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Technical Tidbits 2/22: Jackets fall to NC State, barely miss comeback bid

Though the game will go in the loss column, Tech nearly completed the comeback of the century against NC State.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina State at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed out on Georgia Tech’s weekend victory against Syracuse, you also missed out on the entire student section heckling Orange guard John Gillon with relentless chants of “airball” after an early-game miscue. The Georgia Tech consensus was that the chants were both hilarious and effective given that Gillon finished with 7 points on 2-10 shooting, but a disgruntled Syracuse fan who called Josh Pastner following the game evidently had a different view. Pastner’s response to the angry voicemail was to call the man back and explain why chanting airball is a perfectly acceptable thing to do at the ACC level, but how effective his response was remains to be seen. His explanation is hilarious, at least.

Georgia Tech nearly completed a miraculous comeback last night against NC State, falling by a final score of 71-69 at McCamish Pavilion on a missed would-be game-winner by Tadric Jackson. That’s not at all a knock on Jackson, who put Tech back in the game with a three-pointer with 8 seconds remaining, but rather a remarkable testament to how close Tech came to winning a game in which they trailed by 9 with 36 seconds on the clock. The loss hurt Tech’s NCAA Tournament chances tremendously, but here are a few positive things to remember:

  • The final play was beautifully drawn up by Josh Pastner. He got Tadric Jackson a wide-open shot to win the game from across the court with 2 seconds left — something that we never saw in five years under Brian Gregory.
  • We witnessed a team with almost no offensive options nearly complete a 14-point comeback in 3 minutes. Not many teams are still competing at that point, providing further proof that Josh Pastner has assembled a phenomenal coaching staff.
  • McCamish Pavilion was packed on a Tuesday night to watch a game versus one of the worst teams in the conference. The times are changing.
  • This team was supposed to go winless in the ACC and I would’ve told you that we’d lose this game by 15 if you’d asked before the season started.

At the very least, we now have a somewhat clearer picture of what Georgia Tech needs to do in order to make it to the NCAA Tournament comfortably: run the table. The loss to NC State will hurt Tech’s RPI ranking, but the selection committee also claims not to look at RPI. That’s very hard to believe given that very few teams with poor RPI rankings make the tournament, but Syracuse made it last season ranked 71st and advanced all the way to the Final Four. One team is hardly a trend, but maybe Tech will continue to blaze the path for low-RPI teams to go dancing.

Technically speaking we could lose out and still make the tournament by winning the ACC Tournament, but that would be quite difficult for a depth-starved team like Tech. On the flip side, we’ve clearly seen that there isn’t a team in the conference that the Jackets aren't capable of beating. The point is that all hope is not lost, even in the event that Tech can’t get it done during the regular season.