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Notre Dame and Georgia Tech Set to Tip Off ACC Tournament

Updated: Mar 16

Written by Jhett Garrett Writer Twitter/X: @JhettGarrett

Photo by The Irish Tribune

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish wrapped up the regular season this past Saturday, leaving them with a 7-13 record in the ACC. This will place them as the 12 seed in the first year under Head Coach Micah Shrewsberry, with a matchup against Georgia Tech, the lone team the Irish beat twice this past season.

In the first meeting against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, Notre Dame won 75-68 in overtime. It was the only Irish win in the ten-game span after knocking off Virginia on December 30th, and was led by Braden Shrewsberry’s 25-point outing. Just over a month later, the Irish would once again knock off Georgia Tech in Purcell Pavilion 58-55.

It has now been just under a month since the last matchup, and the tides have turned in that time frame. Since losing to Duke on the road on February 7th, the Irish closed out the season on a 5-3 run, including wins over their next opponent Georgia Tech, the team they would play in the next round with a win over Wake Forest, and Clemson on Senior Day. Two of those losses include competitive road games against Syracuse and Virginia Tech, two teams fighting to make the NCAA Tournament.

On the other hand, Georgia Tech also has bright spots to look at entering the tournament. After starting their season 8-3 including a win over a Duke, the Yellow Jackets finished 6-14 in their final 20 games, including three separate losing streaks of three or more games. However, they enter this one 4-2 in their last six games, including wins on the road against Miami and Wake Forest.

The guard-forward duo of Miles Kelly and Baye Ndongo are two pivotal pieces for this Georgia Tech roster, and they continue to carry them into March. Kelly, a 6’6 junior from Stone Mountain, Georgia is averaging 14.1 points per game, on 37.3% shooting, as well as 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists. For Kelly, he has scored 8-25-5-19-0 in his last five games, shooting 39.2% from the field in that same span. The highs for Kelly are very high, but the lows can be detrimental. In two games against the Irish this season, Kelly is averaging 18 points per game with 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

Baye Ndongo is a similar player in terms of inconsistency. In his last five games, Ndongo has scored 8-8-15-9-25, while shooting 48.9% from the field. It will be on the post-play to stop Ndongo, however, as he has shot just three 3-pointers since playing against the Irish for the first time back at the beginning of January. In two games against the Irish this season, Ndongo is averaging 13.5 points per game with seven rebounds and two assists.

For Notre Dame, it is going to once again be the freshman tandem of Markus Burton and Braden Shrewsberry expected to carry the load, but it might be time to throw another Notre Dame player in the mix. Tae Davis has scored double figures in each of his last five games, and six of his last seven. In that span, Davis is averaging 12.3 points per game, as well as 5.6 rebounds. There are multiple areas to highlight when addressing the late-season surge from the Irish, but Tae Davis is towards the top of the list.

After breaking the single-season record for points by a freshman in Notre Dame history, Markus Burton looks to will the Irish to a tournament run. He finished the regular season averaging 17.3 points per game along with 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds. The freshman also averaged two steals per game and had a steal in all but four games. He is coming off a 24-point outing in the loss against Virginia Tech while shooting 50% from the field. Expect Burton to be a key piece on the defensive side of the ball in this one.

Braden Shrewsberry has cooled off since scoring 25 against Georgia Tech back in January, and he is more than due for a big-time game. In his last four games, Shrewsberry is shooting just 5-22 from the three-point line, and averaging 9.5 points per game, which brought his season average below double digits. The window is open for Shrewsberry to have a great game; however, he will have to get going early on in the first half.

Notre Dame v. Georgia Tech will be the first game of the ACC Tournament and will tip off on Tuesday at 2:00 PM on ACCN. With a win, the Irish will play the five-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons at 2:30 on Wednesday on ESPN.


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