A constantly improving Georgia Tech team looks to hand Notre Dame basketball their second consecutive loss. Here’s how to watch the Irish take on the Yellow Jackets online.
After one of the hottest starts of 2016-2017, Notre Dame has taken a step back from their breakout year. Falling to 1-4 against ranked opponents and 6-2 in the ACC, the Irish need a solid rebound game more than ever.
Georgia Tech, on the other hand, has turned a slow start into a tournament hopeful year. Starting the season 6-4 and now being 12-8, the Yellow Jackets are looking to build their resume with every win.
Coming off of a big win over Florida State, Georgia Tech may have more momentum right now than the Irish. Being 1-2 in their last three games, with losses to FSU and Virginia, Notre Dame’s hot start has simmered.
Much like the Irish, the Yellow Jackets are a team that relies heavily on their starters. With only three bench players contributing over ten minutes per game, Georgia Tech wins through their core set. Notre Dame is in the same boat. The Irish have deepened on five or six players to lead them past every opponent.
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The difference between these two sets of players is the backcourt and the frontcourt. Notre Dame has established one of the toughest frontcourts in the country. Behind Matt Farrell and Steve Vasturia, the Irish have won a majority of their games through big games from their guards.
Georgia Tech does have one of the best Freshman guards in the country with Josh Okogie. Averaging 15.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, Okogie has broken out for the Yellow Jackets in a big way, leading them to a much better year than most expected.
What the Yellow Jackets really thrive off of, though, is their frontcourt. Ben Lammers (14.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG) and Quinton Stephens (10.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG) are two of the best upperclassmen in the country.
Throughout the entire season, these three players have led Georgia Tech to every game they’ve played. In their last contest against Florida State, they were the only three players to reach double-digit points and three of seven Georgia Tech players to even score.
It’s no secret that the Irish will have their hands full as they try to slow this dynamic trio. While Matt Farrell and Steve Vasturia will try to slow Okogie, Bonzie Colson will have the pleasure of defending the paint against Lammers and Stephens.
At 6’5, Colson has at least a four-inch height disadvantage. That’s nothing new for Colson, who has protected and dominated the post against players taller than him in every matchup this year. Leading the Irish with 15.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest, Colson has earned the right not to be taken lightly because of his height.
While Colson can square off with one of these bigmen, trying to outmatch two will be impossible. The Irish will turn to Martinas Geben to try and stop the other postman. Although Colson will likely outplay whoever he’s matched up with, Geben will have a harder time.
Throughout his three years at Notre Dame, Geben has never really proven the worth many believed him to have. As a 6’10 center, he has never shown the physicality and rebounding instincts that many hoped he would have. As he tries to slow Lammers, he may find difficulty in winning many battles on the boards.
When it comes down to it, though, Notre Dame should be able to slow Georgia Tech enough to win. The Yellow Jackets are one of the up and coming underdogs of the 2017 season, but Notre Dame may have too much to play for.
A loss to Georgia Tech and the Irish will become an even bigger question mark within the top 25 and the ACC. One game out of first in the conference, the Irish will be playing to reassure fans and onlookers that they are a team to beat.
If Vasturia and Colson can slow Okogie and Stephens, Notre Dame’s remaining stars will just need to outrun Lammers. A big game from Farrell and Beachem and the Irish walk away with their seventh ACC win of the season.
Here’s how to watch Notre Dame vs Georgia Tech:
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2017
Start Time: 12:00 PM EST
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Venue: McCamish Pavilion
Live Stream: WatchESPN