HOOPS Preview: Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech
NOTRE DAME (12-11, 2-8 ACC) VS GEORGIA TECH (11-12, 3-7 ACC)
Where: Purcell Pavilion (Notre Dame, Ind.)
Rankings: Both teams are unranked.
TV/Time: ESPNU, 6 p.m. ET.
Series Facts: The Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series 11-8.
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech defeated the Irish 63-61 on Jan. 22, 2019 in Atlanta.
Notre Dame and Georgia Tech will meet for the second time this season on Sunday evening with the latter looking for the sweep of the series.
The Irish are coming off their worst offensive performance of the year with a season-low 47 points against Miami on the road. However, the Yellow Jackets have lost four-straight contests since defeating Notre Dame last month.
Blue & Gold Illustrated previews both teams before they square off tonight.
NOTRE DAME OVERVIEW
There really aren’t words to describe Notre Dame’s performance on Wednesday against Miami. But, something along the lines on terrible and quite frankly inexcusable comes to mind.
After a strong offensive effort against Boston College, the Irish started off hot versus the Hurricanes scoring 13 points in less than four minutes. However, Mike Brey’s group scored just 34 points over the final 36 minutes to fall 62-47.
Wing DJ Harvey netted 14 points in the loss, while forward John Mooney’s streak of double-doubles ended with 11 points and six rebounds.
The starting guard trio of TJ Gibbs (2), Prentiss Hubb (3) and Nik Djogo (4) combined for nine points on 4-of-22 shooting overall and 1-of-15 on three-point attempts.
Forward Juwan Durham scored eight points off the bench while forward Nate Laszewski added five points of his own. Guard Dane Goodwin and forward Chris Doherty were held scoreless.
There was a lack of flow, rhythm and movement for the Irish over the final 30-plus minutes in which there seemed to be a lid on the basket.
It was quite the contrast from the team’s offense against Boston College where Notre Dame shot over 50 percent in both halves and finished 50 percent behind the arc.
Now, the Irish will aim to reverse their woes against a Georgia Tech team that held them in check earlier this year.
Notre Dame hit just 21-of-65 (32.3 percent) from the field and 7-of-30 (23.3 percent) on three-point attempts. It was Mooney (22) and Laszewski (19) who led the way against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, while the rest of the Irish combined for 20 points.
Can Notre Dame conquer the zone this time around?
GEORGIA TECH OVERVIEW
After taking down Notre Dame last month in Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets have not won a league game falling to Duke (66-53), North Carolina (77-54), Florida State (59-49) and Clemson (65-42).
Georgia Tech failed to score over 54 points in those four contests with just one game shooting over 35 percent from the field.
Against the Irish last month, the Yellow Jackets shot 46.2 percent overall and will aim to do the same this evening in South Bend.
Guard Jose Alvarado (12.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.4 APG) and center James Banks (10.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG) led the way down in Atlanta with 16 points each to help propel Georgia Tech to a win. Forward Abdoulaye Gueye (7.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG) added 13 points, while guard Michael Devoe (8.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG) notched 11 points.
Guard Curtis Haywood (6.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.3 APG) went scoreless in the starting lineup, but forward Khalid Moore (4.5 PPG) added seven points off the bench. Forwards Moses Wright (4.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG), Evan Cole (4.6 PPG) and guard Shembari Phillips (2.3 PPG) all went scoreless to round out the rotation for Josh Pastner that January evening.
Guard Brandon Alston missed the last meeting between the two programs, but will be back for this one. He scored 11 points against the Tigers in Georgia Tech’s last time out.
Notre Dame struggled with Georgia Tech’s zone in the first meeting, which will be the Yellow Jackets’ main goal in this one as they aim to pick up a second-straight win in the series.
Both teams enter tonight’s matchup in need of a confidence boost with Georgia Tech on a losing streak, and the Irish fresh off a rough performance against the Hurricanes.
At one point versus Miami, Notre Dame missed 15-straight three-point attempts after a 3-of-4 start. The Irish will need to hit open shots on the perimeter against Georgia Tech’s zone to stretch it out as much as possible. Brey’s group went 7-of-30 from deep in January’s game.
Getting the ball in the middle will be a big key as well, so keep an eye on Mooney, Durham and company around the free throw line if open jumpers are there. Quality passing will be necessary as well.
Notre Dame 64, Georgia Tech 60
I’m not expecting anything other than a low-scoring grind it out type of contest in this one.
That’s how most of the matchups between these two teams seem to be and neither is good enough on offense at this point to really cause a lot of damage with their respective slower tempos.
It is obvious, but this one will come down to which team is more efficient offensively. Georgia Tech was last month at home, and I think the Irish will be able to do just a bit more given the game is in South Bend.
Notre Dame wins a close one that comes down to the final minutes.