After taking down No. 9 North Carolina in Atlanta a week ago, then losing terribly to No. 8 Duke in Durham on Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets will face their third straight top 10 team to open Atlantic Coast Conference play this season with Louisville coming into McCamish Saturday at 2 p.m.
Georgia Tech enters Saturday’s game 9-5, and 1-1 in ACC play. Meanwhile 12-3 Louisville comes in at 12-3 and ranked No. 9 in America, but is 0-2 in conference play with recent losses to Virginia and Notre Dame.
In 2015-16 the Jackets and Cardinals faced off twice with close finishes each time, resulting in losses for Georgia Tech. Louisville beat Tech at McCamish 75-71 early on last season, and 56-53 later in the year in Kentucky.
Last Time Out:
After a stunning upset of North Carolina on New Years Eve, Georgia Tech had an absolutely miserable outing on the road at Duke in what will be Mike Krzyzewski’s last game for a few weeks due to surgery, and what was controversially an early return from Grayson Allen off suspension.
The Jackets never got much of anything going versus the Blue Devils on Wednesday, losing 110-57. It’s difficult to find a bright spot in a 53 point conference loss, and in this case there really wasn’t one.
After the loss, Jackets head coach Josh Pastner said “the way Duke was shooting, it’s like they were standing on a pier shooting into the ocean tonight.”
Even with the ugly loss at Durham, the Yellow Jackets have won five of their last seven games, but lost to Ohio and Georgia on their home court.
Know the Opponent:
Louisville desperately needs an ACC win – especially on the road – to hang onto a top 10 ranking as the season progresses, and will be looking to make an example of the Yellow Jackets Saturday.
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That being said, prior to becoming Georgia Tech’s head coach, Josh Pastner went 2-2 versus the Cardinals while at Memphis.
Going into Saturday, Louisville is shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from behind the three point line. The Cards are averaging 41.6 rebounds per game while holding other teams to 35.8 rebounds per game.
Players to Watch:
Georgia Tech: F Josh Okogie
While Tech lost terribly, Okogie still led the Jackets with 11 points versus Duke, going 5/11 and making one of two free throws. He’ll need to continue his impressive freshman breakthrough for Georgia Tech to survive against Louisville.
Louisville: G Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell leads the ACC with 2.3 steals per game, which is good enough for 18th nationally. The sophomore guard has five steals against Notre Dame alone, giving him 34 through 15 games this season.
In conclusion, while the Yellow Jackets may keep it close at points on Saturday but in the end, expect Louisville to have just too much scoring talent like Duke and eventually pull away for an easy win in the second half.