Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball was already a lock for the NCAA Tournament entering Saturday night but the Yellow Jackets decided that they would punch their ticket ahead of time. The Yellow Jackets won the 2020-21 ACC Tournament on Saturday night with an 80-75 win over the Florida State Seminoles.
The tournament championship is the Jackets first since the 1993 season and their fifth overall in program history. By bringing home the program’s first tournament championship in 28-years, the Jackets also clinched their first trip to The Big Dance since 2010. It also officially means that Josh Pastner fulfilled his promise when he was hired by Georgia Tech in April of 2016 that within five years, he would have the Jackets back in the NCAA Tournament.
The win did not come easily for the Yellow Jackets and a glance at the numbers would make you wonder how they came away with the victory if you didn’t watch. The Jackets shot 43.5% from the floor, a solid number but much lower than Florida State’s 56%. They were just 5-for-23 from beyond the arch, compared to Florida State’s 8-for-15 and they were outrebounded 36 to 24.
The difference in the game? The Jackets’ ability to force turnovers at an incredibly high rate. The Jackets forced Florida State into 24 turnovers including 14 steals, which tied an ACC Tournament record. The Jackets were strong in converting those turnovers into points, picking up 31 points off turnovers including 17 points off fastbreak opportunities. The Jackets also deserve a ton of credit for their own ball security, turning the ball over just seven times in the game, with only one of those being a Florida State steal.
Michael Devoe led the Yellow Jackets in points with 20 points, one of four Jackets to finish with double-digit efforts. Jordan Usher continued his hot play, totaling 15 points in the game as well as three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright had 15 points and eight rebounds while Jose Alvarado posted 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, and five steals.
The victory over Florida State also continues what has been an incredible run for the Yellow Jackets over the last month. Since February 14, the Jackets have won eight straight games. It’s the first time the program has won at least eight games in a row since the 2003-04 season. That season, the Jackets would go onto make a run all the way to the NCAA Tournament Finals, before falling to UConn 82-73.
The trip to the NCAA Tournament will be the fifth that Josh Pastner has made as a head coach and his ninth overall as a head coach or player. He made it to four-straight seasons as a player with the Arizona Wildcats from the 1996-97 season to the 1999-00 season which included a tournament title in 1997. He then made it four-straight seasons with the Memphis Tigers as their head coach from the 2011-11 season to the 2013-14 season.
Now with an ACC Tournament championship on their resume, the Jackets will see a nice boost to their NCAA Tournament resume as a power conference automatic qualifier. The Jackets entered the evening as a projected 10-seed per Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology on ESPN but could see themselves earn a bump up quite a bit, giving them a much better first-round matchup.
They’ll have to now just wait patiently to see who’ll they’ll end up playing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when the 64-team bracket is announced at 6:00 p.m. on CBS, on Sunday night.