Day & Time: Saturday, February 27, noon ET
Location: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, Ga.
Line: Georgia Tech -5
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
Georgia Tech Blog: From The Rumble Seat
Rivalry: 7-6, Syracuse
Current Streak: 2, Syracuse
First Meeting: The second round of the 1985 NCAA tournament featured the first ever matchup between Syracuse and Georgia Tech. Future NBA All-Star Mark Price led the Yellow Jackets and all scorers with 18 points. Rafael Addison scored 17 points to lead the Orange, with Pearl Washington having an off game, scoring just seven points.
Last Meeting: In a game that could’ve been easily mistaken for one that has taken place this year, Syracuse trailed Georgia Tech 38-27 at halftime. Then, a hot start out of the locker room resulted in a 7-0 run. Syracuse eventually took the lead with the zone tightening up and some clutch free throws down the stretch secured a 79-72 win over the Yellow Jackets on February 22, 2020.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (45th year, 1,078-405) | Georgia Tech - Josh Pastner (fifth season, 77-75)
Coach Bio: Pastner played his collegiate basketball as a walk-on at Arizona. His coaching career began with the Wildcats as an assistant in 2002. He moved to Memphis in 2008 to become an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under John Calipari. Pastner would take over as head coach of Memphis after Calipari left for Kentucky. The Tigers would achieve five 20+ win seasons in seven years under Pastner, including three NCAA tournament appearances.
Pastner would be hired as Georgia Tech’s head coach following the 2015-16 season. He won 21 games in his first season with the Yellow Jackets and finished as the runner-up in the NIT to TCU. However, Georgia Tech wouldn’t replicate the success of Pastner’s first season, finishing below 20 wins in every year since.
Last Year: After a two-year slump, Georgia Tech rebounded for the 2019-20 season as the Yellow Jackets achieved their second winning season under Pastner. The Yellow Jackets picked up one ranked win against No. 5 Louisville in Atlanta and finished the season on a four-game winning streak. Georgia Tech would finish with the fifth-best conference record in the ACC, but the Yellow Jackets were banned from postseason play by the NCAA due to recruiting violations from former assistants.
Last Game: After a slow first half, Georgia Tech turned it up at Virginia Tech on February 23 and scored 45 points in the second half to defeat the Hokies 69-53. This marked the first time that the Yellow Jackets have won back-to-back road games since 2011.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Moses Wright almost single-handedly beat Syracuse the last time these two teams met. He scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Georgia Tech loss. Wright is the fifth-leading scorer in the ACC with 16.8 points per game and the seventh-leading rebounder in the ACC with 7.7 per game. If that’s not enough, Wright is averaging over a steal and block per game, ranking him in the top five in the ACC for both categories.
If Syracuse Wins: Syracuse finally gets the quadrant one win it needs to boost its tournament resume.
If Syracuse Loses: Syracuse’s chances of making the tournament probably drop below 10%.
Fun Fact: Georgia Tech held Virginia Tech to only 19 made field goals, the lowest an opponent has converted against the Yellow Jackets this season.