It is time once again for a staple of Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner’s program – the midseason game against a Division II opponent. On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets will fill in the open date in their ACC schedule with a home game against Florida Tech.
It has been Pastner’s belief that his teams, rather than resting during the open date in the ACC schedule, are better off playing a team to keep their rhythm. However, it is highly difficult to find another Division I opponent that has an open date in January or February that corresponds with Tech’s and is willing to give it up to play a non-conference game. Hence, the Jackets generally have had to go to Division II to find a team eager to accommodate Tech and give its players the chance to play an ACC opponent (and also accept a payout). It is not the convention. The Jackets are the only ACC team this season that filled its open date with a non-conference game and the only team in the league to play a Division II team.
Pastner’s philosophy would seem to have particular logic this season. Tech (10-16) has won two of its past three games after losing the previous nine and might benefit from continuing to play rather than wait until Tuesday to play again at Pittsburgh.
“We’re just playing better,” Pastner said after the Jackets’ 77-70 home win over Virginia Tech on Wednesday. “We’re playing cleaner. We’re playing a full 40 minutes. Just proud of our guys.”
In Pastner’s tenure, Tech has won its four games against Division II opponents by an average of 93.5-57. Florida Tech has fit in the Jackets between games against Sunshine State Conference opponents Embry-Riddle and Lynn. The Panthers are 16-10 and are tied for fifth in their conference.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com