3 things to know before Georgia Tech-Clemson

Georgia Tech forward Charles Mitchell applauds on the bench during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in Atlanta, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. Georgia Tech won the game 63-62. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Georgia Tech forward Charles Mitchell applauds on the bench during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame in Atlanta, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. Georgia Tech won the game 63-62. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Previewing Georgia Tech’s Tuesday night matchup with Clemson at McCamish Pavilion at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on regional sports networks, including Fox Sports South in Atlanta. Wes Durham and Mike Gminiski will be on the call.

The series

The Tigers have won 12 of the past 13 games against Tech, which at one level, is perplexing, given how close so many of the games have been. Since coach Brian Gregory was hired prior to the 2011-12 season, five of the nine losses have been by four points or fewer.

But, Clemson has clearly been the better team over the span of the streak, as hard as that may be for Tech fans to stomach. Since the 2009-10 season, when the Tigers’ 12-1 run began, Clemson is 58-59 (.496) in ACC play. Tech is 36-80 (.310). Clemson has been to the NCAA tournament twice and the NIT once. Tech has been to the NCAA tournament once, and that was in the 2009-10 season, the year Clemson’s dominance began.

Even without the series games, Clemson is 46-58 (.442) and Tech is 35-68 (.340). But a 12-1 stretch over two below-average teams is a little hard to fathom.

Settling a score

Tech players feel the same way, it turns out. Forward Nick Jacobs made mention of it even before the Notre Dame game, and again after the win. Forward Quinton Stephens brought it up Monday.

After beating the Irish, Stephens said, “Now, for us to have Clemson up next is almost perfect, just because we all want to get back at Clemson. I’ve been wanting to get back at them for a long time, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Tech may well lose to the Tigers, but it won’t be because of effort or intensity.

“I want to get Clemson,” Stephens said. “That’s all that’s on my mind.”’

Tech’s objective

Stopping Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame will be Tech’s first priority. The 6-foot-7 “stretch 4” from Alpharetta and Chattahoochee High leads the Tigers both in scoring and rebounding, at 18.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He is coming off a career-high 33-point game at N.C. State, which was the most by a Clemson player in an ACC road game since 1969.

Gregory might have recruited him out of Chattahoochee, he said, but he was already committed to Clemson when he was hired in April 2011.

“I really liked him because I liked his activity level,” Gregory said.

Gregory saw him as a wing player, “but he’s obviously got enough strength, and he plays at the 4, but he’s a guy that, at the next level, could easily slide over to the wing. We talked about, when we played them the first time, every part of his game has improved.”

A look at Tech’s (lengthy) odds to make the NCAA tournament

Reader Comments 0

0 comments