Jackets can use week as measuring stick
The Yellow Jackets have shown they won't be pushovers in the ACC.
But this week should tell us how far they've come under new coach Brian Gregory.
The Jackets host Virginia (14-2, 1-1) on Jan. 19 and visit Clemson (9-8, 1-2) two days later. If Tech can manage a split, it will reinforce the notion better days are ahead.
Tech (8-9, 1-2) followed its upset win at N.C. State with an ugly 61-50 loss at Maryland on Sunday.
"I thought we played with pretty good effort and pretty good intensity and did a halfway decent job in some stuff," Gregory said. "But on the road, you've got to be better than that and we just weren't."
The Jackets shot a season-low 33.9 percent as they struggled to finish in traffic and after contact.
"It was a physical game and they out-toughed us," said forward Kammeon Holsey, who scored a team-high 11 points.
As they've proven repeatedly, the Jackets must win the rebounding battle to win the game. Maryland edged Tech 38-36.
Tech started the season 7-4 when it outrebounded its opponent, 0-5 when it didn't, and 1-0 when it was even.
The Jackets shot a season-worst 33.9 percent in Sunday's loss at Maryland. They went 3 of 17 from beyond the arc, and ranked last in the ACC in 3-point shooting percentage (31.1) at that point.
Tech fell to 1-7 at the Comcast Center with its 61-50 loss to Maryland on Sunday. The Terps took a 35-34 lead in the all-time series.
Tech has been outrebounded five times this season, losing each time. The Jackets were outrebounded 38-36 in their Jan. 15 loss at Maryland.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"One of the things that we need to preach and need to get better at -- we need to get tough and be able to finish through some contact and make some plays around the basket." -- Coach Brian Gregory, on how his team can improve.