Teams: Syracuse Orange (17-13, 9-8) vs. Georgia Tech (17-13, 8-9)
Day & Time: Saturday, March 4, 4 p.m. ET
Venue: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: N/A, just yet
TV: ACC Network
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Georgia Tech Blog: From the Rumble Seat
Rivalry: Tied, 4-4
Current Streak: 1, Georgia Tech
First Meeting: The two programs didn’t meet until the 1985 NCAA Tournament. The Bobby Cremins-coached Yellow Jackets bested SU in the second round, 70-53. Then they were #disloyalidiots in the Elite 8, losing to Georgetown.
Last Meeting: The Orange fell apart in the second half, and despite a spirited late comeback (one of many in a long line of them this season), SU would fall, 71-65. Winning that game would’ve helped our current predicament quite a bit...
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (41st Year, 1,002-355); Georgia Tech: Josh Pastner (1st Year, 17-13)
Head Coach Bio: Pastner played at Arizona from 1996-2000, and headed into coaching shortly thereafter. He started on Lute Olson’s staff with the Wildcats for awhile, before heading to Memphis to work under John Calipari for a season (Calipari’s last with the Tigers). Pastner would take over the Memphis job in 2009.
The early days in Memphis went well, as Pastner won between 24 and 31 games in each of his first four seasons, though NCAA Tournament success was never really found. When the program left Conference USA for the AAC, they made the NCAAs one more time, then fell back to the pack in their new league.
The recent fade was what made Pastner’s hire at Georgia Tech surprising. Yet, he’s done a pretty admirable job in his first season in Atlanta. With 17 wins, Tech’s right on the bubble, and they’re knocking on the door of a tournament bid. That becomes harder if Syracuse wins on Saturday, however.
Last Year: Georgia Tech went 21-15 overall and 8-10 in the ACC. They could conceivably have a worse record this year, despite a better season.
Last Game: The Yellow Jackets beat Pitt, 61-52, setting up this crucial game between Tech and Syracuse on Saturday. If Tech wins, they’re 9-9 and have the head-to-head tiebreaker on us, which will hurt in terms of ACC Tournament seeding and NCAA at-large conversations.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": Who else but Ben Lammers? Last time these two teams met, he had 23 points (on 11-of-18 shooting), with seven rebounds and seven blocks. Syracuse doesn’t have much size on the inside, so he was able to abuse the Orange in the paint. That sucked the zone in, which opened things up for other shooters.
One of those was Tadric Jackson, who chipped in 20 of his own against Syracuse. That was one of just a handful of 20-point games for Jackson, who averages 11.7 points per game, this season. He’s lit up Notre Dame, Boston College and others for more, however. SU needs to keep an eye on him, even if they can’t lock down Lammers.
If Syracuse Wins: Still nothing guaranteed for the Orange, but they get a lot closer to being an NCAA Tournament team. Unfortunately, it nearly guarantees a difficult second round game in the ACC Tournament, and a probable (unpleasant) matchup with North Carolina in the quarterfinals.
If Syracuse Loses: Crisis central, as Syracuse falls in the ACC standings, loses the season series to a fellow bubble team and goes limping into the conference tournament. A 17-14 (9-9) profile won’t look great to the selection committee, despite the quality wins.
Fun Fact No. 1: The first “Ramblin’ Wreck” was a Ford Model T in 1914. Otto’s only been around for a few decades, so he’s an infant in comparison to a mascot (car) like that.
Fun Fact No. 2: Georgia Tech is just 2-9 away from home this year, with the only two victories coming against VCU (in overtime) and NC State. Considering Syracuse has played so well at home in 2016-17, this should be at least a little reassuring.