For the third time this season, Georgia Tech has knocked off a top-15 team in an actual, regulated game of real-life basketball, this time in front of a packed house at McCamish Pavilion. The weekend matchup versus No. 14 Notre Dame was being touted as a revival of the “Thrillerdome” even before the game started, but it was the finish — a last-second, game-winning layup by freshman Josh Okogie — which really completed the rebirth of one of college basketball’s best atmospheres — at least for now. You could have called the win over VCU a fluke. You could have called the win over UNC a fluke. If you really wanted to be a jerk, you could have called the Florida State win a fluke. Now, however, there’s no other way to put it: Georgia Tech is, somehow, a contender in the ACC. With an easier schedule down the stretch and an ever-improving core of players, the Jackets have climbed into the NCAA Tournament picture very quickly and could stay there until the bitter end.
If you need further evidence that four huge wins is no fluke, look no further than the above article from USA Today Sports detailing Josh Pastner’s departure from Memphis and his newfound success in Atlanta. The article itself is by far the best I’ve read on Pastner’s transition from his days with the Tigers to his hiring at Georgia Tech, but the fact is that it would never have been written had the Jackets not pulled off their handful of upsets this season. The fact that there is an audience for Georgia Tech basketball news for the first time in the better part of a decade really speaks volumes to what Pastner and the rest of his staff has been able to accomplish. The program was regarded as a sleeping giant of sorts long before this season, and being able to instill a winning culture from year one will only accelerate the process of being able to reach that goal.
Georgia Tech’s weekend visits produces a couple of new commitments yesterday afternoon, first from California OL/DL prospect Boe Tufele and then from local safety and former UCF commit Tariq Carpenter. Tufele, a last second official visit invitee by Paul Johnson just a few days back, could play on either the offensive or defensive line at Tech depending on the team’s needs. More importantly, he had the following to say about the weather in Atlanta:
BUT, BUT, HUMIDITY! That’s a great way to trigger some Atlanta heat truthers.
Paul Johnson has quite frankly been bullying Central Florida lately, pulling yet another commit away from the Knights just last night in the form of Tariq Carpenter. The Jackets will face off with UCF this season during the early goings, so hopefully there are no thoughts of vengeance on the mind of head coach Scott Frost. In other news, I had no idea that Scott Frost became the head coach down there. He was a hot commodity back when Oregon was rolling and oversaw a very nice comeback by Central Florida this season after a disastrous 0-12 campaign prior to his hiring.