Georgia Tech Men's Basketball Coach Brian Gregory has been looking to make new history while embracing the past. One goal the Jackets have this season is to beat Georgia in Athens for the first time since 1976.
The game has been alternating between Atlanta and Athens since 1995 after a 14-year run of playing the game at the old Omni Coliseum. Georgia has won twice in Atlanta in 2000 and 2010, but the Jackets have come up short 12-straight times at Stegeman Coliseum.
Gregory will get his first taste of the rivalry this evening and he is looking forward to continuing the battle for in-state bragging rights.
"You go to a school like Georgia Tech because of the great traditions and what you want to understand when you play Georgia is that tradition has a huge fiber running through it with the Georgia-Georgia Tech game. With that tradition you want to add to that and add pieces of your legacy to that. It is a great opportunity to do that even though it is just one game," Gregory said. "This game is an opportunity to help build the legacy of our program."
One player with a particularly unusual vantage of the rivalry is sophomore Jacket center Daniel Miller. Miller signed with Georgia in November of 2008 during his senior year at Loganville Christian Academy, but after the Bulldogs fired Dennis Felton after the 2008-09 season, the talented big man signed with Tech.
"It has been a while since we beat (Georgia) there," he said. "It is bragging rights for the year and like football we only play once a year, but it is not quite as big for the fans as the football game. This game is still a big deal to me, but it is a lot of fun.
As a redshirting freshman in 2009, Miller felt the full impact of his decision sitting on the bench in Stegeman Coliseum.
"I don't know yet," Miller responded when asked what it will feel like finally playing a game in Stegeman. "I was on the bench my redshirt freshman year and they were yelling at me on the bench. When I would stand up to cheer they would yell at me to sit down and I didn't think it would be like that, but even not being a part of the game they were getting on to me."
This season Miller is averaging 8.9 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game as well as 2.75 blocks per game.
Tech has lost two in a row while Georgia has dropped three straight. Both teams sit at 4-4 on the year and with conference wins at a premium all non-conference games will be a key for either team's post-season dreams. The Jackets hold a 101-86 lead in the series with Georgia and this will be the 188th game in the rivalry that began in 1906.