When the Fighting Irish visited McCamish Pavilion nearly a month ago, they left stunned after losing a 62-60 thriller to the Yellow Jackets. The win was a huge boost to Tech, and the second loss in a four-game losing streak for Notre Dame, a team that has since rebounded.
Georgia Tech (16-12, 7-8 ACC) has won three of their last five games and will be looking to get back on track after falling short in a comeback effort to North Carolina State in Atlanta Tuesday night.
The talk of college basketball, Josh Pastner’s Yellow Jackets didn’t do themselves any favors in the NCAA Tournament picture in their last loss, but still have much to play for in their final three games, all of which are conference matchups.
The Jackets will get a chance to sweep Notre Dame (21-7, 10-5 ACC) for the season, as they visit Purcell Pavilion in South Bend on Sunday evening.
Last Time Out:
Having already beat NC State on the road earlier in the year, Tech went for the season sweep of the Wolfpack Tuesday night at home, but couldn’t seem to get their complete game working.
Tech played from behind most of the game, going into halftime down nine, but made a 6-0 run to start the second half. Tech couldn’t get enough open looks from beyond the arc, and Ben Lammers couldn’t get much penetration inside, missing short jumpers when he was actually able to shoot.
The Yellow Jackets may have played their best basketball in a while in the last two minutes or so of the game Tuesday, finally succumbing to a 71-69 loss, and making the game seem much closer than it was for most of the night.
Know the Opponent:
Notre Dame has won four straight games, after having dropped four in a row earlier prior to that. The Irish are tied with Duke and Louisville for third place in the ACC and are ranked No. 21 in the nation by the Associated Press, and No. 17 in the Coaches Poll.
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The Irish are averaging 79.5 points-per-game, while only giving up 69.6, and are 14-2 at home so far this season. Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, Notre Dame is 3-0 against Georgia Tech in South Bend.
Players to Watch:
Georgia Tech: G Tadric Jackson
Junior guard Tadric Jackson led the Yellow Jackets with 25 points against Notre Dame at home back in January in 26 minutes off the bench. Tech will need bench production, especially from Jackson to supplement points if the Jackets plan to keep up with the Irish.
Notre Dame: G V.J. Beachem
Senior forward V.J. Beachem had a solid game in Atlanta last month, getting 37 minutes as a starter, matching the game’s leading scorer in Tech’s Tadric Jackson from beyond the arc, going 3-6. The Irish will look for Beachem to repeat, or surpass his last performance against the Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets seem to be faltering of late, and can’t seem to put a complete game together, which will make a road win against a top-25 ranked team tough. It wouldn’t be the first time Tech slayed a giant, however, including the Irish this very year.
If Tech can get production out of its usual suspects, and keep the costly mistakes and turnovers down, a win at South Bend is possible, but the Irish have been too good at home this season. Look for the Jackets to keep it respectable, but Notre Dame will be too much to handle.