With UCF’s loss to TCU on Tuesday evening, the NIT Championship matchup has been set: it will be the Horned Frogs and the Yellow Jackets hooking up for one final game at Madison Square Garden. It was widely thought that Texas Christian was the superior team coming into the last semifinal game and it ended up turning out just as we’d expected, with a surprising TCU team under first-year head coach Jamie Dixon shutting down UCF and 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall in the second half. Dixon’s homecoming in Fort Worth ended up being an excellent move by the Horned Frogs and an unfortunate change for his former employer, the Pitt Panthers, who struggled under first-year head coach Kevin Stallings. They will be a tough out for the Jackets, and we’ll soon see if Pastner’s group is up to the task on short rest.
Georgia Tech baseball picked up a much-needed in-state win on Tuesday afternoon, taking down a hot Mercer team by a final score of 11-3 in Macon. The Bears are currently 21-6 overall with two wins over UGA, meaning that they seem to be on pace for another very successful season hot on the heels of the Kyle Lewis era. Every win is big for the 14-9 Jackets, even if it comes against a non-power five opponent. That’s especially true with tough series coming up against the likes of Clemson and Notre Dame plus a midweek swing with Auburn on the horizon. Those are all winnable games and are walking a thin line between must-win and would-be-nice-to-win.
With a slew of uber-talented ACC rookie players already having declared for the NBA Draft, the nation’s deepest conference will have quite a bit of talent to make up for come next season. It started with NC State’s Dennis Smith, Jr., an extremely talented player who was going to be a one-and-done from the very beginning, and continued shortly thereafter with FSU’s Dwayne Bacon, Wake Forest’s John Collins, and Duke’s Harry Giles among others. Some of those schools will reload as soon as this season (Duke in particular), but losing a guy like John Collins or Dennis Smith is extremely damaging for the likes of Wake Forest and NC State, respectively. The fact that FSU has had two guys declare so far is probably not good news for the Jackets given that we are locked in what appears to be something of a recruiting battle with the Noles, but whatever happens will happen as it should. We will know soon enough!