Virginia is enjoying a tremendous season to this point, logging wins in 14 of its first 16 games. The team however, is just 1-1 in conference play after dropping a 61-58 decision at traditional power Duke last Thursday. The Cavaliers took out Miami-Florida (52-51) in their league opener five days earlier, which was the team's 12th straight victory. Virginia is 3-1 in true road games this season, and the team has been victorious in its last three trips to face Georgia Tech.
Speaking of the Yellow Jackets, they currently sit a game below .500 on the season (8-9), and they are the same in ACC play (1-2) after dropping a 61-50 decision at Maryland on Sunday. Georgia Tech is an even 4-4 at home this year, but the team has lost its last three in front of the Atlanta faithful. It hasn't been quite the season first-year head coach Brian Gregory envisioned when he agreed to leave his job at Dayton, where he won 172 games in eight seasons leading the Flyers.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series with Virginia, 38-33, but the Cavaliers have won the last four, and five of the last six meetings overall.
With Mike Scott and Joe Harris leading the way, Virginia is averaging 65.2 ppg behind shooting outputs of 45.9 percent overall, 34.7 percent beyond the arc, and 72.9 percent from the free-throw line. Scott (16.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg) paces the club in both scoring and rebounding, and he does the former by draining 58.8 percent of his shots. He also has more made free throws (72) than his closest teammate has attempts (55). Harris (12.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg) has been a nice complement to what Scott brings to the table, but where the Cavs truly earn their stripes is in playing some of the stingiest defense around. Foes are averaging just 51.1 ppg, which currently ranks second nationally behind only Wisconsin (48.5 ppg). Opposing shooting percentages check in at .389 overall and .268 from three-point land, and the Cavaliers also own favorable margins in both rebounding (+6.1) and turnovers (+2.3). Scott poured in 23 points and grabbed nine boards in last week's loss to Duke, as the team shot just 39.3 percent from the floor, missing 13 of its 16 three-point attempts along the way. Harris added 14 points and five caroms in the setback. The Blue Devils made good on 52.2 percent of their total shots, including a 60.9 percent effort in the second half.
Like their counterpart tonight, the Yellow Jackets haven't exactly lit it up at the offensive end this season, as they average just 64.6 ppg in hitting 45.1 percent of their field goal attempts and 31.1 percent of their long-range bombs. Defensively, Georgia Tech is permitting 61.8 ppg with foes shooting just 38.2 percent from the floor and 31.3 percent from three-point range. Glen Rice (13.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) heads the team's scoring effort, while tying for the team lead in rebounds (Daniel Miller). The only other double-digit scorer for the Yellow Jackets at the moment is Mfon Udofia (10.8 ppg, team-high 43 assists), but he needs to show dramatic improvement on his jumper (18-of-57 from downtown) if he is going to help this team moving forward. Georgia Tech put forth a dreadful shooting effort in the recent loss at Maryland, draining just 33.9 percent from the floor, which included a 3-of-17 showing out on the perimeter. Kammeon Holsey was the only player to score in double figures for coach Gregory's club, tallying 11 points.