Live from Day 2 of the ACC tournament: Fear the Techsters!

Greensboro, N.C. — Duke lost at Georgia Tech in January. The Jackets were routed in Durham last month. So who wins Round 3 Sunday?

I know. I’m getting ahead of events. I’m also getting a feeling. (I know. Dangerous territory for me.) But the team that nearly played its way out of two tournaments last night — the ACC and the NCAA — will play better tonight. And if Tech plays well, it will beat Maryland.

Do I guarantee this? Absolutely not. With Tech, there are no guarantees. But the Jackets were unlucky to have lost in College Park on Feb. 20 — Cliff Tucker hit over Glen Rice Jr. at the horn — and I’m not sure how much the Terrapins want to be here.

They tied Duke for first place in the ACC’s regular season, and they’re safely in the NCAA field. And for all Gary Williams’ fretting, his team often arrives at the conference tournament and lays a big fat turtle egg.

The Terps have won the ACC once in 20 seasons under Williams, that in 2004. Since its title, it has reached the semifinals once. It has lost three times in its first game. None of those teams were as good as this, but it’s worth recalling that Williams’ two best teams — the 2000-2001 crew, which crashed the Final Four, and the 2001-2002 NCAA champs — didn’t reach the ACC title game.

A ton of lip service is paid to the concept of fatigue in a postseason tournament, but momentum is more important. Tech played last night, but Tech should have settled into this event — granted, it took 20 minutes — in a way Maryland could not. We saw this afternoon how much settling-in means: A Virginia team playing without its best player trailed Duke by two points with six minutes left, and  Miami, playing without its best player, beat Virginia Tech.

The Cavs and the ‘Canes played yesterday. So, at least in the second half, did Georgia Tech. I see the Jackets hitting the Terps hard early and withstanding a wrath-of-Williams run. I see Tech playing Saturday and maybe even Sunday. (And surely the opposition in the title game would be Duke. Can’t envision Miami overcoming the minions of Mike K.)

Then again, I didn’t imagine Tech would trail the tepid Tar Heels by 13 points in the first half and by 10 at halftime. But I think the Jackets will relax and play tonight. They’re OK, NCAA-wise. (Know who wouldn’t be OK if it hadn’t won in Atlanta seven days ago without its second-leading scorer? Virginia Tech.) We’re going to see Georgia Tech play its best game of the season tonight. This I believe. But this in no way do I guarantee.

And with that, I’ll be happy to entertain your questions, your comments and the usual “Bradley, you’re a moron” proclamations. (And I must say, many among you were rather gloomy when the Jackets were in arrears against North Carolina. How in the wide world of sports did I become Mr. Optimist?) I look forward to our usual live chat tonight, and I fully expect — but will not guarantee — we’ll being doing it again Saturday.

691 comments Add your comment

ATL Native

March 12th, 2010
5:48 pm

GT 93

March 12th, 2010
5:49 pm

Go Jackets! Mark – Hope you’re having a great time at the tournament. Here’s a “shout out” to my brother, mom and sister-in-law who made the trip to root for GT!

ATL Native

March 12th, 2010
5:54 pm

I hope you’re right about Tech, even though I’m a DAWG fan. I want to see local teams play throughout the wk-end. Oh yeah, GO DAWGS!!!

Innocent Bystander

March 12th, 2010
5:55 pm

It’ll be interesting tonight. That much is for sure.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 12th, 2010
5:58 pm

3rd turtles sting the Jackets

Innocent Bystander

March 12th, 2010
6:00 pm

Hey Mark, what’s the atmosphere in Greensboro like? Lots of Duke fans or what?

SoWeGa Jacket

March 12th, 2010
6:08 pm

In your frequent Hewitt is in dangerous territory commentary it seems
that you leave out a discussion on chemistry and/or difficulty in keeping
players for a four year college career. The later seems to have been a big
problem for the ACC recently. Tech, beginning perhaps with Marbury,
seems to have greater difficulty than its conference peers – any thoughts?

will

March 12th, 2010
6:10 pm

Mark, who has a big game for Tech tonight?

willie

March 12th, 2010
6:11 pm

Mark, who will have a big game for Tech tonight?

willie

March 12th, 2010
6:12 pm

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
6:12 pm

Great opportunity for some payback ahead of us. Maryland tonight then FSU or Clemson if we advance. It would be SO nice to serve those teams a nice big glass of STFU.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
6:12 pm

I don’t know, SoWeGa Jacket. Carolina has had one-and-done guys. So has Duke. Wake Forest lost Chris Paul and Jeff Teague and John Johnson early. Hewitt has had three one-and-dones — Chris Bosh, Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton — and one three-and-out (Jarrett Jack). That’s a lot, but it’s not off-the-chart material. Not over nine years.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
6:13 pm

Atmosphere is muted, Innocent Bystander. It rained yesterday and is raining as we speak, and the arena hasn’t yet been packed.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
6:13 pm

I’d say Derrick Favors, willie. He had 21 and 18 against UM the first time.

Thirty Points to your Twenty-Four Points

March 12th, 2010
6:14 pm

{{{{{30-24}}}}} Just a reminder!!!

Thirty Points to your Twenty-Four Points

March 12th, 2010
6:14 pm

{{{{{73-66}}}}} just a reminder!!

Thirty Points to your Twenty-Four Points

March 12th, 2010
6:17 pm

Why does Georgia Tech have trouble selling tickets to their home football games??

Because Thursday nights are Star Trek nights on the SyFy Channel.

GT 93

March 12th, 2010
6:21 pm

Hey UGA fan. You guys had a good game last night and wish you luck against Vandy tonight. Congrats again on winning the 2008 BCS championship (pre-season)! Just a reminder!

jtown

March 12th, 2010
6:26 pm

Mark, is there any way you could put a mutt filter on this blog???

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
6:33 pm

jtown, I think they call that a muzzle.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
6:37 pm

Jtown, Here’s my thought on fans crossing over, blog-wise. Take it as a compliment. The way I do when somebody says, “Bradley, you’re a stooge.”

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
6:39 pm

I was looking at an NBA mock draft today and noticed that Kentucky has THREE lottery picks projected, #1, #3 and #10. On top of that, they have the #23 projected pick. Is anything short of a NC acceptable for their fans? Will they have anything left next year?

One last thing, besides Tech only Carolina and Wake have lottery picks on their teams in the ACC. They will be watching us play tonight.

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
6:42 pm

Looks like the spam filter got my last post.

jtown

March 12th, 2010
6:43 pm

That’s probably good advice Mark. Any other fans of any other school but uga are welcome. Just a mutt filter only. I hope you are good on your predictions this weekend! Which Tech team will show up tonight? We’ll see soon.

louisville slugger

March 12th, 2010
6:44 pm

MB, again, I hope you’re right tonight! I do actually like the matchups against Maryland, as long as the turnovers are minimized. Rotating a bunch of guys on Vazquez should tire him down a bit.

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
6:44 pm

Shumpert is due for a big game, hopefully he’ll play well, and smart.

Dan

March 12th, 2010
6:49 pm

Mark – since last night’s brilliant performance against the come from ahead Tar Heels prompted your vision (hallucination?) of a potential Elite Eight spot for the Jackets, is it Final Four bound for Tech if they win tonight?

Jackets2010

March 12th, 2010
6:54 pm

I agree with your jitters theory Mark.
If teams don’t relax, they are one and done.
Isn’t that what was wrong with Clemson for their whole game?
Only the experienced Booker played well.
Mark yoy’ve got your basketball for nothing and the trips up for free.
I should have bummed a ride.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
6:54 pm

Technophobia, Kentucky fans think this is a championship team. I think it’s a Final Four team, but not an NCAA champion.

louisville slugger

March 12th, 2010
6:55 pm

MB, check your spam filter, my last post didn’t make it! I sure hope you’re right again tonight. I actually do like the matchups against Maryland, as long as the guards play well and minimize turnovers.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
6:55 pm

Dan, if Tech wins tonight, it will play the Atlanta Hawks for the Eastern Conference title.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
6:56 pm

Good Terrapin turnout. Not such a big throng for GT. Although Glen Rice is here.

Jackets2010

March 12th, 2010
6:56 pm

I think Tech will hit their threes a lot more often tonight.
Favors is getting better with each passing game.

Benjamin

March 12th, 2010
6:59 pm

Who is your number one team on the bracket, MB?

I’m going to stick with Syracuse, even though Georgetown and Louisville appear to have them figured out…

GTPhenom

March 12th, 2010
6:59 pm

IT IS BASKETBALL TIME GUYS!!!! The Jackets are going to come out with a fire we haven’t seen in quite some time (I hope!!!) Everyone say it with me: GOOOOO JACKETS!!!! STING’EM!!!!!

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
7:00 pm

Kentucky is almost an NBA team with those 3 lottery and one first round pick.

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
7:01 pm

Lord help me. I’m actually getting pretty fired up for this game. Go JACKETS!

GTPhenom

March 12th, 2010
7:02 pm

Techno, before last night, i was right there with you. Now i feel like I am back at the football ACC Championship!!!

GTPhenom

March 12th, 2010
7:03 pm

This is going to be a good one!!!!

GTPhenom

March 12th, 2010
7:04 pm

So, who do you guys think could surprise everyone by having a good night tonight?

GTPhenom

March 12th, 2010
7:05 pm

So, who do ya’ll think will surprise by having a big night.

Technophobia

March 12th, 2010
7:06 pm

Mark, do you know what kind of offense Hewitt tried to install before the Duke game, the one they spent 3 days on? I would love to see us play a motion offense like Duke often does. Maybe next year when we’ll be pretty loaded with shooters.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
7:06 pm

A sight seldom seen: Gary Williams laughing. He and Hewitt had a pleasant conversation. They’re pretty big buddies, you should know.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
7:06 pm

Kansas, Benjamin.

GTPhenom

March 12th, 2010
7:07 pm

Hmm, that is cool I guess. So Mark, who do you think could surprise people tonight.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
7:07 pm

Greensboro Coliseum still isn’t full. Hasn’t been full yet.

GTPhenom

March 12th, 2010
7:07 pm

sorry about the double post guys

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
7:09 pm

I don’t know, GTPhenom. Zachery Peacock?

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
7:12 pm

Lawal with a nice baseline reel to open the scoring.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2010
7:13 pm

Hewitt calls timeout after 127 seconds with his Jackets down 4-2.