11) Louisville Cardinals (12-18, 6-14) vs. 14) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12-19, 5-15)
ACC Tournament First Round
Game Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Barclays Center: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Television: ACC Network
Announcers: Dave O’Brien (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst)
Favorite: Louisville by 1.5.
Series: Louisville leads, 24-14
Last Meeting: Louisville won 67-64 on Jan. 2, 2022 in Atlanta
Possible Starting Lineups:
Next up in the ACC Tournament pic.twitter.com/RogwwNksuq— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) March 11, 2021
About Georgia Tech:
The reigning ACC tournament champions have the unusual task of beginning their title defense on the tournament’s opening day. Georgia Tech went just 5-15 in league play this season thanks in large part to some surprisingly dismal play on offense.
Even with that being the case, the Yellow Jackets do have one of the top offensive performers in the conference in senior guard Michael Devoe. The reigning ACC tournament MVP enters the postseason ranked third in the conference in scoring (18.0 ppg), and seventh in made threes per game (2.3). Devoe’s numbers have dipped as Tech’s disappointing season has gone along, but expect the lefty to come out with a renewed energy in postseason play.
Another senior guard, Jordan Usher, is coming off of a 30-point performance in the Yellow Jackets’ regular season-ending win over Boston College. The 6’7 Usher is especially dangerous from beyond the arc. He buried three triples in a 17-point, six rebound performance against Louisville back in January.
Tech works mostly by committee after its top two. Kyle Sturdivant, Dallan Coleman, Deivon Smith and Khalid Moore are all players with pedestrian stats who are good enough to have standout performances on any given night. However, if Louisville is engaged and focused defensively, none of these supporting cast members should be able to play a starring role for Josh Pastner’s team.
Offensively, Georgia Tech has an odd profile. The Yellow Jackets have virtually no inside game, struggle mightily with turning the ball over, but have been one of the better three-point shooting teams in the ACC for most of the season. Defensively, GT is as solid as usual. They don’t do anything at an elite level outside of force turnovers (second in the ACC in conference play), and the loss of big man Moses Wright has made their rim protection numbers fairly dismal, but they’re solid, not spectacular, in virtually every other area.
—Louisville is 2-5 all-time in the ACC tournament, has never won multiple games in the same tournament or advanced past the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
—This game will mark the first time Louisville has played a first round game in the ACC tournament.
—Georgia Tech has played in 41 ACC Tournaments, and has a 28-37 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 also been a runner-up four times (1986, 1996, 2005, 2010).
—Louisville has won 11 of its last 12 meetings with Georgia Tech, losing just once to the Yellow Jackets since 1997.
—This is the first ACC tournament meeting between Louisville and Georgia Tech, but the two did square off in the 1977 Metro Conference tournament, with the Yellow Jackets prevailing, 56-55.
—Louisville and Georgia Tech were founding members of the Metro Conference in 1975, but the Yellow Jackets left for the ACC in 1978.
—After tonight, Syracuse will be the only current league member that Georgia Tech has not faced in the ACC tournament.
—The Cards are 9-1 against the Yellow Jackets since joining the ACC in 2014-15. Of those nine ACC wins over Georgia Tech, five have been decided by four points or fewer.
—Louisville is 8-3 all-time in games against Georgia Tech head coach Josh Paster. Pastner went 2-2 against the Cardinals when he was at Memphis State, but is just 1-6 against them with the Yellow Jackets.
—Louisville and Georgia Tech played the first college basketball ever inside the Georgia Dome. The game was played in front of the largest crowd ever to witness a college game in the state of Georgia at the time (28,885). The Jackets won the game on a halfcourt buzzer-beater by James Forrest.
—Since the first meeting between Georgia Tech and Louisville on Jan. 2, the Yellow Jackets are 5-13 and the Cardinals are 3-14.
—Georgia Tech is 2-4 all-time in the Barclays Center, including a pair of opening round losses in the ACC Tournament to Pittsburgh (2017) and Boston College (2018).
—Louisville is also 2-4 all-time at the Barclays Center.
—Five of Georgia Tech’s 15 ACC losses this season came by five points or fewer. Nine of their 15 defeats came by single digits.
—Louisville has made it to at least the quarterfinals in nine of the last 10 conference tournaments it has participated in. The Cards were set to play Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the 2020 ACC tournament on the day the event was canceled.
—In college basketball history, a team has never lost its first conference tournament game and gone on to win the NCAA tournament.
—Louisville has an all-time 11-8 record in games played on March 8, winning two of its last three games played on that date
—Louisville has won 12 of its last 17 conference tournament games and has won four of the last 11 conference tournaments it has competed in.
—Louisville has played 30 games and used 15 different starting lineups this season.
—Louisville is 216-13 over the last 20 seasons and 13-1 over the last three when scoring 80 points or more. That lone defeat came in this year’s 90-83 overtime loss to North Carolina.
—Louisville is 166-7 over the past 20 seasons when shooting 50 percent or better from the field and 13-0 over the last three.
—Louisville is 14-0 over the past 10 seasons when limiting opponents to no more than one three-point field goal.
—Since 2004, Louisville is 130-0 when leading by more than 10 points at halftime.
—Louisville has won 162 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 50 points.
—Louisville has won 156 consecutive games when scoring at least 85 points in regulation.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 67, Georgia Tech 66