Originally created 01/25/03

Jackets on verge of breaking out



ATLANTA - Chris Bosh thinks Georgia Tech is just one big win from jump-starting its season.

"When we have one breakout win," he said, "that's going to turn everything around."

If he's right, the Yellow Jackets couldn't have a bigger challenge to win big than today's. Standing in their way is No. 3 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils are 25-4 against Georgia Tech in Cameron, including five straight. Despite their recent struggles, the Blue Devils - who reached No. 1 in the rankings earlier in the year - are still the team to beat in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

But this is Duke, where, Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt joked, "They don't recruit, they draft."

Georgia Tech (9-6, 2-2 ACC) has yet to win on the road this season, tempering emotions around the team. A tough loss at Wake Forest left the Yellow Jackets sluggish through the first half of Tuesday's victory over Elon. They could change all that by handing the Blue Devils (12-2, 2-2) their third consecutive conference loss.

"We still got a lot of opportunities to go play," Hewitt said. "Certainly the story of this season hasn't been written yet. We've got a very good basketball team and the things that we set out to do are still there in front of us."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski reloaded his program that lost Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer to the NBA, with the nation's top recruiting class, headed by guard J.J. Redick and forwards Shelden Williams and Shavlik Randolph.

"With the tradition they bring into the home when they come and recruit a young man, they have an advantage," Hewitt said. "They've worked to earn that advantage, but they have an advantage."

Krzyzewski has had to bring his team along at a different pace than those that preceded it in the Duke dynasty. Getting talented youngsters, and Duke's freshmen are among the best in the country, doesn't translate directly into victories.

"Our kids have great attitudes, but they're just learning. This is a whole different experience for at least half of our team and for our whole team in the new roles that they're in," Krzyzewski said.

Duke's situation isn't that different from Georgia Tech's, but Duke can lean on veterans such as Chris Duhon and Dahntay Jones who have experienced an NCAA Tournament.

Bosh and fellow freshmen Jarrett Jack will be experiencing the Cameron Crazies, Duke's notoriously clever and raucous student section, for the first time. Not to mention the rush of playing the Blue Devils.

"That's one of the most popular stadiums in NCAA or basketball period," Bosh said. "I'm just looking forward to going in there and playing."