Tech’s out of the Top 25, but it’s not yet on the bubble

Paul Hewitt: "Please take me to the dance." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Paul Hewitt to Iman Shumpert: "Please take me to the dance." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

I keep hearing folks say Georgia Tech is in danger of missing of the NCAA tournament. It isn’t yet. Should the Jackets lose every game from here on, they won’t make it. But they won’t lose every game. (I feel very confident about this.)

Tech’s RPI is 29. If you’re a team from a major conference and you’re in the top 30, you’re a lock. (Yes, even if you go 7-9 in league play, which could happen. The Jackets are 5-6.) In his latest installment of Bracketology on ESPN.com, Joe Lunardi has Tech as a No. 9 seed, which isn’t bad for a team that has lost three of four.

Forget the Associated Press and coaches’ polls. They don’t register with the NCAA committee. (Good thing, since Tech just dropped out of both. In the former, it received only one 25th-place vote.) As esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach notes in ESPN’s Bubble Watch :

“Tech seems to be in OK shape. The Jackets have five wins over RPI top-50 teams (Duke, Wake Forest, Siena, Clemson and Charlotte) and are 7-8 against RPI top-100 foes. But Tech can’t afford to lose the games it is supposed to win down the stretch, starting with Tuesday’s home game against defending national champion North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets play at Maryland on Saturday and play at Clemson on March 2. They could use another road victory before Selection Sunday.”

Tech could stand to win on the road, sure. It would also behoove the Jackets to win a game in the ACC tournament. But as long as they win their three home games — Carolina and Boston College are terrible, but Virginia Tech is playing well — they’ll make it. Since they don’t play anyone ranked ahead of them, their RPI doesn’t stand to rise or fall much from here.

But there is one major negative to all this. The lower your seed, the worse your chances. Back to Lunardi’s bracket: He has Tech meeting Illinois in Round 1, and Tech would beat the Illini on inside power alone. (Georgia upset both teams, as you probably know.) But look who would be waiting in Round 2.

Kansas. The best team in the country. In Oklahoma City.

It was six years ago that the Jackets beat KU in overtime in St. Louis to qualify for the Final Four. But that was then. (And the Jackets were a No. 3 seed to the Jayhawks’ No. 4.) If Tech plans to stay long in the Big Dance, it needs to work its way up to a No. 7 or even a No. 6 seed. Otherwise it’s looking at one win, max.

170 comments Add your comment

Massengill Nozzle, QB GT

February 15th, 2010
2:19 pm

Don’t have time to read the article.

I assume we’re talking NIT bubble?

Mark Bradley

February 15th, 2010
2:20 pm

You’re first, Massengill. Kudos for that. But you will have to read the post to find out.

That guy

February 15th, 2010
2:20 pm

Damn! 2nd so close

nickj0321

February 15th, 2010
2:29 pm

ahhhhhh FIRE PAUL HEWITT

Barry Gee

February 15th, 2010
2:29 pm

Tech has two of the most dominant post players in college basketball in Lawal and Favors. If Tech misses the sweet 16, Hewitt should be out of a job, period. What has he done lately besides underachieve and recruit “one and done’s”?

MagnaCarterGT

February 15th, 2010
2:30 pm

I just can’t see it happening. This team has regressed an incredible amount in such a short period of time – and just after everything was supposedly coming together.

I wonder

February 15th, 2010
2:30 pm

if blewitt reads these things?

BT75

February 15th, 2010
2:30 pm

How long ’till football season????

How can a coach do so poorly with so much talent!!!!

El Techato

February 15th, 2010
2:30 pm

Fourth?, who cares, I guess I Paul Blewitt on being First

That guy

February 15th, 2010
2:32 pm

I don’t see GT making any noise whatsoever this post-season.

Hey Bradley, how about your take on the Kennesaw State Owls basketball team? You know just for something fresh. They play Campbell tonight and can be heard on 920 am or 920am.com.

I’m just saying neither is likely to win a NC, so why not cover the upstart Owls who could possibly make a berth in the NCAA tourney in their first year of eligibility?

MagnaCarterGT

February 15th, 2010
2:33 pm

It’s also something you said earlier, Mark – a team with this much talent shouldn’t have to depend on RPI to get into the tournament, but it looks like that’s what’s going to happen.

Brandon from Warner Robins

February 15th, 2010
2:33 pm

Hello Mark,

Tech made a mistake by signing Hewitt to that huge contract. No way out of it, unless they want to pay.

lanier

February 15th, 2010
2:34 pm

they better win out if they dont want to get bounced early in the Big Dance

Michael

February 15th, 2010
2:35 pm

Georgia has a better team than Georgia Tech!

want me to prove it? 73-66

Hewitt is a Joke

February 15th, 2010
2:35 pm

Same sh-t, different day. Groundhog day.

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
2:36 pm

I’ll admit I’m a fairweather fan to some extent but there sure are a lot of coaches in Tech’s history that were fortunate the internet did not exist when they were here.
Curry, a Rice hire too inexperienced to be any good, lost to Duke his first four chances.
Ah to be a grad like Goff and Shula.
Ross first two years were awful as well with 3 straight losses to the dukies.
Too bad we didn’t have the web to voice our opinions of that excellent coaching.
Another Rice hire was Bill Lewis who had to be fired midyear because his team hated him.
Ah the good ole days.
Why doesn’t someone get Mark Price to teach free throws or is he waiting the get the top job?

BT75

February 15th, 2010
2:37 pm

I think Hewitt will have a much harder time recruiting after this. Who wants to be on a team that has so much talent and still looses due to poor coaching.

Old School

February 15th, 2010
2:38 pm

Tech will win one(1) of their last 5 (at MD or at home vs BC) to finish 19-11 overall and 6-10 in the ACC. The will be “one and done” in the ACC Tournament, no matter who they play, and will go to the NIT. Paul Hewitt will write a book called “Great Expectations Unfulfilled Since 2004.” Mark Bradley will also come out with two new books, “How the Most Talented Team in GT History Fell Flat” and “Derrick Favors: My Love Child.”

BravesFan79

February 15th, 2010
2:40 pm

No doubt GT Will make the tourney, just like i predicted last year. However the lack of a great offensive minded assistant has clearly hurt the ceiling of what should be a Final 4 level team.

Tengo El Buzz Bien Grande

February 15th, 2010
2:40 pm

What if this happens during this years football season, ay Dios mio!

That guy

February 15th, 2010
2:40 pm

I don’t see Tech making any noise this post-season.

Hey Bradley, how about your take on the upstart Kennesaw State Owls? You know for something fresh. I like GT basketball, but they have been extremely dissapointing lately.

The Owls are in their first year of division I full eligiblity. IMO their success of late is worth the ink more so then the mediocrity of the Jackets.

KSU plays Campbell tonight and can be heard on 920 am or 920am.com. At the very least it’s more basketball for roundball fans.

That guy

February 15th, 2010
2:41 pm

Sorry for the double similar posts. They’re not going up right away.

jeff c.

February 15th, 2010
2:42 pm

Look, CPH gave GT new life when Cremins was fizzling out. He has brought in some great players and a trip to the title game, but having said that, I think it is time for someone else to step in and re-energize the program. Even if Favors leaves (which judging by Sat. night he should not!) and Lawal, we still have a strong nucleus of players coming back, plus C. Holsley coming off a redshirt. A new coach could bring a lot of buzz back to ATL and the ACC.

The University of Georgia Tech

February 15th, 2010
2:44 pm

i hope gt gets it together, but i think it is all just to loose in first round. hire bobbyknight!!! lets start overahciving and quit underachieving

Mark Bradley

February 15th, 2010
2:44 pm

Not sure how good Tech will be next year. Figure four of the top six players — Lawal, Favors, Bell and Peacock — are gone.

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
2:45 pm

I backed off my criticism of Homer Rice a few days ago because of the facilities he has added to GT but the most important function of ADs is the hiring of coaches.
Yes Paul Johnson is a good hire but that’s a long time between Dodd and him.
I didn’t like the way Cremens was run off and it got ugly at times and it looks like we’ll go through it again.
That’s the main reason I hoped this year we would do better.
Well I’m fairweather so why should I care?

Conyers Yellow Jacket

February 15th, 2010
2:46 pm

Mark: I wish I could be as optimistic as you are. Please tell me how a team playing like GT
is now expect to win enough games as you are projecting in this article. They
would be lucky to win 2 more regular season games as I see it unless they drastically improve in free throw shooting, getting the ball in bounds and have much better coaching from the bench. Also,
the hype about the great talent has not materialized on the court. I hope I am wrong and you are
right but I don`t see it happening this way. I don`t think the players or the coach have the mental
toughness to pull off a NCAA bid.

Paul Hewitt's Wife

February 15th, 2010
2:48 pm

who cares anymore…..if they make the tournament they will lose first round….my husband is good at that…….either way we still our getting our paycheck…..shout out to David Braine

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
2:48 pm

Tech hiring Bobby Knight would be ironic.
A past Tech star player, the center who died young from a heat condition I think, transfered to Tech to get away from him.
At least he was not real impressed.
Paired with Mussberger though he seems like the nicest guy ever.

jeff c.

February 15th, 2010
2:49 pm

It sounds strange to say, but this could be very similar to ‘04 when we lost Bosh & E. Nelson. BJ Elder= Brian Oliver; Anthony Mchenry=Glen Rice Jr.; Jarrett Jack=Udofia/Shumpert. Incoming freshman Jason Morris is compared to Ish. Muhammed. Maybe Daniel Miller can be the new Luke Schenser? I just know I want to see more Rice and Oliver. They seem to be the only 2 who are giving it everything right now.

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
2:50 pm

Roger Kaiser turned out to be a very good coach. Why didn’t Gt eve look his way? I guess we were happy with Creens most of the time.

jacket

February 15th, 2010
2:51 pm

Unacceptable. Fire Hewitt now! He hasn’t developed any of his perimeter players to drive and penetrate to the basket. That’s why the 1990 team and the 2004 teams were so good – Kenny Anderson and Jarret Jack could penetrate into the lane and either lay it in or dish it or kick it back out for a 3 pointer.
Until we get that back, we’ll never be elite and never win the ACC – I don’t care how good the front line is.

NoCoach Blewitt

February 15th, 2010
2:55 pm

EPOCH FAIL!!!!!! Thats all I can say about Blewitt’s reign

NoCoach Blewitt

February 15th, 2010
2:56 pm

They will be 0-16 in ACC good next year with Blewitt back at the helm …….Guaranteed

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
2:58 pm

Mark I appreciate your going over what Braine might have been thinking since GT does lose coaches after they do well such as Curry and Ross.
But I really don’t like the box we have been put in.
I have noticed in football that when the legend retires, the fans jump with both feet on whoever replaces him and for a lot of reasons, doesn’t do as well.
Hewitt may well be a lousy coach but just like with Cremens, it gets difficult to think originally with fans on your back.
Now with revisionist history, Cremens is popular here again.

Ozzy

February 15th, 2010
2:58 pm

Is the UNC game on TV in Atlanta?

I’d rather watch from the couch than witness another Hewitt coached game in person. Especially with a 9:00 tip off.

NoCoach Blewitt

February 15th, 2010
3:00 pm

Gotta be on WATL if blacked out on ESPN ……..I have two tickets too but ugh I do not want to witness this train wreck ….if we lose to UNC without 3 of their top 4 inside players I am offically done watching and going to the games until the DONK is gone!!!!!!

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
3:00 pm

Not that it matters but I am not contributing one cent to the buyout.
Not my problema.
There is some alum who will step forward to pay it?
No one seems to be in a hurry.

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
3:02 pm

Ozzy sorry to disappoint but the wealthy alum to buy out Hewitt is not me.
Ought to get Teixiera. Was he here more than a year?

The Dude

February 15th, 2010
3:05 pm

Barry Gee,
I agree with your statement about Hewitt needing to be gone. However, I disrespectfully disagree about Favors. When has he been dominant? He’s not even the best big man on the team. He’s close to not being the second best big man on the team. Sure he’s a prototype build for the NBA, but he hasn’t lived up to the billing as far as I’m concerned.

Ozzy

February 15th, 2010
3:10 pm

What’s the Over/Under on airballed free throws by Gani?

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
3:10 pm

Here is my suggestion, rediculous as it may be, for the team.
I would like to see us fast break constantly always pressing the attack.
I would like it to be a run and gun approach.
Guys want more shots?
This way they would get it.
And as Bobby Knight joked in agreement, if you shoot it fast, you might not turn it over so much.
But consider this offered for laughs.

matt r

February 15th, 2010
3:12 pm

The most accurate bracketologists also have GT an 8:

http://bracketology101.blogspot.com

NoCoach Blewitt

February 15th, 2010
3:13 pm

How about turnovers by Chumpert and Mfon combined? # has to be in double digits

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
3:14 pm

I agree with Jeff C and The Dude.
And I’ve come around to agree with someone who thinks we should avoid the one and doners.
You can’t plan ahead.
I wonder if other players with the NBA not in their immediate future don’t resent them.
But who knows?

Asheville Dawg

February 15th, 2010
3:15 pm

Out-coached,over-reated, and unranked. It’s time to see the sun in the western horizon. The new coach at Tech will be………………………….

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
3:15 pm

NCB that’s why I want us to put it up as soon as we can before we turn it over.
That may be laughable but can’t be much worse.

Don

February 15th, 2010
3:17 pm

Mark, I don’t know how a guy who has watched sports for as many years as you have can continue to hand games to teams, particularly mediocre inconsistent teams. Illinois won at Wisconsin last week. That was Wisconsin’s first home loss of the season and I think they had a win streak in the 40’s. This Tech team has shown it can lose to nearly anybody away from home.

You say Tech would handle Illinois because of their superior inside power. How many touches did Tech’s inside players get down the stretch against Wake? Guard play dominates the NCAA tournament, which makes Tech vulnerable to nearly anybody in the tournament.

NoCoach Blewitt

February 15th, 2010
3:18 pm

Jackets2010 ……I would be okay with that if it wasnt Chumpert and Mfon shooting …that is obviously a train wreck …..why can’t the starters be Miller, Oliver, Bell/or Rice, Favors, Lawal. …….thats what it should be but Chumpert was guaranteed position in starting lineup

Jackets2010

February 15th, 2010
3:19 pm

Asheville have u ever thought where Georgia’s program would be if Dooley had just done like DRAD did with CPJ and matched the offer for Tubby Smith.
Tubby Smith would have gotten Uga to the final four if not a championship and all you’ve gotten instead is basketball misery.
Harrick and Adams ruining Jarvis Hayes’ final season.
Terrible years instead of good ones ande just because Vince didn’t step up with the dough.