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Men's Basketball Tangles with Notre Dame in ACC Tournament

GEORGIA TECH (14-17, 7-13 ACC) vs. NOTRE DAME (12-19, 7-13 ACC)

Tuesday, March 12, 2024  |  2 p.m. EST  |  Washington, D.C.  |  Capital One Arena

Washington, D.C. – Having won four of its last six games, Georgia Tech enters the 71st New York Life Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament as the No. 13 seed and takes on Notre Dame in its opening-round game at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Tech (14-17, 7-13 ACC) defeated Syracuse (65-60), Miami (80-76), Florida State (85-76) and Wake Forest (70-69) in the final three weeks of the regular season before dropping a 72-57 decision at Virginia in the finale Saturday. The Jackets have also scored ACC wins over Duke, Clemson (on the road) and North Carolina this season.

Notre Dame (12-19, 7-13 ACC) lost road games at North Carolina and Virginia the last week of the regular season, but the Fighting Irish went 5-3 over the final month, including wins over Wake Forest and Clemson. The Fighting Irish also defeated Georgia Tech twice, giving them the tiebreaker over the Yellow Jackets for the No. 12 seed in the ACC Tournament.

Tuesday’s game will be televised live on the ACC Network, with a live stream available on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is on the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports and flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). The Tech broadcast is also available on SiriusXM channel 371 and the SiriusXM app.

THE TIP-OFF

  • Georgia Tech and Notre Dame are meeting in the ACC Tournament for the second time. The 15th-seeded Fighting Irish defeated the No. 10-seed Yellow Jackets, 78-71, in the opening round of the 2019 tournament in Charlotte.
  • In Tech’s 45-year history in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets have lost three games to a team in the same season 14 times, most recently in 2022-23 to Pittsburgh. Notre Dame defeated the Jackets twice during th regular season, 75-68 in overtime in Atlanta, and 58-55 in South Bend.
  • On three occasions, Tech has lost to a team twice in the regular season and then defeated that team in the ACC Tournament – Virginia in 1990, North Carolina in 1993 and Clemson in 2009.
  • Tech is 3-2 in ACC Tournament games played in Washington, D.C. The Yellow Jackets made it to the championship game in 2005, losing to Duke in the finals. In 2016, Tech defeated Clemson in the opening round before bowing out to Virginia.
  • Tech has been the No, 13 seed in the ACC Tournament three times previously, in 2015, 2018 and 2023. Last year was the first time the Yellow Jackets won a game from that position.
  • Fourteen of Tech’s 20 ACC games have been decided by single digits. Twenty-one of Tech’s 31 games overall this season have been decided by fewer than 10 points, second-most in the nation (Tech is 12-9 in these games). Fourteen games have been decided by five points or fewer.
  • Tech’s seven ACC wins were earned by a total of 27 points. The Jackets’ nine-point win over Florida State was its widest margin of victory.
  • Tech is 8-13 against Quad 1 (4-6) and Quad 2 (4-7) teams this season, with Quad 1 wins over Duke, Clemson, North Carolina and Wake Forest. Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.
  • Four of Tech’s ACC wins came against the ACC’s four highest-ranked teams in the NCAA’s NET rankings – North Carolina (7), Duke (10), Clemson (27) and Wake Forest (37).
  • Miles Kelly (14.1 ppg) leads three Yellow Jackets averaging in double figures this season, including freshman forward Baye Ndongo (12.0) and junior guard Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (10.0). Tech’s other rotation players average between 4.8 and 9.3 points per game.
  • Tech has started two freshmen – Baye Ndongo and point guard Naithan George – in its last 27 games. The Jackets have not had two freshmen in its regular starting lineup since the 2018-19 season (Michael Devoe, Khalid Moore), and have not had a freshman regularly start at point guard since Jose Alvarado in 2017-18.

Monday practice at Capital One Arena

Freshman Baye Ndongo (11) is Tech’s top rebounder and second-leading scorer. (photo by Keith Lucas)

 

TECH’S ACC TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Georgia Tech has played in 43 ACC Tournaments, and has a 29-39 all-time record in the event. The Yellow Jackets have won four championships, in 1985 (Atlanta), 1990 (Charlotte), 1993 (Charlotte) and 2021 (Greensboro).

Tech has been a runner-up four times (1986, 1996, 2005, 2010). The 1986, 1996 and 2010 runs to the finals occurred in Greensboro. Tech also made the finals in 2005 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Tech was 0-2 in the ACC Tournament under coach Dwane Morrison, 15-16 under Bobby Cremins (including all three titles), 9-11 under Paul Hewitt (runner-up in 2005 and 2010), 2-5 under Brian Gregory. and 3-5 under Josh Pastner.

Tech did not play in the 2020 tournament while serving an NCAA postseason ban.

SERIES VS. NOTRE DAME

  • Notre Dame has won nine of the last 11 meetings and lead the all-time series, 17-13. Georgia Tech’s only wins came by an 82-80 score on Feb. 6, 2021 and a 70-68 decision on Feb. 8, 2023, both at McCamish Pavilion.
  • The Fighting Irish swept the regular-season series for the second time in three years in 2023-24, taking a 75-68 decision in overtime in Atlanta, and a 58-55 nail-biter in South Bend.
  • Since Notre Dame joined the ACC, the teams have split their regular season series five times, and the Fighting Irish have swept the Yellow Jackets four times. Tech has yet to sweep the Irish.
  • Notre Dame is one of two permanent home-and-away opponents for Tech in the ACC. However, the teams did not play in South Bend during the 2020-21 season when the game was canceled due to COVID-19.
  • The Yellow Jackets are 7-15 against Notre Dame since the Fighting Irish joined the ACC. Only two of those games have been decided by double-digits.
  • The teams have played to overtime five times, three of those coming in the last six meetings.
  • The Yellow Jackets won five straight meetings between the two teams from 1972 through Tech’s 74-69 victory in McCamish Pavilion on Jan. 11, 2014, the team’s first meeting as ACC foes.
  • All but two games in the series has been played on the two campuses, one a 2007 meeting in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam. The Yellow Jackets erased a 9-point deficit in the final 5:11 and won the game on a three-point basket by Matt Causey with two seconds remaining. The other was in the 2019 ACC Tournament.

Miles Kelly is Tech’s leading scorer at 14.1 points per game. (photo by Danny Karnik)

 

TEAM TRENDS

  • Tech enters the ACC Tournament with the same overall record as it did in 2022-23, but made a one-win improvement in its ACC record.
  • Six of Tech’s seven ACC wins (exception: Miami) have come against teams in the top half of the ACC standings, all had winning records overall and in conference play.
  • Tech had averaged 9.1 three-point field goals and connected on 38.1 percent of its three-point tries in road games this season before going 4-for-21 at Virginia. The Jackets finished the regular season at 36.8 percent on the road; Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (47.3 percent) and Miles Kelly (42.3 percent) led the way.
  • Tech has out-rebounded each of its last six opponents, and by an average of 11.8 per game – 34-25 over Virginia and Wake Forest), 55-33 against Florida State, 41-34 advantage over Miami, 34-31 against Clemson, 34-31, and 49-28 over Syracuse.
  • Tech has made 76.7 percent of its free throws (178-of-232) in its last 10 games, and is 64-of-77 (83.1 percent) over its last four games.
  • Tech has used at least nine players in 27 of its 31 games this season. Only eight Jackets saw the floor against Miami, FSU and Wake Forest in the latter part of the regular season, and at Hawai’i on Dec. 22.
  • Tech’s bench was out-scored for the first time in 11 games as Virginia edged the Jackets, 20-18. Tech ranks No. 2 in the ACC and No. 87 nationally in bench scoring (23.0 points per game). Tech’s reserves have scored 20 or more points in 11 of its last 14 games, and out-scored the opponent in 14 of 20 ACC games.

PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Baye Ndongo has six double-doubles this season and has come up one rebound shy in four others, including Saturday at Virginia, where he took a game-high nine boards.
  • Ndongo is one of two freshmen in the nation (JT Toppin of New Mexico is the other) to average at least 12.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and hit 56.2 percent from the floor. Ndongo ranks No. 3 nationally among freshmen in rebound average (8.3 per game) and No. 2 in field goal percentage (56.2).
  • Point guards Naithan George and Kyle Sturdivant each scored eight points and combined for nine assists against three turnovers. Sturdivant had no turnovers, his eighth game of zero this year.
  • George and Sturdivant have averaged 7.0 assists per game combined, 7.9 per game in ACC play. Both players rank among the nation’s top 70 players in assist rate (assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court) according to KenPom.com.
  • Tech’s leading scorer Miles Kelly was held without a point at Virginia, the third time this season he has failed to score. He has 1,049 career points and needs seven to take over 43rd place from Ben Lammers (1.055).
  • George has averaged 13 points and connected on 16-of-31 field goals in Tech’s last three games. He scored 15 and 16 points, respectively, in Tech’s last two wins over Florida State and Wake Forest. He has nine double-digit games against ACC teams this season, 11 in all games.
  • George ranks No. 2 in the ACC in assist average (5.0 per game) and No. 3 in assist-turnover ratio (2.38-1) in conference games. He ranks fourth among freshmen nationally in assist rate, according to KenPom.com.
  • Tafara Gapare has averaged 8.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in his last six games, reaching double digits in points three times and 10 rebounds in one (Florida State). He also has 10 assists and eight blocked shots across those five games.
  • Gapare has started Tech’s last eight games and played more than 20 minutes in six of them, including a career-high 29:59 against Florida State.
  • Gapare has blocked at least one shot in eight straight games, and he has a team-high 33 for the season and 20 in 19 ACC games despite averaging only 18.6 minutes per game.
  • Kyle Sturdivant is 29-for-32 from the free throw line (90.6 percent) over Tech’s last 15 games, 12-of-13 in Tech’s last five games. He leads the Jackets at 87.5 percent from the line this season, 88.6 percent (35-of-39) in ACC play.
  • A freshman has led Tech in scoring 13 times this season. Ndongo led the Jackets in points in nine games this season, George in three, Ibrahima Sacko in one.

 


Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL

Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its first year under head coach Damon Stoudamire. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won four ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993, 2021), played in the NCAA Tournament 17 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram. For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com.

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