If Hewitt wants to alter perceptions, he needs to beat Georgia

Paul Hewitt can shout loud and clear but only winning will solve his problems.

Paul Hewitt can shout loud and clear but only winning will solve his problems.

We tend to not pay too much attention to college basketball around here until football is over, with two notable exceptions: 1) When Georgia Tech loses to Kennesaw State (check); 2) When Georgia Tech plays Georgia.

So is Tuesday night when the programs officially pass each in adjacent elevators?

The Jackets and Bulldogs meet at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The perception since early in Mark Fox’s first season in Athens is that the Dogs have momentum and are moving forward while the Jackets are regressing and even imploding under Paul Hewitt. (Tech’s loss at Kennesaw State three weeks ago did nothing to change that.)

When I asked Hewitt Monday if he agreed with that perception, he bristled.

“How do you want me to answer that?’ he said.

Any way you want.

“I’ll leave that up to other people. We went to the tournament last year.”

Hewitt must realize a significant portion of the fanbase believes last year’s team, with NBA draft picks Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal, underachieved by reaching only the second round of the NCAA tournament (loss to Ohio State). There was a way to answer the question. That probably wasn’t it.

Notwithstanding that it’s early December, this may be as important a game as Tech plays all season. If the Jackets lose at home to Georgia, it would increase the heat on Hewitt. Win the game, and his young team would get some needed momentum. Either way, it’s a major swing.

It’s different for Fox. Win or lose, there will be a sense of optimism about his program’s direction. Some are picking the Dogs to win the SEC.

Do you agree? And how important do you think this game is for the Jackets and Hewitt — and their respective futures?

(Programming note: I will be live blogging Tuesday from the 7 p.m. game from Alexander Memorial Coliseum. ESPN2 is televising the game.)

– By Jeff Schultz


Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

201 comments Add your comment

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

DawginLex

December 6th, 2010
5:03 pm

I bet Tech wins because they are tired of hearing how bad things are. Plus it is at home.

Won’t surprise me if UGA wins but this has Tech written all over it.

The role reversal is going to happen over the course of the season.

UGA will go 10-6 in the SEC and make the NCAA’s.
Tech will go 7-9 in the ACC and end up in the NIT.

Herschel Talker

December 6th, 2010
5:04 pm

FIRE MARK RICHT

GStateBen

December 6th, 2010
5:06 pm

Kennesaw has 1 win this season. It’s at home vs. Georgia Tech. Feel the burn Paul, feel the burn.

El Bravo

December 6th, 2010
5:07 pm

It is not that important because, win or lose, the perception about Tech will not change. Tech has underachieved under Hewitt and one game against the Dawgs will not change perception (this is not football). Only a winning record in the ACC and another trip to the dance will change the way the public views this team (and that may not even be enough).

GT in CT

December 6th, 2010
5:08 pm

I think CPH does not need this game to change the perception of the GT program, but he needs a season of overachievement. A win against UGA would be a nice start, but it’s a long road. GT provides pleasant surprises so rarely.

The Blair Miss Project

December 6th, 2010
5:08 pm

<————– WIDE LEFT <—————–

Tomorrow's game is a lose-lose for Tech.

If Tech loses the game, UGA fans will ridicule them all year, again.

If Tech wins the game, UGA fans REALLY. DON'T. CARE.

(((((42-34)))))

Jim Beam

December 6th, 2010
5:10 pm

I think this is also a big game for UGA. They are facing a rival away from Athens and they have not really looked good this year with close games against average competition. This will be a test, but Go Dawgs none the less!

The Blair Miss Project

December 6th, 2010
5:11 pm

LOSE/LOSE for the Techies tomorrow night.

A) Tech loses the game. UGA fans ridicule Tech fans all year long. This bothers Tech fans MUCH MUCH MUCH more than they wil EVER admit.

B) Tech wins the game. UGA fans REALLY. DON’T. CARE.

(((((42-34))))) (((((SHREVEPORT))))) hahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

mmgtfan

December 6th, 2010
5:12 pm

I want to know who in the world picked UGA to win the SEC!?!?!?!?!?

The Blair Miss Project

December 6th, 2010
5:12 pm

I hear the fish fries in Shreveport are outta this dadgum world.

-Paul Johnson

The Blair Miss Project

December 6th, 2010
5:14 pm

The Motel 6 in SHREVEPORT is running a special, since they still have not gotten a call from a Tech fan(sic) since the announcement of the bowl bid acceptance.

Sammy Dawg

December 6th, 2010
5:15 pm

All the pressure is on Hewitt. Expect another “Wizard of Techwood” crowd pleaser. Dawgs by 5. Hewitt snaps at Jeff (or some other reporter who dares to ask him a question about his ability) in the post game. Then again, Tech basketball is becoming irrelevent, even tech fans don’t care about basketball until this bozo is tossed.

The Blair Miss Project

December 6th, 2010
5:16 pm

Here you go Techies……

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shreveport,_Louisiana

Read up. Learn a little something other than Calculus.

Paul Hewitt

December 6th, 2010
5:16 pm

THERE YOU GO AGAIN! How can I be expected to win when ajc soprtswriters continue to say negative things about me and my team? Why don’t you guys try being a coach sometimes?
It’s hard getting your team ready to play powerhouses like Kennesaw St.

I expect and demand only praise, adoration, thanks and congratulations from journalists like Bradley and Schultz (if you start being nice I might let you guys polish my shoes).

The Nature Boy

December 6th, 2010
5:17 pm

The dawgs seem to play good in spurts they looked great against Notre Dame early..(Notre Dame cracked the top 25 this week) and they looked great early against UAB last Fri nite..if the dawgs play well for 40 minutes they should win by 8pts….I think Paul Hewitt is a good recriuter nothing more

Jim Beam

December 6th, 2010
5:21 pm

Nature Boy….I agree. They have come out hot and the fallen off a little. Robinson is a great closer though. Still waiting on Travis Leslie to show what he his about (outside of those nasty jams vs. Notre Dame)

Jamaaliver

December 6th, 2010
5:22 pm

Hewitt’s contract just might be one of the worst in the annals of college athletics. Since we’re seemingly stuck with him until he chooses to go elsewhere, let’s go Tech!!!!

P.S. Is it just me, or does Hewitt hail form the Mike Woodson School of Public Relations???

Auburn 2010 SEC CHAMPS

December 6th, 2010
5:22 pm

What’s basketball?

Paul Hewitt

December 6th, 2010
5:23 pm

If Tech would start paying me decent wages I might put more effort into it.

I think I’ll pass on putting a game plan together for Ga. Hey, anybody know where that new bingo parlor is?

LakeDawg

December 6th, 2010
5:23 pm

UGA is still learning how to play a full 40 minutes. This is a mental process more than anything else. Tech being at home and a little desperate should win this game, but don’t be shocked if Fox’s hounds continue to show improvement and steal this one.

The Blair Miss Project

December 6th, 2010
5:26 pm

<————- WIDE LEFT <—————–

(((((42-34)))))

82Dawg

December 6th, 2010
5:27 pm

@ HT can we fire you, get a new line….

UGA Athletic Department

December 6th, 2010
5:28 pm

Hey Techies….

Do you need to borrow $7MIllion to buy out Hewitt??

Funny, we really don’t consider that to be that much money. But apparently you guys cannot shake a stick at $7 Million.

$7 Million….. hahahahahaha!!!!!

Dan

December 6th, 2010
5:29 pm

UGA Athletic Department

December 6th, 2010
5:31 pm

$7 MIllion: What UGA makes with 1 home football game (no matter the opponent)

$7 Million: What Georgia Tech makes in about 3 football seasons. (If UGA plays at Tech twice in that 3 year span)

Losers.

Diablo69

December 6th, 2010
5:31 pm

Listen, I am a basketball snob. I grew up watching Dean Smith guide UNC to the national championship with Derrick Phelps, Donald Williams and Brian Reese in the starting line up. That said GT currently plays the most unwatchable brand of basketball I have ever seen. We trot out a McDonald’s All American and a slew of 4 star recruits and get absolutely crushed by teams with much less talent. Why is this? The same reason an athletic, guard oriented team cannot guard the perimeter. The same reason an athletic, guard oriented team cannot shoot the ball. It’s 100% coaching. Anyone with more than a casual interest can watch a Tech game from the past 5 years and see that these athletes have no guidance; no greater understanding of how to play as a team. Someone please replace Hewitt so he stops embarrassing himself, Georgia Tech, and the game of basketball.

blazer

December 6th, 2010
5:35 pm

6-6 Liberty bowl third in the might sec east=NOt Again!! ha ha

hot carl spackler

December 6th, 2010
5:35 pm

either tech will win or tech will beat themselves…just ask chris boggs.

Sanford Drive

December 6th, 2010
5:36 pm

The Dawgs play basketball???

Who knew? Who cares?

over paid equals under achieve

December 6th, 2010
5:36 pm

if basketball coaches were paid on commission, then you would see a whole new ballgame..but what is the urgency in this matter to win? The seven figure paycheck keeps coming every week, 52 weeks out of the year for the last several years with worse scenarios than losing to Kennesaw St.

GT5150

December 6th, 2010
5:37 pm

Is it odd that people want to talk football on a blog about basketball? Also, no talk about the unranked Lady Jackets beating the 21st ranked Lady Dawgs 69-53.

WE, yeah right

December 6th, 2010
5:42 pm

UGA Athletic Department, who is We? You probably haven’t given a dime to uga nor did you attend school there and you are saying “we”? UGA is drooling in the money, too bad you were not smart enough to use some of it to buy you a better bowl last yr, couldn’t buy your way into a better bowl or buy yourself 6 wins this season or buy yourself silence out of the state patrol who arrested your athletic dept or pay off the police dept in athens…I believe it is your turn to be the greeter tonight at Walmart, better get off the computer and get going Mr. WE

The Nature Boy

December 6th, 2010
5:44 pm

Yes the dawgs play basketball…as Jim Beam said Robinson is the key. Thompkins and Leslie will get their points..these dawgs are only gonna get better..at the end of the year they’ll be able to play with anybody in the country…I do wish we had an “enforcer”..a guy 6′9″ 240lbs to camp out in the paint and play D….that’s the only player we are missing…we don’t really need a shooting guard w/ Leslie and Thomp..

Spike

December 6th, 2010
5:46 pm

GT5150.. Really, womens’ basketball? That is all you have? Pathetic. Weak.

redtop mountain man

December 6th, 2010
5:47 pm

kennesaw dribbles this state!

Jacket Backer

December 6th, 2010
5:48 pm

Can we get Michelle Joseph to coach tomorrow night?? Go Lady Jackets!

Paul in RDU

December 6th, 2010
5:50 pm

The season as a whole will say whether UGA is on the way up while GT is on the way down. Maybe they’ll improve over the season, but right now I have no confidence in GT’s ability to play a smart, well coached game against UGA.
The last 2 games were not promising. Northwestern is a good team who may, for the first time in the school’s history, make the NCAA this year, but GT’s performance against them was embarrassing. GPH made few adjustments against their 1-3-1 zone and with the usual outside shooting woes GT was blown out.

Willy

December 6th, 2010
5:56 pm

Jeff Schultz is a poor man’s Woody Paige.

Gordon

December 6th, 2010
5:56 pm

I hope I’m wrong, but I think I will be hearing “just like football” with about 3 minutes to go in the game.

The witty (not) Blair Miss Project has it right: if UGA wins it will be the most important thing in the world, and if they lose they will say they don’t care. But we have bigger problems than worrying about what UGA fans think as long as Hewitt is there.

By the way, year in and year out is there any school that has a lower wins to dollars spent on athletics in football than UGA?

Herscher Talker

December 6th, 2010
5:56 pm

Fire Paul Hewitt and Paul Johnson!!

CBI Cadet

December 6th, 2010
6:00 pm

Jeff – I agree it’s big for Tech (every win matters at this point for Hewitt). But I kind of liked his answer. How do you expect him to answer a question like that? Agree with you? Tell you the program is imploding and that Georgia is running the state in basketball, too? It’s like asking your bosses if online and other media are eating the daily newspaper for lunch. I don’t disagree that the Jackets need to improve, and although I’ve defended Hewitt in the past, a change may be needed. But let things play out.

RAMBLINWRECK

December 6th, 2010
6:03 pm

I think the SEC is weaker than the ACC by a mile. UNC has been struggling this year and beat kentucky! I bet UNC doesn’t finish in the top 4 in the ACC this year. Duke would beat any SEC team by 20. GT should beat UGA and it will be not because GT is so much better, but because the SEC teams are not very good. The fact that someone says UGA will finish 10-6 means nothing and is not a legit comparison between these two teams. Put UGA in the ACC in hoops and they go 6-10 at best!!! Hewitt’s days are numbered and then we can get mark price who has been said to have a small interest in coaching. We get price or any proven coach, we can return to being point guard U and getting back to getting national respect. I agree with dawginlex that GT is only an NIT team given the schedule we play plus we have hewitt which is a set back in it’s self.

Calhoundawg

December 6th, 2010
6:06 pm

The “Blair Miss Project” … that’s great! We Still Run This State –! Go Dawgs !!

Matt

December 6th, 2010
6:09 pm

Coach Hewitt feeling a little heat is he? Good. Losses to Kennesaw State and Northwestern have finally seemed to point to one inescapable fact-CPH can’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag. He can recruit, yes, but Lord have they woefully underachieved and lack any semblance of being able to play the fundamentals of basketball.

Frankly, the ONLY thing that would take the heat off of him at this point is to finish in the top three in the ACC and I really don’t see that happening.

Blue Fox

December 6th, 2010
6:10 pm

Jacket Backer, you’re right on, swap Hewitt for Joseph, we get the better coach with the men’s team and solve the Hewitt $7M contract buy-out at the same time.

Dawg1

December 6th, 2010
6:12 pm

? I bleed ‘Red and Black’, but continued to be miffed at the unhappiness Tech supporters seem to have with this coach.

Tech is a very difficult place to recruit to. If the kid sees a college as a ‘place holder’ until he is going on to the NBA, then Tech can fit the bill. But to keep a kid 2+ years is almost impossible.

The basketball team sits very low with the APR year in and year out. That isn’t the coach’s fault. That is a fact of life.

UGA will get there with CMF, but one has nothing to do with the other… Tech sould be happy with who they have, because the next guy may not be as successful.

Chris

December 6th, 2010
6:14 pm

I think Hewitt has been overrated for years. He cashed in on his trip to the final four with a contract that almost assures he won’t be fired. Tech fans can put all the heat under his seat they want too but it won’t matter. It will cost Tech too much to fire Hewitt.

Georgia…..I don’t know about winning the SEC but they’ll contend and make the field of 64 in March. Mark Fox already has a great recruiting class going and the program is on an upward trend. Just better hope a school like Kentucky doesn’t come calling before he can see it through.

Of course it's the contract

December 6th, 2010
6:18 pm

Think Tech will beat UNC three times this year?

Heue used to be know for D…last few games, there has been almost no D.

Johnny 5

December 6th, 2010
6:27 pm

You know what 101 – 85 is ??? That is GT Bball record over the necks from Athens. Back to football fools… we run this.

101>85