Georgia Tech broke through the conference win barrier on Saturday, topping Notre Dame, 74-69. The Jackets will go for their second straight conference win when they host the No.22 Pittsburgh Panthers at McCamish Pavilion on Tuesday night.
Game Time: 9:00 pm ET
Venue: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, GA
Series Record: Georgia Tech leads, 5-0
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech won, 111-92, on 12/28/89 in Atlanta, Ga.
Records: Pittsburgh (15-1 , 3-0 ACC), Georgia Tech (10-6, 1-2 ACC)
Current Odds: N/A
Injuries: GT – Travis Jorgensen, Out For Season (knee), Robert Carter Jr. (knee), out indefinitely; Pittsburgh – Durand Johnson (knee) out for season
TV: ESPNU/Watch ESPN
Radio: 106.7 FM
If Saturday’s game against Notre Dame is any indication of how this Georgia Tech team is coming together, the Pitt Panthers could be in for a long (and late) night at McCamish Pavilion on Tuesday night.
This is also the second straight game that Tech has faced an opponent they haven’t played in over two decades, so forget anything about conference familiarity in this ACC tilt.
This could be a statement game for the up and down Yellow Jackets, who have struggled against some quality opponents, and looked fantastic against others. Pittsburgh is a young, but well-coached one-loss team who just recently entered the top 25, and has yet to lose an ACC contest.
The young Panthers are led by 6-foot-5 G/F Lamar Patterson, who averages 17.9 ppg, and is also Pitt’s leader in 3-point shooting percentage at 43.7%. As Patterson goes, so go the Panthers. He is flanked by Talib Zanna, a 6-foot-9 senior from Nigeria who is a force in the paint and on the boards, averaging eight rebounds per game. The battle down low between Zanna and Georgia Tech center, Daniel Miller, will be something to watch all night.
Pittsburgh has a deep roster, and head coach Jamie Dixon is known for giving his bench a lot of minutes and rotating his players regularly. However, the Panthers depth has been reduced by one important role-player, Durand Johnson, who is out of the remainder of the season with a knee injury suffered in the win over Wake Forest on Saturday. Johnson was averaging 8.8 points, 3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in around 20 minutes per game.
The Panthers rely on ball movement a lot, and don’t take many bad shots, averaging 17.2 assists per game, good for 10th in the nation. Tech’s half-court defense will have to be at peak efficiency to keep Pitt from taking advantage.
Tech head coach Brian Gregory seems to have found a rotation that is working, and the guard play suddenly woke up against Notre Dame. Bench players Corey Heyward, Quinton Stephens, and Chris Bolden (who was 4-8 from beyond the arc against the Irish) are all contributing now, and Kammeon Holsey is getting his legs back as a starter, getting more minutes in place of the injured Robert Carter, Jr.
Momentum will be key, and hopefully the Jackets can carry the emotion of the big win over Notre Dame into Tuesdays late-nighter. The Yellow Jackets are also 8-1 on their home court, a stat not to be overlooked, as they looked like a completely different team against Notre Dame than they did the previous two road games against Maryland and Duke.