Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech Prediction, Game Preview

    Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech prediction and game preview. The Fighting Irish look to win their fifth straight game, while the Yellow Jackets look to remain in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

    February 26, 2017

    Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech prediction and game preview. The Fighting Irish look to win their fifth straight game, while the Yellow Jackets look to remain in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

    Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech Game Preview

    When: Sunday, Feb. 26 – 6:30 p.m. ET
    Where: Purcell Pavilion, South Bend, IN
    TV Broadcast: ESPNU

    Mike Brey’s No. 21 Fighting Irish (21-7, 10-5 ACC) have won four straight games, with the latest victory being an 81-72 conquest over NC State in Raleigh last Saturday. The Irish have been playing much better basketball as of late and have a chance to land a double-round bye in the ACC Tournament. In the win over NC State, forward V.J. Beachem scored 27 points and hit a career-high seven 3-pointers.

    Meanwhile, Josh Pastner and the Yellow Jackets (16-12, 7-8) suffered a brutal blow to their NCAA Tournament chances with a home loss to the Wolfpack this past Tuesday night. Terry Henderson scored 21 points and Dennis Smith Jr. added 18 in a 71-69 Wolfpack win. Georgia Tech began the night 6-1 at home in league play, but Josh Okogie’s 25 points weren’t enough. The Jackets struggled from the floor all night and looked fatigued following a big win the previous Sunday over Syracuse. The short rest was noticeable.

    The Irish and Yellow Jackets met on January 28 in Atlanta, where Okogie made a layup as time expired to help claim a 62-60 win.

    Notre Dame Wins If …

    … The Fighting Irish are able to be fluid offensively, spreading the floor and getting good looks from outside for Beachem. Twenty-one of his 27 points in the win over NC State came via the 3-pointer. Notre Dame ranks second in the nation behind UCLA in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.68, so playing clean basketball against a tough GT defense will go a long way toward victory and extending its win streak to five games. Getting to the free throw line would also help. Notre Dame has shot at least 80 percent from the foul line in 16 games this season and lead the nation in percentage at 81.

    Brey and Co. will also be successful if Bonzie Colson can hold his own against Ben Lammers. The Irish junior forward is first in the ACC in rebounding, third in field goal percentage and sixth in blocked shots. Battling the bigger Lammers will be a tough test, though.

    Georgia Tech Wins If …

    … The Yellow Jackets get a typical solid game from Lammers. In the team’s crushing loss to NC State, the big man looked fatigued, going just 1 of 9 from the field. The nation’s second-leading shot blocker was largely ineffective against the Wolfpack. Plus, the Jackets just couldn’t get their shots to go down. Not even layups. Lammers needs to be disruptive defensively, and he has the ability to hit shots near the perimeter too. He unquestionably needs to be one of the best players on the floor against the Irish.

    Versatile Tadric Jackson had 17 points while underappreciated Quinton Stephens added 11 points and 10 rebounds in the win over NC State. Similar contributions will be needed for a group that is ranked 257th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The good news is that GT is 8th in defensive efficiency, so ND will have to work for its points.

    Matchup To Watch

    Matt Farrell vs. Okogie

    Farrell is averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 assists over his last five contests. He leads an offense that looks a lot different from the one that GT saw in the first meeting. ND now goes with a four-guard lineup along with power forward Colson, so the Irish are able to spread teams out. Sophomore guard Rex Pflueger has moved into the starting lineup, and Farrell is playing great ball, aided by the changes on offense. Georgia Tech needs to have multiple players producing offensively, but Okogie is the star. And, at this point of the year, star freshmen need to elevate their game.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Notre Dame -12.5
    Over/Under: No line as of post

    Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech Prediction

    These teams played a memorable game a few weeks back. The Irish will have had seven days of rest, last playing on February 18. The well-rested bunch will take care of business at home as it did to GT in South Bend last season, further crippling GT’s NCAA hopes.

    Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech final score prediction: Notre Dame 70, Georgia Tech 63

    MORE: Louisville vs. Syracuse Prediction, Game Preview


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