Live from the ACC: I say again, Tech’s going on a run!

Here's what stands between Tech and the Big Dance: A bad Carolina team. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Standing between Tech and the Big Dance is a bad Carolina team. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Greensboro, N.C.When I was covering Kentucky for the Lexington Herald-Leader back in 1982, a UK assistant coach named Bob Chambers used to kid me about how I kept raving about the job Don DeVoe was doing with Tennessee. (This was when Dale Ellis, the pride of Marietta High, was the Vols’ best player.) DeVoe and Ellis, Ellis and DeVoe … I admit I became a bit of a bore on the topic.

Finally Coach Chambers — a very nice man — could take no more. “Mark,” he said, “we’re going to be headed for New Orleans [site of the 1982 Final Four] and you’re going to be running behind the bus yelling, ‘What about DeVoe?’ ”

I mention this because I realize I’ve become rather repetitive on the subject of Georgia Tech’s potential. After a regular season in which the Jackets finished under .500 against ACC competition and managed one road victory in the conference, I can still – still — see Tech playing in the ACC tournament semis on Saturday. Heck, I could see the Jackets playing for the title on Sunday.

About now, you’re saying, “Are you nuts? There’s no guarantee the Jackets win tonight!” And there isn’t. But I think they do. I think they win handily. North Carolina is terrible. I know the game is in Greensboro, which is a Tar Heel city, but from what I’ve seen a lot of baby blue backers have given up on this team, and for good reason.

Me, I haven’t given up on the Jackets. They haven’t won three consecutive games since 2009 turned to 2010, but they could manage it here. They can beat Carolina — they’ve done it twice — and they nearly beat Maryland in College Park. (Tech would play the Terps on Friday if it wins tonight.) And then they could get Florida State in the semis, and the Jackets are way past due to beat the Seminoles.

Look at it this way: We all know Tech hasn’t played its best basketball to date, but we’ve seen enough glimpses to know there’s sufficient talent on this roster to get it right. And if you’re going to make a three-day run to the ACC championship game, you have to be deep. And this team is.

And with that, I’m going to go lie down on someone’s couch and have my head examined. I’ve seen the Jackets play five times in person, and only twice have they won. And still I keep waiting for this team to figure it out. It makes no sense, but there it is. I’m a nonsensical guy.

And now the floor is open for our usual live chat. I’ll be here until the game ends – I call it Tech 73, Carolina 57 — and I hope you’ll join me for all the color and pageantry of the only conference tournament that matters. (Except for the Big East. That one’s going great, huh?) I’d consider it a honor and a privilege if you’d join me.

473 comments Add your comment

David

March 11th, 2010
6:23 pm

Is Mfon going to start tonight?

HEWITT BEST FRIEND

March 11th, 2010
6:24 pm

Mark,

If we win tonight were in right….?

oh yeah FIRST

HEWITT BEST FRIEND

March 11th, 2010
6:24 pm

if we win we are in right Mark?

Angus

March 11th, 2010
6:24 pm

Will someone please say something?

I don’t want to be first.

HEWITT BEST FRIEND

March 11th, 2010
6:25 pm

Angus

March 11th, 2010
6:26 pm

Phew……

Should be a good night for the Jackets.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 11th, 2010
6:26 pm

Angus

March 11th, 2010
6:29 pm

I say unless Favors and Lawal each pick up two fouls in the first two minutes (which is possible), Tech’s OK tonight.

Angus

March 11th, 2010
6:29 pm

Well – looks like an over-zealous filter tonight – I’ll check in later.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 11th, 2010
6:29 pm

Well wrong again. I may not be first, by I would be stunned if the Jackets change their ways. Tech loses and asks “what other tournament is available”.

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
6:30 pm

Hewitt Best Friend takes the honors. Kudos.

And yes, I think this game, if won, would put Tech in the NCAA.

lanier

March 11th, 2010
6:32 pm

Mark I guess it’s ok to dream. Not a chance they get past the 1st round. Terps would eat them up

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
6:34 pm

Whoa! Spoke too soon. David takes the checkered flag after the spam queue is checked.

GTMAN:

March 11th, 2010
6:35 pm

Hey Asheville Mutt: Dawgs ask, is there a tournament and the answer is no, coz the puppies suck azz!

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
6:35 pm

If Udofia is starting, I’ve not been notified.

Brent

March 11th, 2010
6:37 pm

God bless you for keeping the faith Mark, I hope you are right. But don’t forget, not only is Tech capable of beating any team in the country, they are just as capable of losing to any team.

GTMAN:

March 11th, 2010
6:37 pm

Lanier, the Terps sure ate us up in MD beating with 1.5 seconds left on a prayer 3 pointer by a guy that hadn’t taken a 3 point shot since Junior college. You might want to reconsider that comment. Jackets win two and are in, while the dawgs win one and are done!

NCBravesFan

March 11th, 2010
6:38 pm

Mark: you are sitting about a mile from my house. Welcome to my town! Enjoy your stay and be sure to spend lots of ca$h. :)

sc jacket

March 11th, 2010
6:40 pm

Jackets win tonight, but it will be close… UNC has the talent to beat anyone (ask Syracuse). If we win, we are in the tournament regardless of what happens tommorow.

GTMAN:

March 11th, 2010
6:40 pm

Shumpert scores 25 tonight and Lawal and Favors each have double doubles. Jackets win big! 85-60 GT. See you tomorrow night against the one manned terps. Vasquez. Hold that dude in check, and Jackets win that game. FSU is lucky they beat us twice, Jackets win that one and lose to Duke in the finals. However, they will get in the NCAA’s and make a run, unlike another program in the state I know of…………..yep, that’s the mutts, coz they suck. THWG GO JACKETS!

dawg 4 u

March 11th, 2010
6:43 pm

Mark I agree with you. I have a feeling that all this potential will finally show forth in this tournament and that Georgia Tech will win at least two games and maybe three. I am finally in agreement with you and feel good about it. SCARY!

louisville slugger

March 11th, 2010
6:43 pm

MB, what’s the mood of the team and CPH? Have you been around them much today?

NoCoach Blewitt

March 11th, 2010
6:46 pm

GTMan ….. Maryland played five games in ten days if I am not mistaken ….. this time they would have had 6 days off and we will be playing back to back days …. I agree with Lanier, if we win tonight Maryland smokes us and Blewey blames Nancy Pelosi (no telling what lame excuse he will pull) Either way I am keeping my fingers crossed until I hear the glorious news that Blewey is gone on Monday

Robb

March 11th, 2010
6:50 pm

Mark,
You are right, my Tar Heels are absolutely awful this year. I hope we keep it close against Tech, but I am not holding my breath.

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
6:52 pm

Haven’t seen the team, louisville slugger, except when it was warming up.

Old School

March 11th, 2010
6:56 pm

Mark, so you really think Tech is going to win? Are the Heels that bad or do you think that Tech is finally going to play up to its potential since Valentines Day?

I gave some of the UGA fans a hard time during the latter part of the fall when some of them posted that they were having mixed feelings on whether they wanted the Dawgs to win or lose in their remaining games because wins may save Willie’s job. I couldn’t understand that mentality but now I can. I have been a Tech fan since I was 7 years old— well over 50 years ago–but this is the first time I have felt this way: ambivalent on whether they win or lose. To be truthful, I
would NOT be disappointed if they lost. I will not sit here and cheer for Carolina, but I can’t see myself sitting on the edge of my chair screaming like hell if it’s a close game. I believe that Hewitt has to go that badly.

So, Mark. Two questions:

1- If a 5-game win streak and a shot at the NC in 2004 can carry Hewitt through the six seasons of mediocrity (and that’s being nice) and underachieving, can one victory tonight (or two) and a berth in the Big Dance save his job.

2- If Hewitt did not have this insane roll-over/$7 million contract would he already be gone?

Looking forward to your blog tonight. I think you have way too nice in your columns regarding Hewitt (and persistently too optimistic that they would “turn the corner”) but I thoroughly enjoy your writing. You and Schultzie are the two reasons that I still actually buy a hard copy of the AJC, as well as follow ya’ll on line.

Guess we’ll know more in about 2 hours.

Old School

March 11th, 2010
6:57 pm

Mark, so you really think Tech is going to win? Are the Heels that bad or do you
think that Tech is finally going to play up to its potential since Valentines
Day?

I gave some of the UGA fans a hard time during the latter part of the fall when
some of them posted that they were having mixed feelings on whether they wanted
the Dawgs to win or lose in their remaining games because wins may save Willie’s
job. I couldn’t understand that mentality but now I can. I have been a Tech fan
since I was 7 years old— well over 50 years ago–but this is the first time I
have felt this way: ambivalent on whether they win or lose. To be truthful, I
would NOT be disappointed if they lost. I will not sit here and cheer for
Carolina, but I can’t see myself sitting on the edge of my chair screaming like
hell if it’s a close game. I believe that Hewitt has to go that badly.

So, Mark. Two questions:

1- If a 5-game win streak and a shot at the NC in 2004 can carry Hewitt through
the six seasons of mediocrity (and that’s being nice) and underachieving, can
one victory tonight (or two) and a berth in the Big Dance save his job.

2- If Hewitt did not have this insane roll-over/$7 million contract would he
already be gone?

Looking forward to your blog tonight. I think you have way too nice in your
columns regarding Hewitt (and persistently too optimistic that they would “turn
the corner”) but I thoroughly enjoy your writing. You and Schultzie are the two
reasons that I still actually buy a hard copy of the AJC, as well as follow
ya’ll on line.

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
6:57 pm

Somebody’s sure to ask how many Carolina fans are here. Not as many as you’d have thought. Place isn’t nearly filled.

lanier

March 11th, 2010
6:58 pm

I wonder why you havent seen them

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:01 pm

Actually, the place is filling in. But there are empties in the upper end zone.

Paul in RDU

March 11th, 2010
7:01 pm

Not many fans in baby blue? Hopefully the guys in red will come in later and start cheering for GT

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:02 pm

D’Andre Bell just received the Bob Bradley Award, given to the conference’s most courageous player by the ACC. Mr. Bradley was the longtime Clemson publicist and a fine man. (Also no relation to me, which was another reason he was a prince.)

mmgtfan

March 11th, 2010
7:07 pm

Favors is a monster

Technophobia

March 11th, 2010
7:08 pm

I could see us losing tonight or I could see us going all the way to the final. Either seems plausible due to the inconsistency.

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:09 pm

Favors with the first five GT markers. But now Rice dribbles the ball OOB.

Block out

March 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

Favors forgot to

mmgtfan

March 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

Gracious what a block

Technophobia

March 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

If Lawal had blocked that softer we would have had the ball. Think man.

Technophobia

March 11th, 2010
7:12 pm

Nice drive by Rice

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:13 pm

Drew just pulled up on a break and shot an AB. Carolina is awful.

Tech by four. Jackets playing very hard.

sc jacket

March 11th, 2010
7:14 pm

They have wasted some opportunities, but good start… Keep feeding it inside.

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:16 pm

Carolina started in a zone. Kind of a surprise. But Tech hasn’t been forcing up treys, which happens when you aren’t patient against a zone.

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:16 pm

That’s Pat Riley sitting behind the Carolina bench.

Allan LePits

March 11th, 2010
7:17 pm

You gotta just love it . . .

sc jacket

March 11th, 2010
7:17 pm

gotta make the free throws

Technophobia

March 11th, 2010
7:18 pm

MB said that Hewitt does a better job coaching big men but it seems like he does better with guard heavy teams. That seems counter intuitive at first but maybe it makes sense after all.

mmgtfan

March 11th, 2010
7:19 pm

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:19 pm

Tech up six after Gani’s three-point play.

Ron Burgandy

March 11th, 2010
7:20 pm

Thursday games are always empty. Friday is always the big day.

Mark Bradley

March 11th, 2010
7:21 pm

Don’t have a stats monitor. But that has to be five offensive rebounds for Tech already.