Georgia Tech’s ACC season will begin with more interest than usual.
The Yellow Jackets will open defense of their conference championship by beginning conference play Dec. 5 (a Sunday) at home against North Carolina in what will be the first league game for new Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis, who replaced legend Roy Williams. It’s Tech’s only league game that has been designated for ESPN.
“Hubert Davis, welcome to the ACC,” said coach Josh Pastner following the release of the league schedule Thursday night.
The conference opener falls in the middle of a rigorous non-conference stretch, in between Tech’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge game Dec. 1 against Wisconsin at McCamish Pavilion and a Dec. 11 game against LSU at State Farm Arena in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event. That’s followed by a visit to Phoenix to play USC on Dec. 18, then a home game Dec. 21 against Georgia State, which memorably beat the Jackets in quadruple overtime in the season opener last year.
After a seeming breather against Alabama A&M on Dec. 23, Tech will begin the bulk of league play at Syracuse on Dec. 29, followed by a home date with Louisville on New Year’s Day and then a Jan. 4 visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium for its only regular-season matchup with Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski in his final season. In the seven-game stretch from the Wisconsin to Syracuse games, Tech will play five teams that were in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, followed by traditional powerhouses Louisville and Duke.
“We’d better be ready,” Pastner said. “We’d better be in shape. That’s what I know.”
Tech will play home-and-home sets with its permanent partners, Notre Dame and Clemson, along with Boston College, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Altogether, the Jackets will play nine league games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season.
Schedule makers did not give Tech any Saturday/Monday combinations. The Jackets will have at least two off days before every league game. Their open date falls towards the end of January, when they will go from Jan. 19 (Wake Forest) to Jan. 26 (Florida State) without a game. Pastner had no issues with the layout of the schedule.
“You’ve got to play them somewhere (in the schedule),” Pastner said. “Everyone’s good in the league.”
Ten of the 20 games will be carried on ACC Network. Only one team, Pitt, is scheduled to be on the network more frequently.
2021-22 Georgia Tech men’s basketball schedule
Oct. 31 vs. Morehouse (exhibition)
Nov. 9 vs. Miami (Ohio)
Nov. 12 vs. Stetson
Nov. 15 vs. Lamar
Nov. 19 at Georgia
Nov. 22 vs. Charleston Southern
Nov. 26 vs. Georgia Southern
Dec. 1 vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
Dec. 5 vs. North Carolina
Dec. 11 vs. LSU (Holiday Hoopsgiving, State Farm Arena)
Dec. 18 vs. Southern Cal (Jerry Colangelo Classic, Phoenix, Ariz.)
Dec. 21 vs. Georgia State
Dec. 23 vs. Alabama A&M
Dec. 29 at Syracuse
Jan. 1 vs. Louisville
Jan. 4 at Duke
Jan. 8 vs. Notre Dame
Jan. 12 at Boston College
Jan. 15 at North Carolina
Jan. 19 vs. Wake Forest
Jan. 26 vs. Florida State
Jan. 29 vs. Miami
Feb. 2 at Virginia Tech
Feb. 5 vs. Clemson
Feb. 9 at Miami
Feb. 12 at Virginia
Feb. 15 vs. N.C. State
Feb. 19 at Pittsburgh
Feb. 23 vs. Virginia Tech
Feb. 26 at Notre Dame
March 2 at Clemson
March 5 vs. Boston College
March 8-12 ACC Tournament (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com