Georgia Tech adds basketball series with UAB, starting next season

Georgia Tech has filled the final hole in its non-conference schedule by adding Alabama-Birmingham for a three-game series that starts next season. The Yellow Jackets will play the Blazers on Dec. 23 at UAB. 

Blazers coach Andy Kennedy tweeted the game and date Thursday.

It will be part of a 2-for-1 series similar to Tech’s recently arranged set of games with Georgia State, coach Josh Pastner told the AJC. That series also will begin this season, on Dec. 16 at McCamish Pavilion. After the game at UAB, the Blazers will come to Tech in each of the two following seasons. (It bears mention that the agreement with UAB has not been finalized.)

“It’s a great thing for Georgia Tech, it’s great for UAB,” Pastner said.

With Georgia State, Tech will be at home against the Panthers in the 2021-22 season and then at Georgia State for the 2022-23 season, likely for the opening of their planned arena.

Like the Georgia State series, the games with UAB are part of a new scheduling philosophy in which minimizing expenses, either through travel or guarantees, has taken on greater priority. UAB is a game that Tech can bus to, and in the 2-for-1 exchange, no money will change hands, as with the Georgia State agreement. With COVID-19 expected to drastically reduce revenues and Tech already facing financial challenges, series such as those with Georgia State and UAB fit the model well.

Regarding the UAB series, asked if he had just figured out what teams he could play within a given radius, Pastner replied, “Pretty much.”

Tech’s trip to Birmingham will be the first time that Pastner has taken the Jackets to face a mid-major opponent in its arena since his second season, when the Jackets played at Wofford. It was a game that was scheduled before his arrival, as was a road game at Virginia Commonwealth in his first season. Pastner is going into his fifth season. 

At 17-14 overall and 11-9 in the ACC, the Jackets finished league play with a winning record for the first time since the 2003-04 season, when they played for the national championship.

All 11 slots for Tech’s non-conference schedule have been filled: Mount St. Mary’s (Nov. 12), James Madison (Nov. 16), Georgia (Nov. 19), Longwood (Nov. 22) Kentucky (Nov. 27 at State Farm Arena), Stanford (Dec. 13 at the Barclays Center in New York), Georgia State (Dec. 16), Florida A&M (Dec. 18), Delaware State (Dec. 20) and at UAB (Dec. 23). Tech also will play in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but the game has yet to be scheduled.

The schedule includes four power-conference opponents out of 11.

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