Closer Look: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has one game left at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, commonly known as the Thrillerdome.

But the thrill is long gone.

The March 6 game against Miami will be the last for AMC as Tech starts work on a $45 million arena that should be ready for 2012-13. Next season, Tech will split home games between Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta and Gwinnett Arena in the north suburbs.

Yellow Jackets fans can only hope their team closes down the Thrillerdome with a much better effort than it put forth against Virginia on Feb. 23, a depressing 62-56 loss

It was Tech's seventh straight ACC defeat. Easily the worst shooting team in the conference, the Jackets solidified that distinction by making 21 of 56 (37.5 percent).

Even guard Iman Shumpert, who has played at an All-ACC level most of the season, appears to be wearing down. The 6-foot-5 junior scored just 12 on 4-of-11 shooting. Strikingly, the ACC's steals leader did not have a steal.

Now Tech (11-16, 3-10) must go on the road, where it hasn't won a game in 13 months. Tech visits N.C. State on Feb. 26 and Wake Forest on March 3.

Then the Jackets come home to end a disastrous season, and say goodbye to a building that used to shake with excitement.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: Georgia Tech, the ACC's worst-shooting team, doesn't get a lot of easy looks because there is no big man who can draw a double-team. But the Yellow Jackets don't shoot well when left wide open, either. A perfect example came late in the Feb. 23 home loss to Virginia, with Tech trailing 51-46. First Lance Storrs missed a wide-open 3-pointer. After an offensive rebound, Mfon Udofia missed another uncontested 3-pointer. Tech didn't score again until it was too late.

NOTES, QUOTES
-- Georgia Tech has dropped four straight to Virginia after the Feb. 23 home loss. The Yellow Jackets suffered their seventh ACC loss in a row.

-- Georgia Tech fell to 0-9 on the road with its Feb. 20 loss at Duke, and 0-15 dating to January 2010.

-- Tech has lost 27 of its past 30 meetings with Duke.

-- Only one of Tech's 12 ACC games has been decided by fewer than 9 points (59-57 loss at Miami).

BY THE NUMBERS: 67 percent -- Virginia's 3-point accuracy (10 of 15) in the Cavaliers' 72-64 win over Georgia Tech on Jan. 22. The teams met again in Atlanta on Feb. 23.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "All we can do is what we do, practice and play. Obviously you want people to support you but all we can do is what we can do." -- Coach Paul Hewitt, on poor attendance at Georgia Tech home games.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at N.C. State, Feb. 26
KEY MATCHUPS:
The Yellow Jackets will have their hands full with N.C. State's strong frontcourt of Tracy Smith (averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds entering the week), C.J. Leslie (11.4 points, 7.5 rebounds) and Richard Howell (7.9 points, 6.6 rebounds). But Tech has a quicker and deeper backcourt. Both coaches are under tremendous heat, and speculation is rampant they'll be gone at season's end. This is the teams' only regular-season meeting.

FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore PG Mfon Udofia is playing better now that he's coming off the bench. Udofia started Tech's first 11 games, and he had come off the bench the last 14 through Feb. 20.

Udofia had just five turnovers in the six games before the Feb. 20 loss at Duke. Supremely quick, Udofia is learning how to harness his speed and stay under control. He has scored in double figures seven times this season.

PLAYER NOTES
-- Sophomore F Brian Oliver, Georgia Tech's third-leading scorer, won't return from his broken thumb until March 4.

-- Sophomore G Glen Rice Jr., the Yellow Jackets' second-leading scorer, was 28-for-88 (31.8 percent) over his past six games, including a 1-for-5 performance in the Feb. 23 home loss to Virginia.

-- Junior G Iman Shumpert is bidding to become the fourth player in ACC history to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. The others were Maryland's Greivis Vasquez (2009), N.C. State's Anthony Grundy (2002) and Florida State's Bob Sura (1994).


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