Posts Tagged ‘Georgia State Panthers’

For Georgia State hoops, it was a happy and shoeless night

Corner of Decatur & Collins Street, 11:31 a.m., Thursday morning. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The corner of Decatur and Collins, 11:31 a.m. Thursday. (Photo by M. Bradley)

It was a big night for Georgia State basketball, a program that hasn’t known many big nights. The coach went shoeless. His team wore orange. There was a grass-roots attempt to pack the GSU Sports Arena, which even the showman Lefty Driesell couldn’t do on a regular basis, and the result, if not quite a full house, was the fullest GSU had known since December 2008, when Florida State was the guest.

And halfway through, athletic director Cheryl Levick was ready to pull the plug — at least on the orange shirts. “There were so many distractions,” she said. “I wanted to say, ‘Get rid of those orange jerseys and get back in your white.’ ”

At halftime, see, Georgia State was tied with North Carolina Wilmington. With 10:14 left, the game was still even. Three minutes later, it wasn’t. The Panthers had surged ahead by 10 points and would win by 14, their 12th victory in the past 13 games. All this because of …

Continue reading For Georgia State hoops, it was a happy and shoeless night »

College basketball insider: Georgia State, conference champ?

Georgia State's Ron Hunter: Setting his cap for a title? (AJC photo by Phil Skinner.)

Georgia State's Ron Hunter: Setting his cap for a title? (AJC photo by Phil Skinner.)

(A word of explanation: This feature was part of our first weekly college basketball package, which is scheduled to run every Tuesday in the print AJC. I offer it to you in the interest of full digital disclosure.)

Hoops hysterics

1. Who’s the third-best team (behind North Carolina and Duke) in the ACC? Right now it’s Virginia, but there’s some question as to how the deliberative Cavaliers have gotten to 14-1. Their only win over a ranked team came against Michigan, and their loss was to unranked TCU. Their next two games are on the road — at Duke and then at Georgia Tech. We’ll know more soon.

2. Who’s the second-best team (behind Kentucky) in the SEC? Florida lost its conference opener at Tennessee. Mississippi State lost its conference opener at Arkansas. The team to watch is Vanderbilt, which lost four times in pre-conference play (twice in overtime) but has won five in a row and …

Continue reading College basketball insider: Georgia State, conference champ? »

It’s a miracle! Mr. Wrong actually got some things right in 2011

Yay, me! (AJC photo by Mr. Ben Gray; whiteboard stylings by Ms. Mandi Albright.)

Yay, me! (AJC photo by Ben Gray; whiteboard stylings by Ms. Mandi Albright.)

This year ends in a way few years have ended for this famously erring prognosticator. It ends with me getting to say, “Know what? I actually got some stuff right.”

For once, the annual Accountability Scoreboard isn’t a tale of woe. I picked Georgia to go 10-2 and win the SEC East, which it did. I picked Georgia Tech to finish its regular season 8-4, which it did. I picked LSU to win the SEC, which it did, and finish as the BCS titlist, which it well might. I picked Auburn, which won the last BCS title, to lose five games, and sure enough …

I picked the Hawks to beat the Magic in Round 1, which indeed occurred. Heck, I even picked VCU to crash the Final Four. (OK, now I’m embellishing.)

About the only thing I got close to right in 2010 was picking the Falcons to go 12-4 and win the NFC South. (They actually went 13-3.) This time I was right, sort of, in the grand scheme — I picked the 2011 team to grab …

Continue reading It’s a miracle! Mr. Wrong actually got some things right in 2011 »

Already setting Georgia State records, Hunter dreams bigger

Ron Hunter reacts placidly to the defeat of William & Mary. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Ron Hunter reacts placidly to the defeat of William & Mary. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Nine months on the job, Ron Hunter has already done something only one other Georgia State basketball coach ever did: He has won eight consecutive games, matching the record established by Lefty Driesell’s Panthers on their run to Round 2 of the 2001 NCAA tournament. Here, however, comes a disclaimer:

Not one of the eight teams the Panthers have beaten holds a winning record, and if you’ve ever wondered how an  8-3 team can have an RPI of 287, here’s your answer. According to ESPN Insider’s numbers, Georgia State has played the worst schedule among the 345 Division I teams. And here, bang on cue, came Hunter’s rebuttal.

“First of all, I didn’t make the schedule, but I’d rather play the Sisters of Poor 27 times and be 27-0. It’s more about winning than RPI. If my mother brought her team down here, I’d want to beat her — and I love my mother.”

And here Hunter, who in addition to being smart …

Continue reading Already setting Georgia State records, Hunter dreams bigger »

2011 college Heat Check: Georgia got hot; Tech got warm

Tech's Stephen Hill feels the hot breath of the Bulldog D. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Tech's Stephen Hill feels the hot breath of the Bulldog D. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

We’re nearing the end — news flash! — of the calendar year, and our weekly Heat Check takes on broader scope. We review the year just past, and we look toward 2012 and we tick off folks in the process. Got that? Here we go.

Georgia Bulldogs: They rose from 6-7 to the top of the SEC East, winning 10 consecutive games in the process. Then they lost by 32 points to LSU. The debate will rage until next September whether Georgia got really good again or just benefited from a bunny schedule. The view here is that it did both. (The two aren’t mutually exclusive.) But it’s true that the Bulldogs lost to the three best teams they played, and it wouldn’t hurt to beat Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. 2011 Heat Index: A hot season removed Mark Richt from the ol’ hot seat. 2012 Hotness Outlook: Should be a preseason Top 10 pick and the favorite to win the East.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: They …

Continue reading 2011 college Heat Check: Georgia got hot; Tech got warm »

Heat Index: Warm moments for Tech, UGA and the Richts

Todd Grantham gives Mark Richt a manly handshake. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Todd Grantham gives Mark Richt a manly handshake. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

The Heat Check returns a day late after a two-week hiatus, but hey … a return’s a return! And we begin with those who’ll be involved in a game of some interest come Saturday noon.

Georgia: Champion of the SEC East, the winner of nine in a row,  the author of a rebound season. Think back to August: Would Georgia fans have taken all that and been happy? Sure they would. Heat Index: Mark Richt has gone from sitting atop the ol’ Hot Seat to sharing a warm moment with Mrs. Richt in front of 90,000 friends and neighbors.

Georgia Tech: Ranked in the Top 25, the winner of eight games after getting stuck on six last season, the author of a rebound season. Think back to August: Would Tech fans have taken all that and been happy? Yes, with a caveat. Heat Index: No Tech season can ever be ruled a complete success if the Jackets lose to Georgia.

Atlanta Falcons: They went to the no-huddle against Tennessee …

Continue reading Heat Index: Warm moments for Tech, UGA and the Richts »

For local college hoops teams, it figures to be a chilly winter

Just about everything has changed for these programs in 12 months. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Much has changed for these programs, and others, in 12 months. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mark Fox took the Georgia job on April 2, 2009, which makes him the dean of local men’s college basketball coaches, which tells us much about the fluid state of local college basketball. “We’re still unpacking boxes,” Fox said Wednesday, bemused by his status, at age 42, of Elder Statesman.

Then he said: “This is a tough business right here.”

Fox spoke before the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s annual luncheon at the Marriott Marquis. Around the room, three other coaches, none of whom has yet coached an actual game at their particular school, were doing interviews. All were trying to be optimistic, but occasionally a note of reality intruded.

Said Ron Hunter of Georgia State: “We’re going to be better than expected — I’ll say that.”

And beating expectations, to be frank, wouldn’t take much. The four schools represented at the luncheon were a combined 53-72 last season, and that was with …

Continue reading For local college hoops teams, it figures to be a chilly winter »

Heat Check: Hail Tech and the Dream, Atlanta’s shining lights!

Tech's Tevin Washington, dual-threat QB, sheds Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro. (AP photo)

Tech's Tevin Washington, dual-threat QB, sheds Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro. (AP photo)

It wasn’t the greatest week in the history of local sports. The Braves, who hadn’t been swept in a series all season, got swept twice. The Falcons’ Super Bowl Express suffered a malfunction in Chi-town. Georgia fell to 0-2 for the first time since Jim Donnan was a rookie Bulldog coach. Which impels our Monday Heat Check to turn elsewhere for glad tidings.

Georgia Tech: The Jackets could always run, and now they can pass, too. (Wait a second. Is that newfangled forward pass legal?) The chief reason they fell from 11-3 (forfeit not included) in 2009 to 6-7 last season was that Demaryius Thomas wasn’t around to catch wobbly passes and give the spread option an aerial option. Now Stephen Hill is making like Bay-Bay and Tevin Washington is emulating Daryle Lamonica — did you know the Mad Bomber was a high school rival of the famous prep quarterback Bobby Cox? — and Tech has beaten two lesser …

Continue reading Heat Check: Hail Tech and the Dream, Atlanta’s shining lights! »

No longer a novelty act, Georgia State embarks on Year 2

It was another winning night for the guys in blue. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

It was another winning Opening Night for the Panthers. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Georgia State football was new last season, and new is almost always fun. This year stands to be more successful — having gone 6-5 in 2010, the Panthers should better that — but less noteworthy. The novelty is gone. What’s left is a college team trying to carve a niche in a market not lacking diversions.

The Panthers played their first-ever game Sept. 2, 2010, drawing the surprisingly robust total of 30,237 patrons to the Georgia Dome. That was, however, the maiden voyage’s emotional crest. In six subsequent Dome games, Georgia State didn’t once break 17,000.

Year 2 for GSU began Friday night, and it wasn’t quite the same. The Dome’s lower bowl, which accommodates 28,155 and was packed on Opening Night 364 days earlier, was only two-thirds full. (And the “visiting” team was Clark Atlanta, which sits within the Dome’s shadow.) You could argue that there’s a lot happening this holiday weekend — …

Continue reading No longer a novelty act, Georgia State embarks on Year 2 »

Kennesaw, Tech and Georgia State: Assessing hoops hires

At Kennesaw, Lewis Preston walks into a difficult job. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

At Kennesaw State, Lewis Preston walks into a difficult job. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Here I sit, smack in the midst of what was, at least for six weeks, the Coaching Vacancy Capital of the Basketball World, and now the positions have been filled and darned if I can find cause to criticize any of the three. Have I lost it or what? (Don’t answer all at once.)

Georgia State hired Ron Hunter. Georgia Tech hired Brian Gregory. Last but not in any way least, Kennesaw State hired Lewis Preston, who was introduced at the school Tuesday. I’d give solid B’s to Tech’s and KSU’s new men, and I’d give something better to Georgia State’s. Here’s a look at each case.

Kennesaw State: This was the trickiest of the three hires. The Owls had to first find an athletic director, and they landed an impressive one in Vaughn Williams, who apprenticed at Boston College and UConn. Then Williams, whose official start date isn’t until May, had to identify someone willing to take a job that pays less — …

Continue reading Kennesaw, Tech and Georgia State: Assessing hoops hires »