The Notre Dame Fighting Irish travel to McCamish Pavilion Wednesday night for a game against Georgia Tech, in what has become somewhat of a rivalry in recent seasons. Since Josh Pastner took over in Atlanta, Notre Dame leads the series 4-3, with each game being decided by 10 points or less and an average margin of victory of fewer than six points.
The home team has been victorious in each game, with the Irish winning the one game that took place at a neutral site, a meeting in the ACC Tournament last March.
The Irish are once again led by big man John Mooney, who has logged a ridiculous 13 double-doubles on the season, including a current streak of 10 consecutive games. The 6-9 senior currently leads the ACC and ranks fourth nationally with 209 total rebounds.
The Irish also boast three perimeter scorers in Prentiss Hubb (12.1 points, 5.1 assists), T.J. Gibbs (13.1 points, 40.2 percent on threes), and Dane Goodwin (11.5 points, 40.8 percent on threes). Center Juwan Durham is also third in the ACC in blocked shots per game on the season.
Georgia Tech has alternated wins and losses for the last three weeks, with all of its wins coming away from home strangely enough. The Jackets have actually only played a single home game since Dec. 18, that being against Duke seven days ago. The Jackets fought hard and led the game by eight early on but eventually fell to the Blue Devils by nine.
The Yellow Jackets will play four of their next five games at home as they try to solidify themselves as a top-half team in the ACC. They are led by junior point guard Jose Alvarado, who has averaged 12.1 points, 5.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game since returning on Dec. 22 after missing roughly a month with a high ankle sprain.
Georgia Tech is a 2.5-point favorite in this one, with the over/under set at 134.
Fighting Their Way To The Middle
Notre Dame has seemingly everything needed to be an upper-echelon team in a down ACC, but it just can’t seem to put an entire game together. The Irish are just 8-8 against the spread, 1-5 ATS as a dog, and 1-3 ATS in true road games.
The total has gone under in 11 of their 16 games this season and in five of their last six contests.
The Jackets Often Swarm In Atlanta
During Pastner’s tenure, the Yellow Jackets are 42-22 straight up in McCamish Pavilion. On the season, the Jackets are 11-5 against the spread but just 4-3 ATS at home.
Like the Irish, the total often falls short, as Georgia Tech has hit the under in 12 of its 16 games and eight of its last nine.
Pick and Prediction
The trend between these two seems significant, the home team wins, and the total has gone under in five straight meetings. The difference this season could be that Notre Dame can finally shoot the ball, though it has only shot better than 34 percent from deep once in four games on the road this season, and that was the only game it came away victorious.
The Jackets hold opponents under 31 percent from behind the arc on the season, another trend in their favor. The under is the easiest play here, but if you must play a line, this game will most likely come down to free throws.
Since Alvarado’s return, the Yellow Jackets are shooting 76.2 percent from the stripe, while Notre Dame is shooting just 65.3 percent over its last six games (76 percent in its last three). Take the Jackets to cover the -2.5 at home.