SOUTH BEND, In. — Fresh off of a come-from-behind win against the Syracuse Orange, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are back in action on January 10th for round two against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
These two teams first met on December 30th, 2017, where the Irish came out victorious, 68-59, and started their conference slate 1-0.
Since their first meeting, which took place before the New Year, both Notre Dame and Georgia Tech won against their next two opponents. The Fighting Irish knocked off both the NC State Wolfpack as well as the Syracuse Orange, whereas the Yellow Jackets took down the then-#15 Miami Hurricanes by 10 points, followed by the Yale Bulldogs.
A Look Into The Past…
In the game that saw Notre Dame win 68-59, a game that was close from start to finish, the Fighting Irish had their top two scorers, Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, in their arsenal, who contributed just under half of Notre Dame’s total points.
Bonzie Colson contributed 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, in addition to Matt Farrell’s 10 points. But, given that the last game was so close even with their top two scorers, will the Irish be in trouble now that they are without their go-to guys?
Colson, the Preseason ACC Player of the Year, is still recovering from a foot fracture, and Farrell is being sidelined for the second straight game due to a foot sprain. The hope is that he can return for Notre Dame’s game against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
However, the Irish have been playing pretty well (minus their poor shooting performance against Syracuse) without their two star players, with guys like T.J. Gibbs and Rex Pflueger steering the ship.
They both had double digit scoring performances in the previous meeting with Georgia Tech, and will need to do so again if the Irish want to enter Saturday’s game against the North Carolina Tar Heels undefeated in conference play.
But Georgia Tech will not be an easy team to beat; even more so without Colson and Farrell. The top four scorers on the Yellow Jackets, who all average double digit scoring figures, had great performances against the Irish in the first game.
Josh Okogie, their top scorer, dropped 16 points, seven rebounds, Tadric Jackson contributed 15 points, and both Ben Lammers and Jose Alvarado each scored 11 points, with Lammers also pulling down 12 rebounds.
Last game saw the Yellow Jackets take it to the Irish in the first half, as they went into the locker room up 28-23, only to then be outscored 45-31 in the second half.
…And Back To The Present
With everything said, Wednesday night’s game will be a new day where anything can happen, regardless of previous match ups.
Notre Dame is favoured to win according to ESPN’s matchup predictor and out performs Georgia Tech in four stats categories below.
While I do think this game will be close once again, I like the Irish in this one. Their resiliency as a team, Mike Brey‘s ability to adjust, as well as the players who are stepping up for them make the Irish the likely victors.
Notre Dame – 75
Georgia Tech – 69
Tip off is set for 7 PM EST on January 10th, broadcasting live on ESPNU.
– R. Scarfone