Teams: Syracuse Orange (14-12, 7-8) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (13-13, 7-8)
Date & Time: Saturday, February 22 at 4 p.m. ET
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network Extra
Odds: ESPN’s matchup predictor says Syracuse has a 76% chance to beat Tech. Cool!
Radio: Cuse.com, TK 99/105, WAER 88.3
Rivalry: Tied, 6-6
Current Streak: 1, Syracuse
First Meeting: SU and Georgia Tech didn’t meet on the basketball court until 1985 — when the Wreck knocked off the Orangemen, 70-53 in the second round of the East Regional. Rafael Addison scored 17, but that wasn’t anywhere close to enough, sadly. Tech messed up even further by losing to Georgetown in the regional final.
Last Meeting: After a really rough start to this season, Syracuse pummeled Georgia Tech, 97-63 down in Atlanta to (temporarily) get back on track. The Orange jumped out to a 22-point lead by the end of the first half, while Elijah Hughes (33 points) and Buddy Boeheim (26 points) both had big games.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (44th year; 1,061-390 at SU) | Georgia Tech - Josh Pastner (4th year; 61-66 at GT)
Coach Bio: Pastner played for Arizona from 1996-2000, and by 2002, he was back in Tucson as an assistant coach under Lute Olson. He headed off to Memphis, where he took over for John Calipari after just one year as an assistant, going 167-73 with the Tigers and only making the NCAA Tournament in year one. Still, it was enough to get Tech to hire him. In Atlanta, he’s made the NIT once (in his first season, 2016-17), and finished under .500 since.
Last Year: Tech was faced with the challenge of replacing Josh Okogie and Ben Lammers, and it didn’t go all that well. Pastner’s squad lost seven straight in ACC play at one point, finishing just 14-18 (6-12 in league play).
Last Game: No letdown for the Yellow Jackets after knocking off Louisville last weekend. They beat Wake Forest, 86-79 behind 24 points from Michael Devoe and 22 from Jose Alvarado. Georgia Tech shot 52% from the floor, and 74.4% from the line on 39 free throws. They also won the battle of the boards by 10 (37-27).
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Devoe’s the scariest all-around player, averaging 16.3 points and 3.9 boards while hitting 41.3% from outside. Moses Wright (12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds) is the player most likely to get all of our bigs to foul out while terrorizing Syracuse inside on both ends.
If Syracuse Wins: A team that’s lost five of six is able to save some face as the regular season wraps up. There are more games to play, obviously, but every little bit counts as we likely try to position ourselves for an NIT bid and just better ACC Tournament seeding.
If Syracuse Loses: No real NCAA Tournament odds to hurt, so we’re more just getting concerned about the streak of seasons above .500 (every year dating back to 1971). Also doesn’t help us get a better ACC Tournament seed, for whatever that’s worth. Jim’s already looking over TNIAAM articles to see which one he wants to yell at assembled media at the Dome for.
Fun Fact 1: Georgia Tech’s made 16 NCAA Tournaments all-time, and Bobby Cremins has coached 10 of those squads.
Fun Fact 2: Syracuse has only been a 7-seed in the NCAA Tournament twice, losing before the Sweet 16 both times. They lost to Tech in 1985, as mentioned above, and also fell to Arkansas in 1995 by a score of 96-94.