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Technical Tidbits 3/24: Jackets to face CSU Bakersfield in NIT semis

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It will be Roadrunners versus Yellow Jackets in the battle of the underrated mascots.

CSU Bakersfield v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With Indiana, Belmont, and Ole Miss all in the rear-view mirror, Georgia Tech’s next stop on the 2017 NIT tour will be at Madison Square Garden for a matchup with CSU Bakersfield in the tournament semifinals. The Roadrunners have won three games of their own as a very low seed in the NIT, knocking off No. 1 Cal, No. 4 seed Colorado State, and No. 6 seed UT Arlington ahead of next week’s game against the Jackets. They are one of the hottest and most surprising teams in the whole tournament, likely for the same reason that Tech is: CSU-B is not disappointed to be playing in the NIT. They made the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time after coming up from a very successful Division II stint and are currently in the NIT for the first time. They know the value of winning, regardless of where the game is played, and will be a tough out for Tech.

If the Jackets can make it past CSU Bakersfield, the next and final opponent of the season would be one of the other two NIT semifinalists: either TCU or UCF. In the article above, the AJC’s Ken Sugiura explores the relationship that Tech has with each of its three semifinalists, from Todd Stansbury’s stint as athletic director at UCF to a Memphis connection between Josh Pastner and CSU’s own athletic director. The most relevant connection comes in the form of TCU assistant Tom Herrion, a former assistant to Brian Gregory at Georgia Tech who now works on Jamie Dixon’s* staff. That would be a whole lot more concerning if Gregory was still around, but Josh Pastner has changed everything about this program. Mr. Herrion wouldn’t know where he was if he stepped into McCamish Pavilion today.

*Jamie gets an asterisk because he looks like a basketball coach trapped in the body of a tech mogul/Fortune 500 CEO

As you likely know by now, Georgia Tech will play in the NIT semifinals on Tuesday, a testament to the whole team’s hard work and sacrifices — including those made by the team managers. Each of the managers gave up their spring break to continue helping the team perform at a high level, but one in particular — Erik Maday — made the ultimate sacrifice: he cancelled a ski trip to Colorado to instead go to New York with the team. There are two kinds of cold in the world: good cold and bad cold. Good cold is fun because you get to ski and make snow angels in Colorado. Bad cold suck because it’s when you go to New York City and slip into a pile of trash on every corner. Erik has made the ultimate sacrifice, and we are thankful.