Brian Gregory has his share of doubters in the Georgia Tech fan base, but there’s one thing he doesn’t have to convince anybody about: He knows how to beat Georgia, going 4-0 in the rivalry.
He also didn’t have to convince Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
Not surprisingly, Izzo phoned Gregory, his close friend and a former Michigan State assistant, for insight on Georgia as he began preparations for Friday’s NCAA tournament opening game between the Bulldogs and Spartans in Charlotte.
When asked Tuesday if he had been contacted by Izzo, Gregory laughed and said, “Oh yeah. Sunday night.” The phone call came soon after the tournament brackets were announced.
“You can quote me on this: I gave him everything,” Gregory said.
“I like (Georgia coach) Mark Fox. Once or twice a year we don’t like each other during recruiting, but otherwise we’re friends. But there’s a lot of green blood in my veins.”
And, with punctuation that is sure to go over well in Athens (not), Gregory said: “There might be debate on a lot of things. But there’s no debate on who I want to win that game.”
Tech won the regular season opener for both teams 80-73 at McCamish Pavilion, which brought the Jackets’ record to 4-0 against Georgia under Gregory. The rest of the season wasn’t nearly as successful for Gregory, as the team finished 12-19, including 3-15 in the ACC.
Gregory said Georgia “is a really good team,” and referenced seniors Marcus Thornton (whom he tried to recruit when he coached Dayton) and Nemanja Djurisic, and guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann.
“We just went over what we’ve done the last four years that I thought was successful,” Gregory said of his conversation with Izzo. “But coach Izzo really doesn’t need any help from me. They’re playing exceptionally well. They might’ve won the Big Ten Championship if not for a missed call by the officials.”
When asked about specifics he shared regarding Georgia, Gregory said, “One thing we’ve been able to do is we didn’t put them at the free throw line. Mann and Gaines can can control games at the free throw line. And then for us, to take away their set plays was key. Get them out of their comfort zone with their sets.”
There it is, direct from the Sparty fan base.
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