Can you hear that familiar sound that’s gone quiet since last spring? Yes, the undeniable sound of basketball sneakers squeaking on the gym floor is back as basketball season officially returns to Georgia Tech on Friday.
The NCAA allows full-on hoops practices beginning today and in less than a month, the men and women teams at Tech will officially christen their brand spanking new McCamish Pavilion.
The $40-plus million renovation of the Alexander Memorial Coliseum site forced the Jackets to play a full season away from home (Philips Arena, Gwinnett Arena) a year ago, but this year Georgia Tech will be playing its home games in one of the country’s top facilities. See the accompanying video for more on McCamish Pavilion and its concourse that will afford a 270-degree court view.
The Tech men will open the 2012-13 campaign against visiting Tulane on Nov. 9, two days before the women welcome perennial national power Tennessee on Nov. 11. Both squads will play host to Georgia (men, Dec. 4; women, Dec. 12) in addition to a full slate of Atlantic Coast Conference games in Atlanta.
Second-year men’s coach Brian Gregory watched his first team struggle mightily to score during an 11-20 (4-12 ACC) year. The Jackets scored just 36 points in their ACC Tourney loss to Miami last March and Tech's 58.6 scoring average in league games was a school-record low during the shot-clock era.
Still, with all five starters returning and the addition of a recruiting class ranked 14th nationally by Rivals, optimism is high at Tech. A return to playing home games back on campus in a state-of-the-art facility helps, too.
While the men struggled a year ago, coach MaChelle Joseph’s Yellow Jackets enjoyed their best season in school history. Twenty-six wins, including 12 in conference play, helped lead to a spot in the league tournament title game and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
All-America candidate Tyaunna Marshall leads a talented returning group for a program seeking its seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance come March.