ATLANTA -- On Sunday afternoon, Georgia Tech will get a true test of whether its road fortunes have turned around.
The Yellow Jackets, who play at N.C. State, have split their past eight road games. It matters little that those wins have come against Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Miami and Boston College, hardly the ACCs elite. Any road win is important in the ACC, especially for a Georgia Tech program that had gone 3-33 in ACC games prior to this uptick.
Georgia Tech played its first two ACC games on the road and is in the middle of a stretch in which four of its next five are away from McCamish Pavilion.
Youd better be resilient, Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said. We all know how difficult it is to win on the road, and all of a sudden youve got two or three road games. Sometimes theres not a lot of time in between.
That cuts into practice and preparation time. Even though this weeks weekend game is on Sunday, the Yellow Jackets had to spend an extra day in Boston after their win Tuesday when they were stuck there because of the winter storm.
What it does is put an unbelievable amount of pressure on your home games, Gregory said. You feel like you have to win every one of those. You just have to figure out a way to bounce back.
Raleigh hasnt been too tough for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets won there in 2012 and have split their past 12 games with the Wolfpack. N.C. State swept the series a year ago.
N.C. State (12-7, 2-4 ACC) won its last game despite the absence of 6-foot-8 sophomore T.J. Warren, who averages an ACC-leading 22.2 points along with 7.3 rebounds. Warren, one of 25 finalists for the Wooden Award, sprained his left ankle against Duke and was unable to practice or play. But the Wolfpack were still able to win at Maryland.
Georgia Tech (11-8, 2-4) is coming off a 68-60 win over Boston College. The Yellow Jackets led by 15 at halftime and survived an Eagles comeback that cut the margin to one late in the game. Senior Trae Golden came up big with a pair of baskets late in the game, one of them a 3-pointer, to help Georgia Tech survive. Golden wound up with 24 points and has scored 20 or more four times during the past seven games, averaging 17.1 during that stretch.
It was one of his best defensive performances, and he was exceptional on offense, Gregory said.
Redshirt-freshman Corey Heyward likely will get his third start of the season. Heywards star has risen lately, and he has averaged 16.3 minutes in the past four games. In addition to being a good defender -- he was stuck on Boston College star Olivier Hanlan most of the game -- Heyward has six assists and only one turnover during the past four games.
Corey played well, Gregory said. I thought he earned it.
This marks the first game of stretch during which Georgia Tech plays four times in the next 10 days. After returning home to play North Carolina on Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets travel to Wake Forest on Saturday and Clemson on Feb. 4.
Its not just four games in 10 days, its who we play and where we play them, Gregory said. Live Ive said, youve got to be resilient.