Can Jackets still make it into the NCAA tournament?

Georgia Tech’s faint hopes on making the NCAA tournament rest on a deep run into the ACC tournament that will start Tuesday in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The odds are against them, but the No. 11 seed Yellow Jackets’ course could be worse. Tech will start Tuesday with a 7 p.m. matchup against No. 14 seed Pitt, a team that the Jackets came from behind to beat this past Tuesday. If the Jackets advance, they would play No. 6 seed Virginia on Wednesday.

And, should they upset the Cavaliers, the Jackets would then take on No. 3 seed Notre Dame on Thursday night in the quarterfinals. In order, that’s a team that appears to be reeling that the Jackets beat by controlling down the stretch (Pitt), a team whose shooting has run hot-and-cold that Tech lost to in January but is likely not afraid of (Virginia) and a team that the Jackets split with and that might have been their preferred opponent among the top four seeds (No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Florida State and No. 4 Louisville are the others).

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Georgia Tech forward Quinton Stephens compared the Yellow Jackets’ first-round matchup in the ACC tournament to the Super Bowl. (Associated Press)

“We saw our last game against Pitt as a Super Bowl,” forward Quinton Stephens said. “We knew it was a must win. This is even more of a must win in order to get to where we want to go to. We’re locked in.”

Would winning three games in Brooklyn be enough? It depends on who is being asked. The question was put to three bracket experts following Tech’s loss at Syracuse Saturday – Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and Andy Bottoms of the blog Assembly Call, judged to be the most accurate bracket projector of the past five years by a website that has filled society’s need for bracketologist rankings.

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