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Mailbag 3/10

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What’s your favorite Keanu role?

92nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

What would need to happen the rest of the season for Tech to retire either Jose’s or Moses’ jersey? - majorQ9

Ben: I think we’ve covered this before. Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it, but going far in the NCAA Tournament certainly wouldn’t hurt their chances.

Andrew: Here are the requirements for having a jersey retired at Tech. https://ramblinwreck.com/jersey-retirement/ One of the rules is that a player must have received a degree, this prevents the likes of Kenny Anderson and Dennis Scott from having their jerseys retired.

Akshay: Riffing off Andrew’s information, both Wright and Alvarado will get their degrees, so I don’t see why we wouldn’t retire those jerseys. Alvarado has a bit flimsier of a case without the POY, but surely, you have to at least put Wright’s number up the rafters, right?

Jake: Wait, neither of these awards are national player of the year awards, and no one is first team All-America yet. So I don’t think either have the requirements, yet. Sadly.

Nishant: More generally, I’d much prefer a Ring of Honor deal over retiring jersey numbers, considering there are only ~36 numbers that college basketball players are allowed to wear (both digits can only go 0-5 as far as I’m aware). And I have to think one or both of these guys would qualify for Tech’s Ring of Honor.

As a Fire Saga fan: are you more: “Húsavík, My Hometown” or “Jaja Ding Dong”? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: I don’t know what exactly you’re asking. What is a fire saga?

Jake: Uhhhhhhhhh...yes?

Nishant: Pretty sure this is a Eurovision reference, but I choose to believe it was a typo and you’re actually referring to Fire Emblem, and... these titles could absolutely be Fire Emblem chapter names.

Your favorite Keanu Reeves’ role: Ted Logan-Excellent Adventure, QB Johnny Utah-Point Break, John Constantine, Johnny “Mnemonic” Smith, Ofc. Jack Traven-Speed, Kevin Lomax-Devil’s Advocate, Thomas Anderson/Neo, QB Shane Falco, John Wick, Klaatu, or just himself? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: My Keanu experience is pretty low, but I’ll give the nod to Neo. I’m a big fan of the original Matrix, and I don’t think the other two are that bad.

Akshay: It’s a tie between Shane Falco and John Wick.

Jake: I like himself. It’s a very fun point to be at (I imagine) to get to play yourself.

Nishant: Oh... Sugar Bowl. (shakes head sadly)

You would sell your soul (cause you aren’t using it) for which: a MBB National Championship in the next 5 years, or a CFB National Championship in the next 10 years? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: Give me the CFB National Championship. Simply put, I think that would be remembered longer. Now, which do I think is more likely? Probably the MBB Championship.

Jake: I would take the March Madness win. I think that would be more memorable (and possible) just from the sheer insanity that is a 6-7 game romp through a bracket and the added variability that helps a basketball team vs. college football, which would be two bruising CFP games. And that sport is so very chalky, as is.

Nishant: Why sell your soul when you can put it on the line by playing The Seal of Orichalcos? As much as I’ve been down on the MBB team over the past... forever, I think they have an actual realistic path to winning a title if the pieces were to ever come together. I don’t see a realistic path for the football team in the current environment of the sport, and I’m more emotionally invested in them anyway, so they’re my pick.

Pastner: We were all down on him after those first two losses (two teams that nearly auto-qualified, but still). How do you feel about him now? I know I was uncertain but I think he’s shown a lot and (I believe) one of our best recruiting classes in ages is coming in. Clearly he’s bought himself a bunch of time, but do you think we’ll be able to continue building? - CTJacket

Ben: Pastner certainly tripped and stumbled his way up to this point, but it’s very clear that despite all that, he’s put together a really solid team. I feel pretty good about him for now, but I think he will still have to continue to be successful over the next few years to really solidify himself.

Andrew: My opinion has changed significantly. I was always concerned with his recruiting, but he hit it out of the park with the 2021 class. He has to show some consistency, and I think he has with back to back winning ACC seasons.

Akshay: I said this a few weeks ago, but I think we’ve been so obsessed with actually making the tournament that we haven’t really thought about what happens afterward. For my part, I’m with Andrew: my opinion of Pastner became more positive towards the tail end of the season, and despite the various caveats you can make about this season, he still got this team to a double-bye and a probable NCAAT bid. Do I trust him to turn one tournament appearance into consistent ones + consistent advancement once there? That remains to be seen, but he’s got to start somewhere.

Jake: The fact that we are at a point where we can say “do we trust Pastner to do this again?” is pretty awesome compared to where we were at, in my opinion. His recruiting class looks very nice, we still haven’t even seen Tristian Maxwell out of this year’s class, and he’s shown that he can develop some talent pretty well. I still don’t trust some of the in-game playcalling (late in games has been tough) but, for all his bumps along the path, I don’t see why we can’t imagine him doing something similar again next year or within the next few. This season is going to get future recruits’ attention, too.

Nishant: One thing I’d really like to see, which I think is vital if Tech actually wants to ascend to the upper echelon of the ACC, is actual frontcourt depth. For Pastner’s entire tenure, he’s had one big man who’s played at a high level—going from Ben Lammers to James Banks to now Moses Wright—but there’s also been zero depth behind him. That they’ve had a standout big every year speaks well to Eric Reveno’s work as an assistant, but if future teams can cobble together something of a rotation up front, that’ll be huge. But regardless, Pastner’s the first Tech coach in 30 years to pull off back-to-back winning records in the ACC.

Has a top 4 ACC team with the POY and the DPOY ever failed to make the NCAAs for anything other than probation? - CTJacket

Ben: The short answer is technically yes. Let me explain. As far as I can tell, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award has only been given out since the 2004-05 season. Since then, there are six other teams who were top 4 in the ACC and had both the POY and DPOY: 04-05 Duke (No. 3 in ACC), 05-06 Duke (No. 1 in ACC), 11-12 UNC (No. 1 in ACC), 12-13 Miami (No. 1 in ACC), 15-16 Virginia (No. 2 in ACC) and 19-20 Duke (No. 4 in ACC). The team that didn’t make the NCAA tournament was 19-20 Duke, and the reasoning is because it didn’t happen. More interestingly, excluding 19-20 Duke, every single one of these teams went to the ACC finals AND went on to be either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament (either by winning the ACC or earning it as an at-large bid). None of these teams went on to win the NCAA Tournament, however.

Nishant: This isn’t an answer to the question, but this feels like a fun place to reminisce about the time that local media folks were speculating in 2010 about whether GT might fire Paul Hewitt even if they climbed off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament field that year. (Never forget that Hewitt took a team with four future NBA players in the starting lineup and went 7-9 in the ACC.)

Where would you rank winning a baseball series against the #1 team AND securing a top 4, double-bye seed in the ACCT among Georgia Tech sports weekends? - SullyGT

Akshay: Good, but a bit too stressful in spots for my liking. The TaxSlayer Bowl + UNC wins weekend in 2016 has got to be up there as well. I’ll also throw in the 2019 CHOA baseball weekend where Tech finished off the season series vs Athens — despite that being only a single game, that weekend felt pretty good.

Jake: I was thinking about that. Friday really got me down, but women’s tennis beating a good NCST team was nice, but softball and women’s basketball blowing late leads a combined three times kind of put a damper on it for me. Obviously the weekend Akshay mentioned has to be up there, but, really, I can’t think of much better than this - big, statement weeks for two of our biggest sports.

Assuming the current predicted brackets shake out, how does Georgia Tech match up? - Anuj Bhyravabhotla

Akshay: IIRC, when we taped the podcast on Sunday, MBB was slated to play Wisconsin, and WBB was slated to play Mississippi State. MBB seems to have a tougher draw given the strength of the B1G in MBB this season plus their status as the lower seed, but don’t underestimate Mississippi State WBB either. I’m not even going to attempt a tactical comparison because that’s not my area of expertise, but I will say that if both Tech teams maintain their current form, they’ll be tough outs in Indianapolis and San Antonio (respectively).

Jake: I would agree on tough outs, and add that Mississippi State has been a power in WBB in recent years, so wouldn’t count them out by any means. I think I need to get through ACC tournament weekend before I start worrying about men’s basketball, though. We still have as many as three wins and a conference title to worry about.

Nishant: It looks like MBB is slotting in the 10-11 range in terms of seeding, with the result of the first ACC Tournament game probably pushing them one way or another. I suspect you’ll hear a lot of talk about Tech being a fun upset pick regardless of seed, and that’ll be terrifying regardless of how well they’ve played lately. I stand by what I said about the team recently: I think this team is capable of losing to anyone if a couple things go sideways, but they’re also capable of beating anyone if the pieces come together.

This came to me in a vision. It is supposed that the famous ship sailed by the hero Theseus in a great battle was kept in a harbor as a museum piece, and as the years went by some of the wooden parts began to rot and were replaced by new ones; then, after a century or so, every part had been replaced. The question then is whether the “restored” ship is still the same object as the original. If it is, then suppose the removed pieces were stored in a warehouse, and after the century, technology was developed that cured their rot and enabled them to be reassembled into a ship. Is this “reconstructed” ship the original ship? If it is, then what about the restored ship in the harbor still being the original ship as well? - Notwima13

Ben: Did you know that if you take apart and rebuild a tv enough, you can have enough part to make another tv probably?

Akshay: What is the Ship of Theseus, if not philosophical meanderings persevering?

Jake: I once had a nightmare that I was posed this question, except instead of the Ship of Theseus, it was the Ramblin’ Reck. So, I play my uno reverse card on you, and swap some dusty ship for the car we all know and love.

Nishant: Theseus was a FIRST Robotics veteran in high school and lived by its most treasured motto: if it isn’t broken, take it apart and fix it.

How long has the steam whistle audio been played for GT Baseball home runs? Is that new this year? - GT_Jason

Akshay: I’m not sure it’s new; I feel like it was played during my time on the Flats (2015-2019), but I could be misremembering.

Jake: I think it’s new. I am a big whistle guy™ and I don’t recall hearing it before this year. But I like it. They should do what they did at Bobby Dodd and give the Rusty C a replica whistle, too.

Favorite GT Baseball uniforms of 2021 so far? Script Tech whites (usually home midweek,) T-for-Tech heritage whites, Pinstripes, Grays, Navies w/Ramblin Reck sleeve patch, or the Sunday Golds? - GT_Jason

Andrew - I like the pinstripe ones the most. The Sunday golds have also grown on me a lot.

Akshay: My power ranking: Script Tech, TECH throwbacks, Navy with Reck patch (but with non-gray pants, please), Gold, Pinstripes, Grays. I would really like baseball to adopt some of softball uniform ideas — they make a lot more/better use of the script Tech and Jackets wordmarks.

Jake: I am a strongly anti-pinstripes-look-for-non-Cubs-teams (I don’t know why I don’t like them in navy, I just don’t), but the Sunday golds hit different. It’s everything I love about the Tech throwbacks, plus gold! I wish they sold them somewhere. Behind those two, probably the navy with the Reck (which, I love the addition of the Reck to the uniforms, wow) and script Jackets. As for Akshay’s softball-ification idea, I’d rather not go that far down that road, because we are seeing some solid, unique work as-is in the realm of baseball.

Nishant: I haven’t watched the baseball team in a while but as someone who learned to despise the Yankees at a young age I just want to say hello burn the pinstripes please and thank you

Ben: I think that’s an interesting proposition, but I would say if the ACC is going to shuffle divisions, they should throw out divisions and do pods so teams can play different teams every year. If I have to pick from the three options you gave, I would probably go with Option 2, though I really hate the prospect of losing Virginia Tech. I just don’t want to lose them and Duke, and I think Option 3 is just a little too wild.

Jake: I honestly like option 3. That would keep Clemson, VPISU, Duke, and UNC annual, and add NCST and FSU? The tradeoff being Wake replaces Pitt/UVA/Miami? I don’t love losing Miami (and, to a lesser extent, UVA), but it seems we gain more than we lose in this scenario, and I’m not going to sign up for a swap that loses us our longest-played rivalry or our most significant divisional rivalry.

Nishant: The Option 3 you’ve described is my favorite variant of a North/South split, with Miami in the North, so I’d go with that. It gives both divisions a strong regional flavor, reunites all the old Big East schools in the North, and sets up for some fun cross-division rivalries. It also splits the Florida teams so that teams can still make their recruiting trips to the state, and considering Miami has to fly to pretty much all of their games already, it wouldn’t be much of an adjustment for them. The one issue I’ve run into when wargaming this in NCAA 14 is that playing all four North Carolina teams in a year becomes kind of a drag... but that might be because the game’s scheduling bot hates me and likes to stack all four of those games right next to one another on the schedule.

Hey Hey Hey Everybody,

Good on Moses and Alvarado getting their props from the ACC. Alvarado has worked hard to carry the team for the past few years; and while I think most of us knew Moses Wright would be an important part of the team on offense and defense, I don’t think most of us expected him to have the impact he did on the court until late in the season. Glad they were part of the team, and I hope they enjoy the moment.

Also proud of our volleyball team and baseball team; can’t lose on bad pitching if your batters just keep scoring. Wish I could do that in Out of the Park Baseball, I’d win so many World Series.

My question this week is how much wood could a woodchuck chuck... Wait a minute <reads last week’s mailbag> nope, looks like that one has been answered. Alright then, I see how it is. My question is now a would you rather. Would you rather be perfectly healthy, but all your limbs have minds of their own or be paraplegic, but you can assume control of other people’s bodies at will (for this case lets say 1 person at a time you can control)? That’s all I got.

Later World,

Diddly the Squiddly (that’s my name. don’t actually diddly a squiddly or you may end up in jail.) (submitted via email)

Ben: Well, this is a bizarre question if I have ever seen one. If I’m being perfectly honest, neither one of these sounds particularly great, but I guess I’ll go with all my limbs having a mind of their own. I don’t like the idea of being able to control other people’s bodies.

Jake: I’d rather keep my mind out of other peoples’ bodies, I think. Honestly did not wake up today expecting to get this question, or anything like it.