Georgia Tech starts rugged stretch at No. 16 Virginia (Jan 21, 2017)
After Georgia Tech's bid for a third straight ACC win came up short Wednesday night against Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets' road to their third league win in America's toughest conference may have to wait for a bit.
Beginning with their trip to Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday to take on No. 16 Virginia (2 p.m. ET, ACC Network), Georgia Tech faces three consecutive teams ranked in the Top 25. The Cavaliers are looking to win their fourth in a row against the Yellow Jackets.
Virginia (14-3, 4-2 ACC) knocked off Boston College 71-54 on Wednesday in one of their best passing performances of the season. The Cavaliers recorded 22 assists on 27 made field goals and seem to be peaking at the right time.
"That's playing for each other," Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said after the win. "That's sharing the ball. That's not worrying about getting your own or getting numbers. That's efficient basketball, and again our offense has to be part of our defense. If we're moving the ball, that can wear (opponents) down, and when we're getting good shots that's demoralizing at times."
This will be the lone meeting between the two teams this season after Georgia Tech (11-7, 3-3) upset Virginia 68-64 last January.
Virginia enters the game boasting five players averaging at least seven points per game, but only senior point guard London Perrantes averages more than 10 points. Georgia Tech puts four players in double figures, led by center Ben Lammers, who has been a breakout star for the Yellow Jackets.
Lammers will be a tough cover for Virginia's frontcourt -- the 6-foot-10 junior averages nearly 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game. He will be needed inside for a Georgia Tech squad which has struggled to shoot the ball from the outside this season. That doesn't bode well against a Virginia team which leads the ACC in field goal percentage defense.
"We have to continue to improve in the areas that we can control," Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner said. "I'm really proud of our guys and how hard they've played and how much we've improved since the beginning of the season."
Georgia Tech averages just under 68 points per game and will be hard pressed to reach that mark against Virginia's stifling defense. The Cavaliers, despite some struggles on defense earlier in ACC play, are still allowing only 53 points per game, which leads the country.
The Yellow Jackets should have the edge on the glass and second-chance points could be a key for Georgia Tech's hope for an upset.
Virginia has won five road games this season compared to just seven at home. The Cavaliers dropped a home ACC game to Florida State earlier this season, but are now back on track and look to defend their home court against the Yellow Jackets.