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Georgia Tech Basketball: Notre Dame Preview

The injured Yellow Jackets take on the injured Fighting Irish

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech is currently in the throes of some injury difficulty. Jose Alvarado is expected to miss tonight’s game, as are Brandon Alston and AD Gueye (both Gueye and Alvarado will be evaluated in the shootaround, but both are doubtful). Tech’s opponent, Notre Dame, is unlikely to feel bad for Tech given their extreme injury issues. Notre Dame is down starters Rex Pflueger and Juwan Durham as well as depth piece Robby Carmody. Additionally a senior captain, Elijah Burns, transferred out mid-year. This game will not see two teams who are at their best.

Notre Dame is led by juniors TJ Gibbs and John Mooney. Gibbs leads the team with 14.1 points per game from the guard spot and is a great creator with 4 assists per game. Mooney is a solid center averaging 14 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, slowing him down will be key. Mooney also excels from behind the arc which will challenge Tech’s perimeter defense. Sophomore wing DJ Harvey is also a threat with 11.6 points per game. Those three are joined by the freshman trio of PG Prentiss Hub, Wing Dane Goodwin, and PF Nate Laszewski. All three are struggling to be efficient in their enlarged offensive roles. The Tech defense should focus on Gibbs, Mooney and Harvey. The Irish also just dropped the redshirt on freshman forward Chris Doherty, so we may see him as well.

Offensively this team is actually pretty decent despite the lack of scoring depth coming in at 71st in the country per kenpom. They don’t shoot the ball well at only 48.9 eFG% (245th in the country), but they make up for that by never turning the ball over with a 13.8 TO% (2nd in the country). Ideally we’d see Tech’s defense being aggressive and tight and forcing Notre Dame to hit tough shots, especially the freshmen.

Defensively Notre Dame ranks 108th in the country by kenpom. The most exceptional part about the defense is that they’re 1st in the country in FTA/FGA, which means they very rarely foul. That helps them keep all their players available with the short bench. Unfortunately for Tech, the Irish are very good at defending inside the arc while having some vulnerability behind it. That does not fit well with Tech’s style and lack of shooting.

Notre Dame has struggled with the injuries to open ACC play. They are 1-4 with the lone win at home against BC. They also have road losses to UNC and VT along with home losses to Syracuse and NC State. It should be noted that they have played the last 2 games (UNC and NC State) very close against good teams. Following Tech the Irish will face Virginia and Duke back-to-back so they will be desperate to get a win here.

This game will take place at McCamish tonight at 7 pm Eastern. The game will be available on WatchESPN. My prediction is that Notre Dame takes this one. Tech is not the same without Alvarado and the Irish look like they may be adjusting to the losses. Unless Tech can figure something out on offense this one will be another loss. Hopefully the home crowd can help stir the Yellow Jackets to victory.