The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (28-9) will look to write a
happy ending to their storybook run through the NCAA tournament
The Yellow Jackets look to slay the favored Connecticut Huskies
(32-6) and earn their first-ever national championship. Georgia
Tech will enter the contest as five-point underdogs.
As the No. 3 seed in the St. Louis region, Georgia Tech has
survived scare after March scare. In round one, they fought off a
feisty Northern Iowa team 65-60. Two days later, 18 points from
guard B.J. Elder allowed the Yellow Jackets to sneak by Boston
College and into the Sweet 16.
Tech made the cut to the Elite Eight by doing what Michigan
State and Gonzaga could not, knocking off the upstart Nevada Wolf
Pack. Head coach Paul Hewitt’s squad then punched their ticket to
San Antonio and the Final Four with a 79-71 overtime victory over
the Kansas Jayhawks.
Thanks to backup point guard Will Bynum, the Yellow Jackets will
play one more game in the Alamodome. After Oklahoma State’s John
Lucas tied the game with a deep 3-pointer from the right wing,
Bynum converted a tough driving lay-up with 1.5 seconds remaining
to lift the Yellow Jackets over the second-seeded Cowboys
In each round of the tournament, Tech has seemingly featured a
different hero. Deep and athletic, the Yellow Jackets will go nine
deep on the average. Hewitt deploys his reserves early and often,
and with guard B.J. Elder ailing, that depth has kept Tech
The team’s leading scorer at 15 points per game, Elder had
tallied 30 points in the first two rounds of the tournament before
suffering a right-ankle-sprain injury against Nevada. He played
just three minutes and finished the game scoreless.
Though he returned to action against Kansas, he was nowhere near
100 percent and again was held scoreless in just 12 minutes. In the
national semifinal matchup with Oklahoma State, Elder was still not
himself, scoring two points and going 1-4 from the field.
With Elder hobbled by the ankle injury, it has been go-to guy by
committee for the Yellow Jackets. Against the Wolf Pack, it was
guard Marvin Lewis who stepped into the spotlight. Lewis poured in
23 points on 7-13 shooting to lead Tech into the Elite Eight.
Against Kansas, it was another story for Lewis, who did not
score and missed all six shots he attempted. Though Lewis was not
on his game, the Yellow Jackets kept rolling behind a career-high
29 points from point guard Jarrett Jack and 15 from center Luke
The entire supporting cast picked up Elder against the Cowboys,
as four Yellow Jackets finished in double figures. Schenscher lead
the way with 19, with Lewis adding 14, Jack pitching in 10, and
Bynum recording 11, including the two biggest points of the
Georgia Tech’s strength lies in its backcourt combination of
Jack, Lewis and Elder — when healthy. If any of the three should
struggle early, Hewitt will not hesitate to insert the latest Tech
hero, Bynum, into the contest.
Down low, the burden of containing Emeka Okafor will fall on the
shoulders of the 7-foot-1 Australian Schenscher. The junior’s
defensive presence was crucial to the Tech cause Saturday, and he
will have to battle against the likes of Okaf0r, Adam Boone and
Charlie Villanueva. Joining Big Luke in the frontcourt is forward
Off the bench, Hewitt looks to forwards Clarence Moore and
Isma’il Mohammad to provide a spark. Known more for his highlight
reel dunking ability, Mohammad is also a hardworking player who
does the little things. Theodis Tarver provides an extra body in
the big-man rotation.