Fair to say that this hasn't exactly been the season we were hoping for out of Georgia Tech's basketball team, eh?
No, with one regular season game remaining, Georgia Tech isn't on the good side of the bubble to make the NCAA Tournament (where many fans were hoping this squad would be right now). It's not even on the bubble to begin with. Heck, this team isn't anywhere near the bubble.
No, the team that had a decent run through its non-conference play (going 9-3 with a couple of quality wins and only one bad loss) has since completely fallen off the map. They've gone 3-14 in ACC play and have made a name for themselves by consistently finding ways to lose close games. The team that scored 4 points and no field goals in its first 14 minutes at Clemson, stormed back all the way to tie the game at 60 (a 56-24 run over 26 minutes), and then took 4 minutes of OT to make another bucket and lost by 7, is the same team that earlier in the week led #17 Louisville at home by 13 with 9 minutes remaining on a night when the Cardinals were barely shooting 30% from the field for most of the game, but went on to score 10 points the rest of the game and lose by 1.
Many fans pointing fingers where they think parties are at fault. There's one thing I'd like to make clear though: the frustrations and disappointments of this season are not Georgia Tech's players. Those guys work hard and have played with heart all season long. It's been a highlight of the last couple of months to watch the players give it their all game-in and game-out. They do most or all of the little things right, such as defense and rebounding. As much as the fans may have quit on the team and season, the players haven't quit on themselves for a second.
No, if you want to point fingers, they should be directed at the coaching staff -- the head coach, in particular. That the team isn't consistently getting its doors blown off and is capable of playing such good teams so closely so consistently tells me that the players are good enough. That they've lost every close game they've played in (many when they had late leads, even sizable ones) tells me that the coaches are not good enough, and the buck stops with Brian Gregory on that particular issue. There has been a pattern of questionable clock management techniques, suspect personnel moves, and lack of offensive strategy that has directly translated to losses, taking a group of players capable of being competitive in ACC play and rendering them one of the bottom 3 teams in the conference. It's caused leads to be erased, losses to pile up, and empty seats to become the norm at McCamish Pavilion.
To this writer, what we've seen this season says that this team has players capable of being a .500 squad in ACC play. It does not, however, have the coaching capable of attaining that mark. A quick look at the standings shows teams like Pittsburgh and Miami at .500 in conference play -- and, coincidentally, also in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament bid. Instead of being in that conversation or anywhere near it, Georgia Tech's postseason potential rests on this upcoming weekend's ACC Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, NC. Any loss there will end the Yellow Jackets' season, and most likely the Brian Gregory era of Georgia Tech basketball (and rightfully so).
Some will attempt to defend Gregory (though that group shrinks with every loss), and outside of results there really isn't much to criticize him for. He's always been very engaged with the student body, he promotes Georgia Tech and speaks highly of its offerings (basketball and otherwise), and he's never created controversy or blatantly tried to draw attention to himself. He's always been courteous to the media (myself included) and has generally outperformed his predecessor off the court. He's a great guy and a good basketball coach, but the fans and players deserve better than what they've gotten on the court under him. Gregory will be successful elsewhere, but the time has come to move on at Georgia Tech.
It's all over but the crying.