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Technical Tidbits 3/20: Jackets advance in NIT, Justin Thomas shows out at pro day

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Ole Miss is next on deck after a blowout victory against Belmont on Sunday afternoon.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Georgia Tech vs Pittsburgh Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech basketball extended its season by at least one game on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Belmont Bruins at McCamish Pavilion by a final score of 71-57 to advance to the NIT’s third round. It was a career day for Quinton Stephens in his final game on the Flats, as he went for a career-high 23 points and received the privilege of walking off the court to chants of his own name. Tech’s next opponent will be the Ole Miss Rebels, who we’ll see on Tuesday night down (or up, rather) in Oxford. Playing on short rest has been absolutely killer for a depth-deprived Georgia Tech team all season long, a trend that Josh Pastner and company will have to kick if they hope to advance to the final four of the NIT and secure a 20th win on the season.

Win or lose on Tuesday, Josh Pastner made a true miracle during his first season of basketball at Tech. One of the most underrated aspects of that miracle is the way that his hard work has completely revitalized the fanbase, shown through the best student support in decades and an energized gameday environment at McCamish Pavilion that we haven’t seen in over a decade. On Sunday, we saw a near-sellout at McCamish Pavilion for a Sunday afternoon start.

In the second round of the NIT.

Against Belmont.

During spring break.

What?

I feel confident in saying that there was a better fan presence at that game than there was at any single game under Brian Gregory, and that’s a testament to the hard work done by both Pastner and the Georgia Tech students who have been so receptive of his optimism and desire to remake the basketball culture.

For former Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas, a chance to play in the NFL hinges completely on his ability to successfully make the transition from signal called to one of two skill positions: wide receiver and cornerback. The above article places his chances of making it as an NFL quarterback at “slim,” but that’s being a bit too gracious. An impressive pro-day performance over the weekend, however, could have been the shot in the arm that Thomas’ draft stock needed to really get off the ground, likely as a wide receiver. He could be incredibly successful in that role, boasting an official 4.3 forty time on Friday and showing off his hands a couple of times during drills. It would be shocking for Thomas to be selected above the final round or two if at all, but a strong pro-day performance likely did wonders for his stock among NFL front offices.