2004-05 Basketball Preview: VT @ #12 Georgia Tech

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Virginia Tech (9-6, 2-2 ACC) vs. #12 Georgia
Tech (11-4, 2-2 ACC)

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005, 4:00 pm

TV:

Raycom/Jefferson Pilot (check local listings)

Special Preview Items:

After a three game home stand, the Hokies hit the
road and travel south to Atlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech.
The meeting will be the sixth time the two schools have met, with the Hokies
holding a 4-1 record. The series dates back to 1921, but the two teams have not
played against each other since 1984 when the Hokies won 77-74 in Cassell Coliseum in
the opening round of the NIT.

Georgia Tech is coming off of a shocking 76-68
loss to North Carolina State, the same foe that the Hokies defeated on Wednesday
72-71. Georgia Tech’s loss came on January 16th, giving them almost a full
week to recover from its second consecutive loss, the other being a 91-69 loss
to then-No. 4 North Carolina.

Key Players:

As is the case with most Atlantic Coast
Conference schools, Georgia Tech boasts a stellar backcourt combination that has
the deadly capability to score from the parameter and slash to the basket. Head
coach Paul Hewitt will rely on junior point guard Jarrett Jack to carry the load
for the Yellow Jackets. Jack is among the conference’s best in a multitude of
categories, including scoring (15.5, 13th), rebounding (5.5, 17th), field goal
percentage (54.7%, 4th), assists (4.33, 7th), free throw percentage (90.2%,
2nd), steals (1.8, 11th), three-point percentage (46.4%, 1st) and several other
categories.

Georgia Tech’s frontcourt threat is in the form
of 7-1, 250-pound center Luke Schenscher. The senior is averaging 10.3 points
per game and 7.7 rebounds. His rebound total is good for sixth in the conference
and his 2.4 blocked shots per game is third best in the ACC. The Hokies will
have to find ways to get Schenscher away from the basket in order to penetrate
without the Australian being there to disrupt shots.

The pressure on Jack in the backcourt could be
eased with the possible return of B.J. Elder. The senior shooting guard has
missed four games with a strained hamstring and Georgia Tech has struggled
without him on the floor. Before the injury, Elder played in 11 games and
averaged 13.2 points. It will be interesting to see how the two will respond to
playing with each other again, if that is the case. Jack has scored over 20
points in three of the team’s last five games. In Elder’s absence, Yellow
Jacket senior Will Bynum, a former Arizona player, has stepped up and is
averaging 10.8 points per game and is second on the team in assists.

Key Stats:

  • Virginia Tech has only out-rebounded its
    opponent three times in the first 15 games. The Hokies grabbed more boards
    than Florida State, Morgan State and James Madison. The rebound totals in
    the games against VMI and Maryland-Eastern Shore were equal.

  • The Yellow Jackets have been out-rebounded six
    times this season, including all four games they have lost. James Madison
    and Miami also out-rebounded them.

  • The Hokies were shooting 65% from the free
    throw line before the North Carolina State win, in which they shot 19-24
    from the line (79.2%). Carlos Dixon’s 8-for-8 performance from the line
    was a career best. Coleman Collins went 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

  • Outside of Jack’s abilities from the line,
    Georgia Tech does not shoot well when given free throws. The team’s 65.4%
    is second to last in the conference.

  • The Hokies rely a lot on the perimeter game,
    which is a strong point of Georgia Tech’s defense. Opponents are shooting
    just 28.9% from the outside, which is a conference best on defense.

  • Virginia Tech ranks third in the conference in
    steals with an average of 10.93 per game.



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