After a grueling and at times painful non-conference schedule, ACC league play is finally here as the Notre Dame men’s basketball team (10-3) will square off against the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (6-6). Saturday’s match-up is set for a 2:00 pm ET tip-off at Purcell Pavilion.
Saturday’s game marks the first of 2 games between the Irish and Yellow Jackets within an 11 day span. It marks the 17th meeting between the two sides, within the Ramblin’ Wreck leading the all-time series 9-7. The last match ended in a win for the Irish by a score of 64-60 at Purcell Pavilion where Georgia Tech has yet to beat the Irish.
Georgia Tech will recognize a familiar face on the Notre Dame sidelines Saturday afternoon as Notre Dame assistant coach Rod Balanis will face his alma mater. Balanis played at Tech from 1990-1994, and notched 2 Sweet 16 berths, as well as a Final Four appearance.
There will be no lack of motivation to get a result from either side today as both will be looking to bounce-back but in different ways. Notre Dame’s 10-3 record looks great compared to Georgia Tech’s 6-6, however the 3 losses the Irish are currently sporting were not impressive ones. A thrashing at the hands of #2 Michigan State, then 2 losses in 11 days to in-state rivals Ball State and Indiana.
Georgia Tech has a dangerous team that has the potential to provide problems for the Irish, but it hasn’t seemed to be able to get it together thus far this season. The offense has struggled to put the ball through the net, as the Yellow Jacket attack has only averaged a poor 67.2 points per game, good for 309th in the country. Tech will also be looking to this game to bounce-back and get on the winning track again, after losing 5 of their last 7.
Notre Dame comes into the game as an overwhelming 15-point favorite, however wins are never easy to come by in the ACC as the both teams have come to know by now. A win for Georgia Tech does great things for its ACC and tournament resumé. As far away as March Madness may seem, tournament qualification and seeding is definitely on the minds of both head coaches. A win for the Irish today gets them back on track, and back towards the Top-25 where most every college basketball analyst will tell you is where the Irish do belong and will end up by the seasons end.
Saturday’s game between Georgia Tech and Notre Dame can be viewed at 2:00 pm ET on ESPNU.