ATHENS — The annual Georgia Tech-Georgia game finds each team in obvious need of a boost.
Georgia is 8-4 with losses in three of its last five games. Georgia Tech is 7-6, above .500 only after a shaky win over lowly Presbyterian.
For added incentive Wednesday night, there’s this: The Yellow Jackets will be trying for their first win in Athens since 1976.
The Yellow Jackets beat Georgia 78-69 at Tech on Dec. 22, 2006, but they have lost 11 straight in the series in Athens. The streak includes six losses at Stegeman Coliseum since the series returned to campus sites in the 1995-96 season.
The only win by a visiting team in the last 12 years was Georgia’s 75-70 victory at Tech on Dec. 6, 2000.
Georgia is coming off a 75-67 road loss to Gonzaga last weekend. The Bulldogs will open their Southeastern Conference schedule on Saturday at Mississippi State.
Georgia Tech’s only remaining game outside the Atlantic Coast Conference is Feb. 9 at Connecticut. Georgia Tech, already 0-1 in the ACC with a 66-64 loss to Florida State on Dec. 30, will play at Miami on Saturday.
A win by the Yellow Jackets Wednesday night would give Tech a confidence boost for the rest of its conference schedule.
"We are disappointed by our record, but I would not say that I am discouraged," said Tech coach Paul Hewitt. "We have played a very difficult schedule, probably not the smartest scheduling that could have been done for this basketball team, but I have no one to blame for that except myself."
Georgia Tech has lost to three teams in the current Top 25: No. 3 Kansas, No. 10 Indiana and No. 13 Vanderbilt.
"We are definitely improving," Hewitt said. "I think we are pretty close."
Georgia lost to No. 21 Wisconsin but already has a 72-50 win over ACC member Wake Forest in Athens.
Each team had its depth hurt last week by having important backup post players announce decisions to transfer.
Sophomore forward Mouhammad Faye said Sunday he would transfer from Tech.
Georgia center Rashaad Singleton did not make the trip to Washington for the Gonzaga game, and coach Dennis Felton said the 7-foot junior had quit the team with plans to transfer.
Singleton led Georgia with 17 blocked shots but recently lost his starting job to freshman Jeremy Price.
Singleton is the third prominent player lost from Georgia’s roster. Felton dismissed forward Takais Brown before the season and also kicked starting guard Mike Mercer off the team on Nov. 19.
Faye had been on a leave of absence from the Tech team since his last game against Vanderbilt on Dec. 1.
Georgia Tech is coming off a sluggish win over Presbyterian on Sunday. Presbyterian has only one win this season, but Tech led by only two points late in the game before pulling away to win 77-64.
"We are just trying to make small steps here," Hewitt said of the Georgia game.
"And when I say small steps, I mean just going and take this game for what it is. It’s going to be a pretty intense game because of the rivalry, but you also have a bunch of kids who know each other real well having played high school and AAU ball together. So it’s going to be a pretty hard-fought game."