A rather curious facet of coach Brian Gregory’s tenure at Georgia Tech, now in its fourth season is that the Yellow Jackets’ most significant wins have all taken place away from McCamish Pavilion (or Philips Arena, Tech’s home in the 2011-12 season). The Yellow Jackets have beaten five teams that ultimately reached the NCAA tournament, but all have been away from home – VCU (neutral site) and N.C. State in 2011-12, St. Mary’s (neutral site) and Miami in 2012-13 and Syracuse in 2014.
Tech will play Syracuse Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion. A win over the Orange might constitute the biggest win that McCamish has witnessed in its three years (and Gregory has had in his four). From a brand perspective, it undoubtedly would. Syracuse is an NCAA tournament regular, coach Jim Boeheim is No. 2 all-time in wins and the Orange are among the most recognized teams in the country. It remains to be seen what the on-court value of a win would be, but it’d be a pretty big notch on the belt regardless. The thought has crossed my mind whether or not students would rush the court were Tech to win. My guess would be no, but I wouldn’t be entirely surprised were it to happen.
The four biggest home wins in the Gregory’s tenure (in chronological order):
Dec. 3, 2013: Tech 67, Illinois 64. Illinois was undefeated (7-0) at the time and No. 18 in RPI, but the Jackets finished the game on a 19-4 run for the win. The Illini went on to finish 20-15, playing in the NIT and finishing No. 63 in RPI. It also broke Tech’s five-game losing streak in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Feb. 3, 2013: Tech 66, Virginia 60. The Jackets beat a Virginia team that was 15-5 at the time and on the NCAA tournament bubble (ultimately not making the NCAA field). Tech won by holding Virginia without a basket for more than nine minutes in the second half. The Cavaliers finished 23-12, made the NIT quarterfinals and finished with an RPI of 83.
Feb. 27, 2013: Tech 78, Maryland 68. The Terrapins were on the NCAA tournament bubble when the Jackets shot 51.0 percent from the field for the win. Maryland finished at 25-13 with an RPI of 62 and made the NIT semifinals.
Nov. 14, 2014: Tech 80, Georgia 73. The Jackets were led by forward Quinton Stephens (22 points, 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point range) in both teams’ season opener. Beyond the fact that it was Tech’s fourth consecutive win in the rivalry, it may prove to be a noteworthy win from a résumé perspective. As of Wednesday morning, Georgia is No.24 in RPI, according to ESPN.