blacksburg, historically. Virginia Tech desperately needs a win, especially at home, to improve their conference record, and regain momentum of their own.
A competitive game relies on points and rebounds from big men on both sides, and the battle of the Tech’s has a slight advantage leaning towards the home team.