Coming off a road loss at Syracuse, the No. 11 seed Yellow Jackets look to get back on track in the ACC Tournament against No. 14 Pittsburgh.
Georgia Tech (17-14, 8-10 ACC) goes into the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament as a solid NCAA bubble team, and will be led by the newly named conference Coach of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year in Josh Pastner and Ben Lammers.
The Yellow Jackets will no doubt get strong consideration for a spot in this year’s NCAA Tournament, but a win or two this week in New York would give any shot of a bid quite a boost.
Tech and Pitt will square off at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night. The winner will face No. 6 seed Virginia late Wednesday night.
Last Time Out:
To put it mildly, the Jackets got blown out by the Orange in Syracuse on Saturday, in a 90-61 loss in front of a large crowd at the Carrier Dome.
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The loss to Syracuse cost Georgia Tech a bye in the first round of the ACC Tournament, and a shot at finishing the regular season at .500 in conference play.
Newly named All-ACC Freshman Team member Josh Okogie led Tech with 16 points in the game, going 6-for-8 on field goals, and hitting 4-of-5 free throws.
Three other Yellow Jackets were also in double-digits Saturday, but defensively Georgia Tech let the game get away from them, especially beyond the arc.
Know the Opponent:
A little over a week ago, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh faced off at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, and the Jackets came away with a 62-51 win.
Pittsburgh (15-16, 4-14), also under a first-year head coach, didn’t have nearly the success Josh Pastner’s Yellow Jackets did in 2016-17, but still tend to play teams tough, especially through the first half.
Tech’s Ben Lammers put up 20 points in the win, while the Jackets held Pitt’s Michael Young to 16 points, and 37.7 percent on field goals. Tech beat Pitt on rebounds and in the turnover battle last time out.
Players to Watch:
Georgia Tech: C Ben Lammers
Lammers, the newly named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, had a big game against the Panthers back in late January, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t dominate the boards against Pitt again on Tuesday. Look for the Junior center to live up to his new title.
Pittsburgh: G Cameron Johnson
Sophomore guard Cameron Johnson had 13 points and four rebounds against Georgia Tech last month, and he’ll need to have a solid performance for his Pitt team to have any chance Tuesday night. Cameron exceeded his season averages against the Jackets last time out, and Pitt will need an even bigger performance out of him to move on in the ACC Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets have far more on the line Tuesday night, and need a win or two in the ACC Tournament to get on top of the NCAA bubble. Georgia Tech is clearly the better team, and has enough talent to get the job done in the ACC first round. Look for the Jackets to take Tuesday’s game, and move on to the second round.