GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets begin a three-game road trip on Wednesday night when they visit the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for an ACC clash at Purcell Pavilion.
Georgia Tech dropped a 63-55 decision to Clemson to finish off a four-game homestand this past Saturday. The loss was the fourth in the last five games for the Yellow Jackets, who are hovering just below .500 overall (13-14), but are among one of the worst teams when it comes to conference play (4-10). They host Florida State and Syracuse in their next two outings.
While Georgia Tech's struggles this season have not been unexpected, Notre Dame, a team that began the year in the Top-25, has been surprisingly weak. The Fighting Irish have dropped back-to-back decisions, and are just 14-14 overall, including a 5-10 success rate in league play during its first year as a member of the ACC. They will deal with former Big East rival Pittsburgh next.
When these teams met on Jan. 11, Georgia Tech pulled out a 74-69 victory. The Yellow Jackets now own a 7-2 edge in the all-time series.
Georgia Tech led by as many as nine points in the second half against Clemson, but fell short with poor shooting down the stretch. The Yellow Jackets only sank 37.5 percent of their shots from the floor in the second frame, while being outscored, 34-20, in the paint.
The Yellow Jackets are certainly not one of the premier offensive squads in the ACC. They are only netting 66.7 ppg and shooting 43.7 percent from the floor. However, they have played reasonably well on defense, holding foes to 66.9 ppg on 41.9 percent shooting. Trae Golden (13.1 ppg) leads the offensive effort as one of three players scoring in double figures. He had a team-high 17 points against Clemson. Providing depth on the scoreboard are Marcus Georges-Hunt (12 ppg) and Daniel Miller (11.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.4 bpg), who is second in the ACC in blocks.
Notre Dame's most recent setback was a 70-49 verdict against Virginia. The Irish hung around with the nationally-ranked Cavaliers until the middle of the second half, but with the game tied at 43-43 with 11:25 to play, UVA went on an astounding 25-0 run to seal UND's fate.
The Irish are at least producing on offense more effectively than their counterpart in this contest, as they rank third in the ACC in scoring (72.4 ppg), while shooting a solid 45.4 percent from the floor. However, Notre Dame is extremely weak on the boards, ranking 13th rebounding (34.6 rpg). Garrick Sherman (13.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Pat Connaughton (13.4 ppg, 7 rpg) can each score and rebound, although Connaughton spends the bulk of his playing time out on the perimeter. Connaughton was the only player to reach double figures against Virginia, tallying 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Eric Atkins (13.4 ppg, 4.6 apg) is a solid point guard, but had only four points and a single assist the last time out.
When it has played at home, Notre Dame has found some success, with a 12-5 mark at Purcell Pavilion. The Irish will need their core trio to bounce back from a rough outing against the Cavs in order to take home a win this time around.
Game Date and Time