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Notre Dame Basketball: Georgia Tech Preview - Round 2

After a week long hiatus, Notre Dame looks to make it five in a row as they take on Georgia Tech.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina State at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The No.21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21-7, 10-5 ACC) will be back in action on Sunday evening when they take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-12, 7-8 ACC). It has been a quiet week for the Irish since they’ve had the whole week off per ACC scheduling. Notre Dame last played on February 18th when they took down the NC State Wolfpack, 81-72.

The Irish and Yellow Jackets met back on January 28th in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets came away victorious 62-60, as freshman guard Josh Okogie made a layup as time expired. Notre Dame is fully rested coming into this one, and with it being at Purcell Pavilion, this could be a different game this time around.

Game Notes

  • Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 9-6, but ND is 5-2 vs. GT at home
  • Notre Dame won last year’s meeting in South Bend, 72-64
  • Georgia Tech is ranked 80th on KenPom.com. Notre Dame is ranked 26th.
  • Georgia Tech is ranked 257th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 8th in defensive efficiency
  • Notre Dame’s win over NC State last Saturday clinched the 11th time in the Mike Brey era that the Irish have won at least 10 conference games
  • Notre Dame has won 20 or more games for the 13th time in 17 seasons under Brey. He is now tied with Digger Phelps for most 20 win seasons in Notre Dame history
  • Since the 2014-15 season Notre Dame has won 77 games, the most in a three year span in school history. It surpasses the mark of 74 wins set from 2010-2013
  • Notre Dame is second the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.68, one spot behind UCLA
  • Notre Dame has won four in a row, which is currently the longest streak in the ACC
  • Junior forward Bonzie Colson ranks in the top 10 of six stat categories in the ACC. He’s first in rebounding and defensive rebounding, third in field goal %, fifth in offensive rebounding, sixth in blocked shots and 10th in free throw %
  • Notre Dame has shot at least 80% from the foul line in 16 games this season. They lead the nation in FT% at 81%
  • Junior guard Matt Farrell is averaging 15.8 PPG over his last five contests. He also is also averaging 5.8 assists in that span
  • Farrell is second in the ACC in APG at 5.5, just behind NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr.
  • VegasInsider.com has Notre Dame as a 12.5 point favorite

When: Sunday, February 27th, 2017, 6:30pm ET

Where: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN

How to Watch: ESPNU or WatchESPN

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-12, 7-8 ACC)

After knocking off Notre Dame back on January 28th, first year coach Josh Pastner and the Yellow Jackets were the talk of the ACC. They had beaten the likes of North Carolina, Florida State and as mentioned Notre Dame. Because of this there was some NCAA Tournament buzz around the Yellow Jackets (pardon the pun). Pastner was even getting some love as a potential National Coach of the Year.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina State at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Since then Georgia Tech’s season has gone 3-4 and their NCAA Tournament hopes are hanging by a thread. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has the Yellow Jackets as one of the last four teams in. A win at Notre Dame would help bolster their chances that much more. Its also one of the last chances Georgia Tech has to pick up a quality win.

Three Weaknesses

Three-point Shooting: The Yellow Jackets shot just 25% from three in the first meeting down in Atlanta. For the year they’re shooting 34% from beyond the arc, which ranks last in the ACC and 193rd nationally. If they do fall behind, don’t count on Tech to make a bunch of threes.

Close Shot Offense: Georgia Tech ranks 293rd in FG% at the rim this season, as they make just 55% of their shots from there. Forward Ben Lammers is their best post option. The Yellow Jackets are shooting just 43% from the field this season, that ranks dead last in the ACC.

Turnovers (Both Ends): Tech struggles coughing up turnovers, as well as forcing them. They rank 295th in turnovers per game (14 PG) and 193rd in opponents turnovers per game (13 PG). In the first meeting, Georgia Tech committed 15 turnovers and forced 11.

Three Strengths

Rim Protection: Georgia Tech is one of the best teams in the country at defending the rim. They rank 3rd nationally in blocked shots per game at 6.3. They also rank 14th in opponents FG% at the rim.

Scoring Defense: Along with Louisville and Virginia, Georgia Tech is one of the better defensive teams in the conference. They’re surrendering just a touch over 67 PPG, (54th nationally), and they rank third in the ACC in opponents FG%. In the previous matchup, they held the Irish to 40% from the floor — well under their season average of 46%.

Three-point defense: Opponents are shooting just 32% from the outside this season vs. the Yellow Jackets, which ranks 67th overall and 4th in the conference. In the first meeting Notre Dame shot 41% (7-17) from the outside.

Yellow Jackets to Watch

Josh Okogie - 6’4”, Guard, Freshman

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

Okogie, a top 15 scorer in the ACC, was pretty much held in check in the meeting down in Atlanta. He had just 8 points on 2-5 shooting and 6 rebounds. Of course though, he had the biggest bucket of the game with his layup at the buzzer. It’s hard to expect Okogie to be as ineffective the second time around. His last time out, he went for 25 points on 11-17 shooting in a loss to NC State.

Ben Lammers - 6’10”, Forward, Junior

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina State at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Lammers posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting. The ACC’s leading shot blocker also posted a game high 3 blocked shots. Notre Dame did find a way to neutralize Lammers in the second half of that game, as he had just 6 points and 2 rebounds in the second half. Two games ago against Syracuse he had one of his best games of the year, as he scored 25 points, pulled down 7 boards and blocked 7 shots.

Tadric Jackson - 6’2”, Guard, Sophomore

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson exploded for 25 points in 24 minutes off the bench in the initial meeting between these two schools. He’s playing some of his best ball of late. In his last four Jackson is averaging 18.7 PPG and is shooting 49% from the field. He’s also one of Georgia Tech’s best three-point threats at 38%. Even with his hot stretch of play, its hard to expect a repeat performance of the first game for Jackson.

Pick to Click

Matt Farrell - 6’1”, Guard, Junior

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

During the rout of Florida State two weeks ago I vowed I’d go with Farrell for the rest of the season. He was on a tear going into this week long break, but I think it will only help him recharge for the final push. I like Farrell in this one.

Prediction

Notre Dame 78 - Georgia Tech 62

I just have a feeling that this is one of those games where Notre Dame will be out for blood. They need this win to keep their hopes for a double bye in the ACC Tournament alive. I think they’ll get ahead and then step on the throttle. The Irish should be all rested up and Georgia Tech is coming off a tough loss to NC State on Tuesday.

Notre Dame can absolutely not make this a half court game. We saw vs. Virginia and we saw it in the first meeting with Georgia Tech, if it becomes a grind it out type of game where its in the 60s, it probably doesn’t bode well for the Irish.

They must make shots, but I have faith in Farrell, Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem to make that happen. Also, I think this will begin a three-game stretch where Bonzie Colson firmly states his case for ACC Player of the Year.

Oh and one more thing...WEAR THE GOLD JERSEYS!

All stats from TeamRankings.com, HoopMath.com, KenPom.com, ESPN.com, UND.com