Day & Time: Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, Ga.
TV/Streaming: Check your local ACC affiliate/ACC Network Extra (side comment: this thing’s broadcast in the Bay Area but not LA, where there are far more Orange alums?)
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Georgia Tech blog: From the Rumble Seat
Rivalry: 5-4, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Orange
First Meeting: Oddly, these two programs did not meet until the 1985 NCAA Tournament. Bobby Cremins coached the Wreck to a 70-53 blowout victory over Syracuse in the second round of the tourney. That Georgia Tech team ended up falling just short of beating the Hoyas in the Elite Eight -- making our loss all for naught.
Last Meeting: The Orange shot nearly 54 percent from the floor and over 62 percent from three (15-of-24) en route to a 90-61 rout in the regular season finale last year. Andrew White III racked up 40 points and Tyus Battle chipped in 22 -- the two combining to outscore Tech all on their own. That was a fun game. Unfortunately we used up all of our points on that contest, instead of holding a few over for the ACC Tournament game vs. Miami.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,019-363); Georgia Tech: Josh Pastner (2nd year, 31-27)
Coach Bio: After a four-year career at Arizona, including a title in 1997, he returned shortly thereafter to start his coaching stint as an assistant. He’d move on to Memphis in 2008, then took over that job in 2009 after John Calipari left. Though he experienced some significant success with the Tigers, the program started seeing diminishing returns once they joined the AAC. He led Memphis to four straight NCAA Tournaments from 2011-14, then dipped below the 20-win mark each of his last two years there. That was reason enough for Georgia Tech to hire him, apparently.
Last Year: Pastner actually seemed to hit the ground running, leading Tech to a runner-up finish in the NIT after going 21-16. The Yellow Jackets weren’t great by any means, but they had a formidable big man combo of Ben Lammers and Quinton Stephens that teamed with some quality guard play to give a lot of opponents fits. They also beat us once in 2016-17, which is still a little irksome (though not as irksome as missing the NCAAs).
Last Game: Georgia Tech played top-25 Clemson tight all game on Sunday, but ultimately fell short, by a score of 72-70. The Yellow Jackets shot better from the floor and the line, but were outrebounded by five and the Tigers grabbed 13 offensive boards -- ultimately making the difference in the two-point game. That was the team’s fourth straight ACC loss, squandering a strong performance by Josh Okogie, who had 26 points on the contest.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Okogie’s missed eight games this year, in part due to a suspension for violating NCAA rules. But when he’s been on the court, the sophomore guard has been a terror for (most) opponents. He leads Georgia Tech with 18.3 points per game, and chips in 6.2 boards per game as well. Like all of the Wreck’s top five rotation players, he hits over 44 percent from the field. Okogie’s a sound free throw shooter (81.1 percent) and three-point shooter (41.5 percent), too.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: Most of Tech’s outside shooting comes from Okogie and Jose Alvarado, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either get hot from beyond the arc. However, if we’re looking for someone a little less obvious, look toward Curtis Haywood II or Brandon Alston. Both shoot over 30 percent from three, but have had singular games where they shoot well from three. Let’s hope they don’t have one on Wednesday.
If Syracuse Wins: Syracuse wins its fourth straight ACC game — a first since last season’s five-game streak from late January to early February. Tech’s no world-beater, but the Orange absolutely need to pick up these more manageable victories if they want the tepid bubble situation to improve.
If Syracuse Loses: It wouldn’t be the MOST surprising thing, since the Orange have struggled on the road for several consecutive years now and Matt Moyer’s injury won’t help the Orange deal with Georgia Tech’s size. It’s also likely SU fans pay to ship me back to Europe, since Syracuse seemed to be doing just fine without me in the country.
Fun Fact No. 1: Georgia Tech has one New York player on the roster, in Alvarado (who’s from Middle Village and went to Christ the King). While he didn’t receive an offer from Syracuse, the Orange were interested for a bit in the top-200ish point guard.
Fun Fact No. 2: Georgia Tech has won three ACC Tournament titles, though none since 1993. That’s the longest drought of any current ACC school that’s won at least one conference championship (South Carolina won one in 1971, but they’re no longer in the league). Clemson’s the only original ACC school not to win a league tournament. Also, only four teams have won more ACC Tournament championships than Tech: Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest.