After a close 68-64 loss to Louisville on Wednesday night, the Georgia Tech basketball team has entered must win territory in their schedule.
Georgia Tech men’s basketball on Wednesday night put together a fantastic effort against the No.6 ranked Louisville Cardinals. However, the Jackets came up just short in the effort and fell to the Cardinals 68-64.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, the loss pushes their record to 8-11 overall to go along with a conference record 3-6. Some, such as ourselves and Michael Cunningham of the AJC not too long ago thought perhaps the Jackets could find their way to the NCAA Tournament. Now, it seems that is pretty unlikely, however, if the Jackets are going to do so, it begins on Saturday against North Carolina State. It’s safe to say that Saturday for the Yellow Jackets postseason dreams is a “must win” situation.
As discussed before here at Yellow Jacked Up, Saturday for the Yellow Jackets begins the rest of a manageable schedule in the regular season. At 8-11, the Yellow Jackets have 12 games remaining this season. IF the Jackets found a way to win all 12, a tournament bid would seem likely especially if they were able to advance a round or two in the ACC Tournament.
While manageable the Jackets schedule isn’t exactly a cake walk either, raising the stakes of Saturday’s game. Outside of their game against Division II opponent Morehouse next Tuesday night, no game is really an “easy win” for the Yellow Jackets.
Everyone on their schedule the rest of the way has a winning record as of right now, that being said, the Jackets have shown the ability to play strong teams tough throughout this season. With games against Virginia Tech, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and of course NC State, the Jackets will have a few tough games remaining with little wiggle room available.
Over their last few opportunities against some of the ACC’s best, it’s been a story of strong starts but not being able to hold on in the end, that must change going forward if the Jackets are going to have a chance to even see the NCAA Tournament.
IF the Yellow Jackets are going to make a run, it will take them playing their best basketball continuously the rest of the season especially on offense. Currently, the Jackets offense is ranked 317th in the country, averaging 67.2 points per game. In fact, the only offensive stats that the Yellow Jackets crack the top-100 in nationally is two-pointers and two-point attempts. Beyond that, the Jackets only crack the top-150 in only one other category. If the Jackets offense continues to be bottom third in the country, they won’t stand a chance down the stretch even if the defense plays up to expectations.
The good news entering Saturday for the Jackets is that they have already defeated NC State once this season. The Jackets were able to start their season off on the right foot back in November with an 82-81 overtime victory over the Wolfpack in Raleigh. The Wolfpack since have been terrific, going 14-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play. That being said, it’s always hard to beat the same team twice in one season.
In reality, the NCAA Tournament was always a long shot for the Jackets in 2019-20, however the possibility still remains for the Jackets entering Saturday. The Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack will tip off at 4:00 pm on Saturday at McCamish Pavillion.