Georgia Tech kicked off ACC play in a rather dubious manner over the weekend, falling by a final score of 86-78 at the hands of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Jackets actually hung tight with the seventh-ranked Tar Heels, leading for much of the game before some suspect officiating helped the ACC's basketball sweethearts from Carolina pull away. If last season taught us anything, it's that close victories are in no way an indicator of how good a team is or how successful one will be. Questionable officiating or not (and the bad calls went both ways in many cases), a late-game collapse is not a great way to kick off the toughest part of the schedule. This is not to say that Tech didn't play phenomenal basketball until the controversial end, just that it's hard to spin a loss of any kind in a positive light after the frustrations of last season.
Sophomore center Ben Lammers, once a mere depth player for Brian Gregory's Jackets, has settled in nicely to a more prominent role in the Tech rotation this season. Lammers, a native of San Antonio, has found a way to take advantage of increased minutes in every way possible -- he has improved his totals in points, rebounds, assists, and blocks from his freshman year. I don't want to speculate on what his ceiling may be, but Lammers has flashed a Daniel Miller-like skillset during his limited collegiate career. An ever-improving midrange shot along with solid rim protection and decent passing for a big man very well could make him a solid player on The Flats for a few more seasons.
Clemson made waves around the college football world over the weekend, dismantling No. 4 Oklahoma in a 37-17 victory in the Orange Bowl to advance to the second annual playoff championship. The Tigers, currently the top team in the nation, will now face Alabama -- the winners of the Cotton Bowl over Michigan State -- in the 2016 championship game in Glendale, AZ. The Tigers have proven to be the best team in the nation, but few people have Dabo's squad favored over the one-loss Crimson Tide -- early betting lines and various experts have the Tide winning by as many as seven points over the nation's final undefeated team. The irony of the situation is that many of these experts were touting Oklahoma as the best team in the nation, projecting a Sooner blowout in the Orange Bowl. A loss to an ACC team, however, made quick work of that narrative: Oklahoma is now the overrated team. Funny how that works.
Are you encouraged by Tech's strong performance against North Carolina or is the team's failure to close out games something to worry about?