Notre Dame Looks to Rebound in Road Test vs. Georgia Tech

mike brey

You ready for some hyperbole? Saturday is the biggest game of the season for Notre Dame.

I know the Irish have faced some of the best teams in the country and have impressive wins over big time opponents, but Saturday represents a critical game in the scheme of ND’s schedule.

Every team in the ACC is going to take a punch, but good teams know how to bounce back and keep their season on track.

“It’s not how hard you hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” - Jonny.


Shout out Jimmy Antoniotti.

The ACC is such a grind that one loss can turn into three in the blink of an eye. The snowball effect is real and can curtail a team’s season if they aren’t careful.

With tests against Duke and UNC following Saturday’s contest, the threat of that kind of snowball effect is very real.

Georgia Tech comes into Saturday’s with a 12-8 record and 4-4 ACC mark. In their previous outing, the Yellow Jackets had their most impressive performance of the season in a 22-point drubbing of No. 6 Florida State.

Josh Pastner has begun to turn the tide of the Georgia Tech program in his first year at the helm. While the Yellow Jackets have bad losses to Penn State and Ohio (not to mention escaping in overtime vs. D-II opponent Shorter College), they have two of the most impressive wins of anyone in the country in their route of Florida State Wednesday and defeating UNC in the ACC opener.

The Yellow Jackets have the leading candidate for ACC Freshman of the Year in Josh Okogie. The freshman went for 35 points vs. the Seminoles and is averaging 15.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Since joining the ACC, the Irish have a 4-2 advantage over Georgia Tech. ND split two meetings last year - winning handily in South Bend before losing on a last second tip-in in Atlanta.

The Georgia Tech-Notre Dame matchup in January of 2015 provided the backdrop for Jerian Grant shedding gravity and completing one of the greatest plays in Notre Dame basketball history.

I point to the game at Georgia Tech in 2015 as a major turning point for the Notre Dame program. The day before the game, it was announced that Zach Auguste was suspended due to an academic issue. That could have sent most teams for a loop, instead Bonzie Colson emerged and the Irish gutted out a tough road win.

You can point to that game as the origin of the mental and physical toughness that has become a staple of the ND program for the last three years.

As Mike Brey always says, the most important game is the next one and one-game winning streaks are invaluable in ACC play.

I sound like a broken record, but a fast start is critical - the Irish can’t let the Virginia hangover creep into this performance.

Who knows what Beachem will provide from one game to another, but it is hard to imagine Vasturia and Farrell won’t bounce back with better performances.

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Most Irish fans penciled this game as a win preseason, but not anymore. This contest will most certainly come down to the final minutes. If the Irish can come through in game situations like they have all year, they will leave Atlanta with a win, if they don’t, they will suffer their third loss in their last four games with Duke and North Carolina on the horizon.

This game is critically important.

P.S.

I have never been a big fan of Georgia Tech, but this will put them in my good graces in a hurry.

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