ATLANTA, GEORGIA — So, Mark Bradley has Tech to the Final Four? I don’t know how I feel about that. I definitely know how I feel about the men’s basketball bracket, though. And that is ANGER. Rooting against a Missouri Valley team in the first round? Playing the best team in the country in the second? Woo! I guess if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. Well, we’re six wins out from being the best. Call me crazy, but I think we could do it.
The weird thing, too, though, is the men’s swimming team could quietly be a Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight-esque team in their sport, too. And, in about four hours, we could be saying the same thing about women’s cross country. So it’s not all angst.
Am I writing this a bit longwinded to pump myself after being (mildly) demoralized by Selection Sunday? Yes! Have I felt like these intros have been a bit soft this year? Also yes. Well, we will circle up on that in the offseason, and in the mean time dive back into what the world of Tech sports has been up to in the past week.
Last Week on the Flats
Overall: 8-2 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls - AVCA Coaches: #22
Nerd Stuff - RPI: #21
There were two games this week, and the two could not have come farther on the opposite ends of the spectrum, where the strength of the ACC is concerned. The first one came against Pitt, a team Georgia Tech had not, and still has not defeated since they joined the conference. Tech got swept in the contest, but this was not exactly the one sided affair a sweep might suggest. The Jackets were in every set, but Pitt was exceptionally effective at minimizing the effectiveness of two of Tech’s best attackers, Julia Bergmann and Mariana Brambilla. Having these two neutralized hurt Tech in general, but they still put up a good fight in a venue that is exceptionally hard to win in as a road team, even with limit capacity due to COVID. Thanks to their demolition of Boston College on Friday, a match that went 25-14, 25-13, 25-13, Tech has now faced the three winless teams in the conference and escaped unscathed. It is in this writer’s opinion that the home loss to Boston College (the last before they went on their insane one loss streak to end the 2019 season) was ultimately what sunk their NCAA tournament chances. Taking care of business is important! Tech remains tied atop the table with Notre Dame, and Louisville has equal losses but two fewer wins. Those two games are perhaps the most important games remaining on the spring slate.
A game against North Carolina scheduled for Sunday was postponed due to COVID concerns, with no news on when that may be made up, if at all.
They were at rest this week. Just a note - remember to tune in tonight to the Women’s NCAA Selection Show, which will take place at 7pm on ESPN.
Overall: 8-15 / Last Week: 2-2
Polls - NFCA Coaches: NR / D1 Softball: NR / ESPN USAS: NR
Nerd Stuff - RPI: N/A
So, another week, another tough loss. The problem with the Pitt series, though, is that this series was between two of the cellar dwellers of the ACC, and a series win here would have been excellent to putting Tech back on a winning path. The bats seem to have woken up in the past two weeks, and the game Sunday to close the series was almost certainly the best Tech has looked since the first week of the season. Hopefully we see more of this next week, and less of the implosion we saw Saturday evening, which, if you watched the baseball game on Friday, will give you some serious deja vu. In general, my perusal of the college softball Twitter scene has validated myself and Akshay’s opinions that umpiring has been inconsistent throughout the year. The Saturday game definitely saw some questionable calls, particularly in the top of the seventh. And, given that I don’t want to rag on a team that took positive steps this weekend too badly, nor on umpires who have, to the best of their abilities, been trying to call games fairly, that’s about all there is to say on the weekend. Keep up the hitting, pitch more like Sunday, and minimize self-inflicted things like errors. And on to next week.
Diving headed *checks notes* back to Greensboro *sighs*, a place that they are undoubtedly familiar with, given that the annual ACC Championship is held there, as well, and, uh, I hope they like it there, since they’re sending three divers back for their respective NCAA Championships in the next two weeks. Sophomore Ruben Lechuga and senior Camryn Hidalgo both qualified for NCAAs in all three diving events, the 1m, 3m, and Platform, and will be joined by freshman Anna Bradescu on the Platforms. This is the most divers Tech has ever qualified for the NCAA meet, and should be excellent company to the relatively large contingent the men’s and women’s swimmers are sending back up to Greensboro, too. Geez, I hope whoever booked the five weeks worth of Greensboro hotels uses all those hotel points for a sweet, non-Greensboro trip sometime after the NCAAs wrap up.
Polls - Golfweek Coaches: #36, Golfstat: #40
Tech led the Linger Longer Invitational through the first day of competition, but couldn’t keep it together long enough to pull out the full tournament win, falling to Charlotte. However, they did manage a solid victory over fellow ACC member Virginia, and veteran Noah Norton and newer Christo Lamprecht again had stellar weekends for the Jackets. As ACC and NCAA season ticks closer, it will be imperative that Tech’s depth step up in the postseason if they would like to defend their ACC crown, a title they have not relinquished in the entire existence of this here non-revenue sports column.
Overall: 11-7 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: #13
It would be accurate to call this week a gauntlet for the Jackets, as they had to face two top-ten teams in the form of Duke and North Carolina at home Friday and Sunday. However, against Duke, they clinched the doubles point, which is imperative against their stacked singles squad. I’m not kidding - all six of Duke’s starters are ranked in the ITA singles poll. Whereas Tech defeated Duke 4-3 the first time the two teams met at ITA Kickoff Weekend, they managed another point on Friday for the 5-2 win. This was a bit unexpected, but very welcome. On Sunday, things looked steady in doubles against no. 1 UNC, but Tech ultimately dropped two courts there and three in singles to give the match to the Tar Heels. Kenya Jones, of note, got a nice win on Court 1 to put Tech at least on the board.
Overall: 9-6 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: #45
As is the theme in the meatgrinder of a schedule that is the ACC, the Racquet Jacket men also had quite the tough week lined up for them, with a road swing that brought them to #3 Virginia and a top 40 VPISU team. Things shook out predictably in Charlottesville, but wins in singles on courts 1 and 3 lifted what could have otherwise been a sweep. Iron must have sharpened iron, though, as Tech then turned around and ravaged Blacksburg, sweeping the Hokies 7-0. Man, that must’ve felt good - it always feels good to beat up on the Hokies.
Now that I think about it, I should make an annual recordboard against all the ACC teams. That might be interesting to see who we comprehensively handled in a given year. While we’re on the topic of Hokies, I at least know basketball had a nice little showing against those programs this year, too.
Track and Field
Track sent four athletes to Indoor NCAAs, and three of them came back second team all-Americans, which is no small feat. Olivia Moore in the pole vault, along with Nicole Fegans and Andrew Kent in the distance running, were the three that placed for Tech. Though there wasn’t much going in terms of team score, the Jackets still showed up nicely considering their few entries. They made the most of it!
Women’s Cross Country
Polls - USTFCCA Coaches: #13
The Tech women finally have their chance on the sport’s biggest stage, as they received and accepted their berth in the long-awaited NCAA Cross Country Championship. The Jackets will be racing later today, and, if their place holds, will likely finish as the best Tech team to ever represent the school in cross country. It will be live on ESPNU starting at 12:30 PM today.
In the Club House
Don’t look now, but men’s lacrosse season starts later this week with a game in Knoxville to face Tennessee. They are definitely in the top two or three in terms of Tech’s club sports teams, and have spent much of the last half a decade at the top of the MCLA and SELC rankings. It’s been a quiet year on the club sports front - understandably so, but it’s exciting for them at least to be back in action.
As far as other sports, I have heard no confirmation on spring seasons for anyone other than a virtual national championship for the (still) two-time reigning national champion club swim team.
Best of the Week
- TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL WINS THE ACC TOURNAMENT YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW THIS BUT I’M PUTTING IT HERE ANYWAYS
- Tech to Face the Fightin’ Sister Jeans in the Opening Round of the NCAA Tournament
- Moses Wright - ACC POY, Jose Alvarado - ACC DPOY (This was really this week, too?)
This Week on the Flats
Whenever that March Madness game happens (for the men or the women, really), you should block your schedule, find some comforting food and drink, and enjoy the ride while it lasts. I cannot, in good faith, recommend any of the other sporting events any higher (or even equal) to either of those. We are dancing! Wow!
Poll of the Week
Be honest...what did you actually think (like pre-August) Tech’s next ACC title would come in?
This poll is closed
Men’s/Women’s Swimming and Diving