If Georgia Tech basketball wants to make the NCAA Tournament this season, they’ll need to find a way to win on the road.
Yesterday, it was discussed how McCamish Pavillion was once again being turned into “The Thrillerdome”. The Yellow Jackets through Josh Pastner’s 42-games has an outstanding 20-4 record at home, which included several thrilling victories including a trio of upsets.
Away from McCamish, the Jackets struggle mightily, to say the least. In the 18 games, the Jackets have played away from McCamish Pavillion, the Jackets own a record of 5-13, a winning percentage of just .277.
As Pastner and the team knows, it simply isn’t good enough for the Jackets if they hope to make the NCAA Tournament. The Jackets won a record 17 home games last season, yet they struggled to win on the road, winning just three of 13 true away games. At neutral sites, the Jackets are 2-3.
The Jackets struggles are no secret and in reality, they’re inabilities to win away from home kept them from a tournament appearance last season. This season, if the Jackets want to make a run at the NCAA Tournament, they’ll have to play closer to .500 ball on the road. The Jackets road schedule this season isn’t all too hard at all. The Jackets remaining road schedule looks like the following;
at #5 Notre Dame
at #13 North Carolina
at Florida State
at Boston College
at #17 Louisville
at Wake Forest
at #18 Virginia
At first glance, the Jackets road schedule the rest of the season features four games they should win in Wofford, Pittsburgh, Boston College, and Clemson. Obviously, the four games against ranked opponents will all be difficult and are probable losses. That means the three remaining games against Georgia, Florida State, and Wake Forest could make or break the Jackets season.
If the Jackets continue their success at home that they have had over the course of the last 24 home games, they’re on track to win 12 out of their last 15 home games. That would set the Jackets up with 16 wins this season.
With the “magic number” of 20 to have a strong shot at making the NCAA Tournament, the Jackets will need at least four away wins to have a shot at winning 20 games. If the Jackets win all their road conference games that they SHOULD, they’ll be at 20 wins.
Which comes down to those three remaining games against Georgia, Florida State, and Wake Forest. If the Jackets win all three or even two of those three games, their tournament chances go way up. If they don’t, the Jackets will need a bit of luck on their side to go dancing this spring.
It doesn’t matter how the Jackets get it done but they must win on the road this season to have a shot to make the NCAA Tournament. Winning just three games on the road again, will not be acceptable for the Yellow Jackets, they’ll have to at least double that win total. A failure to do so could mean a disappointing end to the season for the Jackets. That being said, the fact that it’s even being discussed as a possibility just two years into Josh Pastner’s tenure at Tech is just a testament to how strong of a coach and program builder Pastner is.