The fourth-ranked, second-seeded Virginia Cavaliers start their ACC Tournament with a Thursday night matchup against an upset-minded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets squad. The game tips at 7 PM and can be seen on ESPN.
How we got here
As the #2 seed, Virginia has gotten an extra day's rest thanks to a double by straight to the quarterfinals. But if you literally mean, "How did Virginia get from Charlottesville to Washington for the game," the answer is, by bus.
For #10 seed Georgia Tech, the road was bumpier. The Jackets were down 18 to #7 seed Clemson with only 9 minutes to play in the second half. But 28 points from senior Marcus Georges-Hunt and 23 more from senior Adam "Invisible Hand" Smith helped Tech tie the game in regulation. Clemson star Jarron Blossomgame fouled out and the Tigers' last offensive possession couldn't get the three points they needed to advance to a second overtime. Georgia Tech survived, 88-85.
What happened last time
NOTHING WHY DO YOU ASK?!? Anyone skeptical of Virginia's resume for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament will point to the Hoos' road record, including a 68-64 loss to Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Nineteen points from Malcolm Brogdon weren't enough, as Anthony Gill fouled out and Virginia couldn't claw all the way back from a ten-point second half deficit. Georgia Tech won behind a balanced offense, with 16 points each from Smith, Quinton Stevens, and Nick Jacobs.
Who to watch
The aforementioned Georges-Hunt and Smith power the Jackets' backcourt and are the two most efficient scorers on Brian Gregory's roster. Tech can go to two big bodies down low in Jacobs (6'8, 262) and Charles Mitchell (6'8, 256). Mitchell is one of the country's top rebounders, ranking 5th in KenPom's offensive rebounding rate and 13th in defensive rebounding. Four of the Jackets' typical starters are seniors—Georges-Hunt, Smith, Jacobs, and Mitchell—who certainly don't want to see their season end so early in March.