Georgia/Georgia Tech Hoops Preview

After a record-setting start to the season, No. 3 Georgia Tech gets another chance at history Saturday at 3 p.m. against Georgia.

The Yellow Jackets (12-0) have not beaten their in-state rivals on the road since 1976, a string of nine games.

"I'm sure it's going to be an emotional game and we have to come ready to scrap and play hard," Tech coach Paul Hewitt said.

Tech, in its final non-conference game before opening Atlantic Coast Conference play on Jan. 11 at North Carolina, expects a conference-like feel for this game.

"It's going to feel kind of like an ACC game. We're looking at that as the start of everything, the start of league play for us," Clarence Moore said. "Georgia hasn't gotten off to that great a start, but we know they're going to come out and give their all and they're not going to lay down for us on their home floor."

The Bulldogs (7-3) would like nothing more than to end the Yellow Jackets' longest unbeaten streak to open a season.

"(Georgia Tech) is a team that has shown no weakness so far this season," Felton said. "The level they are playing at is very, very rare. They're doing everything well."

"They're going to be strong defensively. They execute very well and get the ball inside effectively. It's a combination of a good coach in Dennis Felton and a veteran basketball team," Hewitt said. "They know how to play with a purpose."

Still, the Bulldogs enter off their worst loss since early in the 2000 season, a 76-55 defeat at the hands of No. 16 Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The Panthers shot 62.2 percent from the field, including 78 percent in the second half, and Felton estimated that his team played well on one-third of its possessions.

Felton is having trouble remembering what a rivalry game is like.

"We reached a point where we had no rival," said Felton, who is in his first season as Georgia's basketball coach after five years at Western Kentucky.

The Hilltoppers became the Sun Belt's premier team in Felton's five seasons, and the only rival he could recall was "whatever team was in second place," he said.

It shouldn't take long Saturday to get the feel for the Tech-Georgia rivalry. The new coach said he wants to get to the point where his team approaches every game with the same intensity because opponents are gunning for it.

"It's our goal to play precisely the same way wherever we play and whenever we play," he said. "We're trying to build a program where every single time out is a huge game because everyone is gunning for us."

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