The next four weeks will determine Georgia Tech Basketball’s NCAA Tournament chances.
Over the next four weeks, the Georgia Tech basketball team will be finishing up their non-conference schedule with just seven games left until their conference schedule begins. In all honesty, the Jackets should only have two games that they shouldn’t be runaway favorites. Those two games are SEC opponents Tennessee and Georgia.
Both the Volunteers and Bulldogs this year have played extremely well. Both teams also have notable victories. The Volunteers have an upset victory over Purdue and played Villanova extremely close as well. On the other hand, the Bulldogs have a recent 83-81 victory over Saint Mary’s.
Like both the Vols and the Dawgs, the Jackets are off to a good start this season as well. After narrowly dropping the season opener to the then-ranked UCLA by just three points. After the near upset over UCLA, the Jackets have won five-straight including a recent and strong win over the Northwestern Wildcats on Tuesday night. The Jackets win over Northwestern is a good resume booster but with a tough conference slate, the Jackets will need more. To do so, the Jackets need to win out the rest of their non-conference schedule to maximize their tournament chances.
The “magic number” to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament appears to be around 20 wins. If the Jackets win out their non-conference schedule, including a game against Yale on January 6th, the Jackets would have 12 wins, 11 of those coming before their conference schedule begins.
With such a record, the Jackets would only need to find a way to eight conference games to reach that “magic number” of 20. Last season, the Jackets won just eight conference games, a majority of those coming at home. If the Jackets are going to make the tournament this season, they’ll have to find a way to win on the road.
The good news for the Jackets is that they’ve only gotten better with each game this season. When the defense doesn’t shine, the defense has and vice versa. They have simply found a different way to win each night the mark of a tournament team. They’ll have to continue to find ways to win games since not every game will be a runaway victory. The Jackets will continue to need a full team effort if they hope to make a tournament run this season.
The Jackets offense received a much-needed boost with the return of Tadric Jackson and could see a return from Josh Okogie in the upcoming weeks as well. Okogie is suspended for another two games but is also recovering from a hand injury. Once Okogie returns to the court, the Jackets will be able to compete with almost any team on their schedule, outside the Duke and North Carolina teams of the world.
Overall, the next few weeks, the Jackets tournament chances are going to become clearer. If they win out or even drop one, they’ll be in a good position to make a real run at the NCAA Tournament. If they drop games they shouldn’t and both matchups against Tennessee and Georgia, making a run at the tournament will take a fantastic ACC conference record.