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Jan. 31, 2003

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –

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The Game
Virginia stands at 12-6 overall and 3-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2002-2003. The Cavaliers are coming off an 85-72 victory over Florida State (Jan. 29) at University Hall. Georgia Tech stands at 10-7 overall and 3-3 in the ACC this season. In their last game, the Yellow Jackets defeated North Carolina 88-68 (Jan. 29) at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at McDonald’s Center in Atlanta, Ga.

The Series vs. Georgia Tech
Each team has had a stretch of dominating the series, which Georgia Tech now leads 31-26. The Cavaliers held the lead until the Yellow Jackets passed Virginia by winning 21 of the last 28 meetings, including 10 of the last 12. Last season, Virginia snapped a four-game losing streak to Georgia Tech with a 69-65 victory (Jan. 22) over the Jackets in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets earned a split in the season series with an 82-80 victory (Feb. 23) in Charlottesville. It is the first time in the history of the series (which dates back to 1947-48) that both teams won on the other team’s home floor in the same season. In 2000-2001, Georgia Tech swept the regular season series with a 73-68 win (Jan. 9) in Charlottesville (Georgia Tech was the only team to defeat UVa at University Hall in 2000-2001) and a 62-56 triumph (Feb. 11) in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets also posted a 74-69 victory (Mar. 9) over Virginia in the ACC Tournament in Atlanta.

The Jackets hold a 20-8 advantage in games played in Atlanta in the series and have won 11 of the last 13 in the Peachtree city. UVa snapped a seven-game losing streak to Georgia Tech in Atlanta with its 69-65 victory (Jan. 22) last season. Prior to last season, Virginia’s 83-60 win (Feb. 22) in 1995 was its most recent victory over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. The 23-point margin of victory is Virginia’s largest in the series since a 91-59 win in 1984 in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers have won three of five overtime contests in the series, but their 74-68 overtime loss to Georgia Tech in the 1998-99 season snapped a three-game extra session winning streak. The Jackets won the first overtime game in the series 72-71 in triple overtime in the 1983-84 season.

The Cavaliers opened the series with Georgia Tech by winning 10 of the first 13 games, including eight straight from 1981-1983.

These Games are Barn Burners
Even though 10 of the last 17 meetings between these two teams have been decided by at least nine points, people shouldn’t be surprised if this one goes down to the wire.

Of the 44 games since the 1983-84 season, only 14 have been decided by 10 or more points. Eighteen of the games have been decided by a margin of four points or less with UVa winning 10 of them. The Cavaliers have won three of four games (won in 1987 and 1990 twice, lost in 2002) decided by two points. Five games have gone into overtime, including a triple overtime affair (1984) and a double overtime game (1995).

From 1985 to 1990 the teams played 15 consecutive games that were decided by fewer than 10 points with Virginia winning eight of those games.

A breakdown of the close games in the series since the 1983-84 season is below:

1 point - 3   4 points - 5   7 points - 42 points - 4  5 points - 3   8 points - 13 points - 6  6 points - 2   9 points - 2

Jackets Shoot Well vs. UVa
The Yellow Jackets have won 12 of the last 15 meetings vs. Virginia in the past seven seasons and a big part of those wins has been Georgia Tech’s ability to shoot the basketball. In the 12 wins, the Jackets shot 48.0 percent (318-662) from the field. In the three games Georgia Tech lost to Virginia in the last seven seasons, the Yellow Jackets made only 40.1 percent (69-172) of their attempts from the field. In its last 12 wins over the Cavaliers, Georgia Tech averaged 78.1 points per game compared to 64.7 points per game in its last three losses to UVa (the Jackets have scored 65 points twice and 64 once).

In Georgia Tech’s last 21 wins over Virginia dating back to the championship game of the 1990 ACC Tournament, the Yellow Jackets are shooting 47.5 percent from the field, while averaging 75.0 points.

That is in contrast to Georgia Tech’s performance when Virginia wins. In Virginia’s nine wins over Georgia Tech dating back to the beginning of the 1990s, the Yellow Jackets have shot 40.2 percent from the floor and scored an average of 69.8 points.

In Virginia’s last nine wins against Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets have not shot better than 42.6 percent from the field (29 of 68 in the 1994-95 season).

Very Similar
Virginia and Georgia Tech have both been unbeatable at home, but have struggled away from their home courts. Both school’s are a perfect 9-0 at home this season. UVa is 1-5 in games on opponents’ home courts, while the Yellow Jackets are winless in six games.

Five Score in Double Figures
The Cavaliers had five players score in double figures in their 85-72 win over Florida State (Jan. 29), marking the first time this season that has happened. Senior forward/center Travis Watson led the way with 20 points, while freshman forward Derrick Byars had 15. Junior guard Todd Billet and sophomore forward Elton Brown both scored 14 points, and sophomore forward Jason Clark added 12.

The previous time UVa had five players score in double figures in the same game was February 28, 2002 against Duke. Roger Mason, Jr. (22), Adam Hall (21), Chris Williams (14), Watson (12) and Keith Jenifer (10) all reached double figures in the scoring column.

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