After a gift home game versus Indiana on Tuesday night, the Jackets will host Belmont on Sunday afternoon in the National Invitation Tournament second round.
Belmont (23-6) gave the Yellow Jackets a double dose of joy on Wednesday night by beating Tech’s arch-rival No. 2 seed Georgia 78-69 in Athens to assure Jackets fans one more home game on the season.
The winner between Tech and Belmont will face No. 5 seed Ole Miss (22-13) at Madison Square Garden in the NIT quarterfinal round on Tuesday, March 21 on ESPN2. The Rebels took out No. 1 seed Syracuse on Saturday afternoon to advance. See the full tournament bracket HERE.
Last Time Out:
The Yellow Jackets were gifted a home game in the NIT opening round due to the fact that Indiana administrators thought attendance would be low with students on spring break, and Tech took full advantage with a convincing win.
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Coach Josh Pastner personally paid for over 1,100 Georgia Tech students to be admitted on Tuesday, and it paid off in part with a rowdy crowd on hand.
The ACC’s Defender of the Year Ben Lammers posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds against the Hoosiers, dominating the boards on both ends of the court.
Tech shot 48.2 on field goals and hit well over a third of their shots from beyond the arc.
Know the Opponent:
Belmont dominated a pretty good Ohio Valley Conference, winning the regular season with a 15-1 record, but lost to the third-place Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the conference tournament.
The Bruins, led by forward Evan Bradds in both points and rebounds-per-game, are averaging 77.4 points-per-game, and only allowing 69.2 as a team.
To match up with Georgia Tech’s impressive 16-4 home record this season, Belmont bosts an 11-3 road record of its own.
This year’s tournament is the fourth NIT appearance all-time for the Belmont basketball program. The Bruins have seven NCAA Tournament appearances in their history, all between 2006 and 2015.
Players to Watch:
Georgia Tech: G Josh Okogie
In Belmont’s game versus the Bulldogs last week, senior guard J.J. Frazier led UGA with 29 points, and did it without making a single three. The Bruins dominated the game, but couldn’t find an answer, individually speaking, for Frazier. If Tech’s freshman sensation Josh Okogie can get things working, he could also be a problem for Belmont Sunday.
Belmont: G Dyland Windler
Tech has fallen victim to a few hot three point shooters this season, and agaisnt UGA, Windler shot 3-for-6 from beyond three, and hit 7-of-11 of his field goals for 21 points on the night. If Windler or teammates Amanze Egekeze and Taylor Barnette get as warm as they were in Athens, it could end Tech’s season Sunday.
Belmont is a dangerous team, and probably deserved a shot at representing the Ohio Valley Conference in the NCAA Tournament more than Jacksonville State, but Georgia Tech is a battle hardened team with a bigger chip on its shoulder. Take the rowdy home crowd (even with students on spring break) and the Yellow Jackets for the win.