The basketball team dropped a very winnable game at Miami yesterday evening by a final score of 70-61, falling to 15-11 overall and 6-7 in the ACC. The Hurricanes, who were already stricken with depth issues before the game even began, received word just 15 minutes before first tip that second-leading scorer and starting point guard Ja’Quan Newton had been suspended for three games. The door was already open for Tech, but the absence of such a prolific player really swung it further and made the win all the more possible. Instead, what we saw was a Tech offense that looked lost at times and a Miami offense that could do no wrong -- plus another career day from legendary referee Ted Valentine. Please, get that man away from this conference.
Georgia Tech may have dropped a big game to Miami last night in quite the hideous fashion, but let’s not forget that the 26th game of the season was never supposed to be a big game at all for this team. As the above article from CBS Atlanta suggests, Josh Pastner has been very open about what he was told at the time of his hiring. That includes the fact that his first season carried with it quite literally no expectations whatsoever from within the program, with onlookers telling him that he may not even win five games on the year. Not five games in the conference, not five games over a stretch of a few months, but five games all year long. Everyone doubted the team and it simply blew expectations out of the water in a way that just doesn’t seem physically possible even now. Kudos to Josh Pastner on tuning out those silly people like me.
Meanwhile, baseball season has snuck up on us extremely quickly. The first game of the 2017 campaign starts tomorrow afternoon when Tech hosts BYU for the first of three games in the annual Atlanta Challenge at Russ Chandler Stadium, a great opportunity for an early-season win against a quality opponent. A big part of the team’s success both in tomorrow’s game and this season in general will be slugging infielder/outfielder Kel Johnson, a member of the Golden Spikes watch list who very well could be playing his final collegiate season if all goes well. He is an immensely talented player who promises to be a critical piece of what looks like it could be a very successful 2017 season.