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Georgia Tech Basketball Game Preview: Notre Dame Part 2

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Georgia Tech looks to keep their NCAA hopes alive in South Bend

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yellow Jacket basketball team will be back in action tonight for another round of Sunday night basketball. This time they head north to South Bend to try and sweep the season series against #21 Notre Dame. Georgia Tech won the first match in Atlanta, taking a thrilling, back-and-forth match when freshman guard Josh Okogie streaked down the court to lay-in the game winner as time expired. The win capped off one of the best weeks of Tech basketball in recent years and gave Tech 3 wins against Top 25 conference opponents on the season.

Since then, the Jackets have gone 2-4 in the ACC and dropped to the fringe of the NCAA Tournament discussion. Most recently, Tech suffered their worst loss of the season, per KenPom, falling at home to NC State and lame-duck head coach Mark Gottfried. The Irish’s loss to Tech was the second of four consecutive losses but they have since turned things around and are now the winners of four straight. Their last game was 8 days ago, also against NC State. Unlike Tech, Notre Dame took care of business, defeating the Pack 81-72 in Raleigh.

Resume Comparison

Team Record ACC Record AP Rank Bracketology RPI Rank KenPom Rank Record Against KenPom Top 50 Best Win Worst Loss
Team Record ACC Record AP Rank Bracketology RPI Rank KenPom Rank Record Against KenPom Top 50 Best Win Worst Loss
Georgia Tech 16-12 7-8 N/A 12 seed/Last 4 In 92 79 6-7 North Carolina (3) NC State (105)
Notre Dame 21-7 10-5 21 6 seed T-21 25 8-6 Louisville (7) at Georgia Tech (79)

Stat Comparison

Team PPG Opponent PPG FG% Opponent FG% 3FG% Opponent 3FG% FT% RPG Opponent RPG APG SPG BPG
Team PPG Opponent PPG FG% Opponent FG% 3FG% Opponent 3FG% FT% RPG Opponent RPG APG SPG BPG
Georgia Tech 68.0 66.8 43.8 39.6 34.8 32.8 68.5 36.4 36.2 15.6 6.4 6.3
Notre Dame 79.5 69.6 46.6 42.6 39.7 33.3 81.6 34.4 35.3 16.5 7.1 4.1

Projected Starters

Georgia Tech (16-12, 7-8)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 30 Corey Heyward Sr. 17.4 2.1 Played 38 min in win vs ND on 1/28
G 11 Josh Heath Sr. 29.8 5.7 9 pts, 8 asts, 5 steals in win vs ND on 1/28
G 5 Josh Okogie Fr. 29.5 15.6 17.6 ppg vs ACC
F 12 Quinton Stephens Sr. 32.6 9.9 7.8 rpg
C 44 Ben Lammers Jr. 34.9 14.7 9.3 rpg, 3.4 bpg
6th Man 1 Tadric Jackson Jr. 22.6 11.7 25 pts on 11-19 shooting in win vs ND on 1/28

#21 Notre Dame (21-7, 10-5)

Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
Position Number Name Year MPG PPG Notable
G 5 Matt Farrell Jr. 34.2 14.2 5.6 apg, 2.2 ast/TO
G 0 Rex Pflueger So. 20.3 4.7 40.4% 3FG%
G 32 Steve Vasturia Sr. 34.1 14.0 92.0% FT% (6th in NCAA)
F 3 V.J. Beachem Sr. 34.0 15.4 27 pts, 7-12 3FG at NCST on 2/18
F 35 Bonzie Colson Jr. 31.4 16.7 10.5 rpg
6th Man 2 T.J. Gibbs Fr. 15.3 5.3 18.8 mpg, 6.5 ppg over last 6 games

Player to Watch

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

G - Matt Farrell

When the All-ACC teams and awards are handed out in a week or so, the Most Improved Player will likely go to someone playing in tonight’s game. If Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers is the front runner, Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell is right there at his heels. Last season, Farrell hardly played in conference season but was thrust into a starting role during the Fighting Irish’s run to the Elite 8. With that experience under his belt, Farrell has emerged as the driving force behind Notre Dame’s success this season.

Farrell has been a solid defender his whole career (averages 1.6 steals in ACC play) but has taken a big step forward as a playmaker and distributor this season. Against ACC teams, Farrell has double digits in all but one game (8 points in a 71-54 loss to UVA) and has shot 47.2% on 3 pointers. He’s been equally effective setting up teammates, averaging 5.4 assists in conference play against 2.9 turnovers. When these two teams faced off earlier this season, Tech’s guards were able to hound Farrell and knock him a little bit off his game. Farrell was limited to 4 assists and turned the ball over 3 teams. He was also inefficent from the field, shooting 5-14 from the field. Tech will need to force Farrell to make similar mistakes tonight to steal a win.

What to Watch

Coming off quite possibly his worst game of the season, Ben Lammers will need to make a big impact for the Jackets to have much of a chance against the Irish. Lammers will be tasked with guarding ACC Player of the Year candidate Bonzie Colson. Colson is Notre Dame’s leading scorer and leads the ACC in rebounding despite measuring in at just 6’-5”. In the first meeting, the Notre Dame gave Colson plenty of help against Ben Lammers, playing senior forward Austin Torres a career-high 21 minutes but that goes against what the Irish have been doing in their 4 game winning streak. The start of the streak coincided with a shift to a 3 guard starting lineup, removing a traditional big man,such as Torres or Martinas Geben, in favor of another ball handler, such as Rex Pflueger or T.J. Gibbs. I’d expect Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to start off with the 3 guard lineup they’ve been having success with but wouldn’t be surprised to see Torres and/or Geben to get some extended run if Lammers starts going off.

A big key to this game for the Jackets will be to get some production from someone besides Lammers and leading scorer Josh Okogie. In the first meeting, Tadric Jackson had a massive game off the bench, scoring 25 points on 11-19 shooting. Jackson’s post game has been remarkably effective for a guard, but he’s had problems getting going on the road. Starting with the last Notre Dame game, Jackson has averaged 22.8 points in home games (4 vs ACC competition) and just 7.7 points (3 games) on the road. Getting that third productive scorer is a big deal for Tech and could be necessary to land the upset.

Where to Watch

The game tips off at 6:30 pm ET and will be broadcast on ESPNU.