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Technical Tidbits 2/24: Pastner remarks on tourney chances, Ole Miss begins downward spiral

Today is a great day not to be an Ole Miss Rebel.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

If you ask Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech’s path to the NCAA Tournament is not as murky as it may appear. As damaging as the loss to NC State was, the head man still feels that a 2-1 finish to the season — which would land Tech at 9 conference wins — should be more than enough to justify a spot in the big dance, particularly if Tech can also pull out a win or two in the ACC Tournament. The RPI is severely hurt at this point given the ugly out-of-conference defeats and the most recent loss, but the good news is that the tournament pool is determined by humans and humans have famously short memories. Leave the selection committee with a good taste in its mouth by winning two of the next three and then making a short run in the ACC Tournament and I believe they’d have a hard time excluding Tech from the field.

Georgia Tech baseball is bracing for a big weekend series against the visiting Youngstown State Penguins which could lead the diamond Jackets to a perfect 7-0 start to the season if all goes well. Though they boast one of the hottest power hitters in the nation in first baseman Andrew Kendrick, the Fighting Bo Pelinis are off to a disappointing 0-3 start to the season with losses to Austin Peay, Indiana State, and Illinois State — all in blowout fashion. The offense has six total homers on the year, but five of those came from Kendrick. As a unit, they only hit .218 with a .255 on-base percentage — hardly stats that will stand up against a Tech pitching staff which has looked impressive so far.

As the Ole Miss scandal continues to unfold, it appears that payment shenanigans and other NCAA violations could end up costing head coach Hugh Freeze his job. The Rebels self-imposed a postseason ban and could face much stiffer penalties in the coming weeks as more information surrounding their bagman incident surfaces, but one thing is true: the Ole Miss program could be sent back to the stone age as a result of this scandal. If this investigation is handled properly at all, they will be made an example of -- and rightfully so. Will that change the practices of college football? Absolutely not. Programs will keep doing whatever they can to get a leg up until earth runs out of pigskin. Ole Miss, however, could be dealing with lost scholarships, a postseason ban which could extend past even this season, a new coaching staff, and a badly-damaged brand combined with an in-state rival on the uptick. If the NCAA decides to extend the postseason ban by even a single year, Shea Patterson’s career is likely already over. He may not transfer like others would, but he would also never get to play in a game of true significance. That hurts as much as anything for a Rebel program which was just getting its footing.

Of course, this is hardly just an Ole Miss issue. The NCAA put a blindfold on, threw a dart at a map, and just so happened to hit Oxford. After all, the investigation stems from a player who was paid $13,000 - $15,000 by Ole Miss but elected to attend another school -- inferably not for free. Have fun with this one, Mr. Emmert. The branches will probably run on forever once it all gets started.