After earning an automatic qualifying bid on Saturday night with an ACC Tournament Finals victory over the Florida State Seminoles, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (17-8, 11-6) did not have too much to worry about entering Sunday evening. The biggest question for the Jackets entering Sunday was simply where they would be seeded, what “region” they would be playing out of, and who their first opponent would be.
All those questions have now been answered. in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2009-10 season, the Yellow Jackets were named the No.9 in the Midwest regional. The Jackets’ first-round opponent in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament will be the Missouri Valley Conference’s Loyola-Chicago Ramblers who went 24-4 (16-2) this season which included both a regular-season championship and a MVC Tournament Championship. You likely remember the Ramblers from their run to the Final Four three years ago in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
The Jackets and Ramblers will tipoff on Friday, a game-time nor a network has yet to be announced. The Jackets are 11-5 all-time in first-round games, their last first-round exit coming in the 2007 NCAA Tournament in a 67-63 loss to No.7 UNLV as the No.10 seed. In their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010, the Jackets were a No.10 seed in the Midwest regional, defeating the No.7 seed Oklahoma State in the first round before falling to the No.2 seed Ohio State in the second round.
The Yellow Jackets enter the NCAA Tournament on an eight-game winning streak and have not lost for a calendar month now, their last loss coming on February 14. Over that stretch, they’ve picked up two ranked wins as well with victories over No.22 Virginia Tech on February 23 and of course their ACC Tournament Finals victory over No.15 Florida State on Saturday night. It has been quite the run for Josh Pastner’s program and is one that took the ACC by storm over the last month.
If the Jackets were to defeat the Ramblers on Friday, they would advance to the Round of 32 to face the winner of the Midwest Region’s No.1 seed, the Illinois Fighting Illini and the No.16 seed Drexel Dragons. The top two seeds in the Midwest Region are the aforementioned Illinois Fighting Illini (23-6) and the Houston Cougars (24-3).