Not Josh-ing around: Pastner’s Jackets work another wonder

Georgia Tech players react on the bench after scoring against Florida State during the half of an NCAA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Tech players react stoically to the rout of Florida State. (AP Photo/John Amis)

This is getting … well, can I use the word “amazing” and not be accused of committing journalistic overkill? Georgia Tech, picked to finish 14th in the 15-team ACC, has beaten two teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10 — first No. 9 North Carolina on New Year’s Eve, now No. 6 Florida State. Neither game, we must note, was a frog-strangler. Tech topped the Heels by 12 points. As for the Seminoles …

Tech beat them by 22 after leading by 26 at the half. Holy mackerel.

Once again, I wish I’d been there to see it. I wasn’t because Falcons duty in Flowery Branch called. But I walked in from that extended-by-traffic commute and started getting texts from my daughter, who happened to be at the game, one of which said, “You may want come down here.”

I wish I could tell you how this is happening, but I really don’t know. Josh Pastner tells people I told him he’d be lucky to win 10 games this year. He also tells people the guy who hired him — Mike Bobinski, now the people’s choice at Purdue — asked: “How will you react to not winning an ACC game your first year?” His team has now won 12 overall, four in league play.

This with a team that — and I don’t mean to sound heavy-handed here — appeared to have next to nothing. Tech lost its four best players from a team that so impressed Bobinski that he fired its coach. The only significant addition was Josh Okogie, a three-star recruit from Shiloh High who signed to play for Brian Gregory. Somehow Tech has not just beaten but handled UNC and FSU, both of which have big-time players. Which would seem to suggest that the Jackets, dare we say, aren’t far from big-time themselves.

Full disclosure: Even after the Carolina win, I half-expected Pastner’s crew to finish 3-15 in the ACC. That can’t happen. But while I was watching tonight’s tilt wind down, I started to wonder: Could Tech play its way onto the NCAA bubble? So I looked it up. The Jackets’ RPI was 94 going into the game, meaning: Probably not. But still: Would anyone have thought we’d be sitting here within sight of February asking if Tech is a tournament team?

I admit I didn’t, and I doubt you did, either. I’m not sure even Pastner dreamed this big. But give his players full credit: They’ve already made something from a season we all pegged as a wipeout. And say this for the guy in charge: His 1-3-1 zone — an alignment used to great effect in the ’70s before falling out of vogue — has become the retro strategic smash of 2017.

Next up for Tech is Notre Dame, ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll. The Fighting Irish come to McCamish Pavilion on Saturday. I will, I promise, be there to watch.

Reader Comments 0

34 comments
GT-UT
GT-UT

Can't wait for the next blog...since Tech beat ND!

TideDawg
TideDawg

Looks like Tech is going to join the ranks of contenders in basketball soon. They finally hired a coach that may put them back on the map and a regular in the Mar. Madness crew. Hmmmm....hired a coach and turned things around. Does that raise questions about any other sport at Tech? I haven't read about him complaining about their schedule.

GaTechOldTimer
GaTechOldTimer

"His 1-3-1 zone - an alignment used to great effect in the 70's before falling out of grace....". 


Sound familiar to similar snide remarks used by AJC sports writers and opposing fans - to describe the "High school" offense scheme - - used by Tech based on a modified version of the option - that was run to great effect before falling out of grace?

bigbobbles1
bigbobbles1

Sorry. Did not mean to spell like the earnhardt misspelling blogger.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@bigbobbles1

Looks like you spelled it correctly both times, bb1.

And thanks for the call-out.

bigbobbles1
bigbobbles1

I live in Alabama and a Georgia Tech man. I read the blogs from time to time and have to say Dawgnole is my favorite because he speaks the truth, unlike some of the annoying bloggers!

Go Falcons!


GTBee
GTBee

2 pts from being 5-3 in the ACC (loss at VT was tough).  When we first announced him as the coach, I cam in here gushing!   I knew immediately he was the right choice.  Young, energetic and good - reminded me of Cremins.  But, the majority of posters were negative toward the selection.  I'd like them to come in here and admit.  Be a man!  You were all wrong.   I mean, we are going to probably lose many more this year (hope not), but I always said - lets be patient.  It will take 2 or 3 years to get there.   maybe now it might only take 1-2 years?   I am, and will always remain, hopeful.  Good on ya Josh.  THWG !!

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Good for Tech. Glad for their new coach.

UWreckMeBaby
UWreckMeBaby

Maybe we make some noise in the NIT this year, the Big Dance next!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTroller

Why did you boastfully proclaim that the Packers would beat the Falcons by more than three TDs???

DUH!

GTroller
GTroller

I'm thinking about telling all the UGA graduates that work for me they can no longer hit a bucket of balls during their lunch break.  Coach Pastner knows how to get positive results!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTroller

You should keep any advice you have to yourself, based on the mind-boggling stupidity of this offering:

________________

GTroller January 20, 2017

This will be an easy game--- for Green Bay:  GB 38 ATL 17.  Falcons are a poor football program.  

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

I think this also shows how important assistant coaches can be as well. For some of these same players to look so much different in such a short period of time, they are getting some major league coaching on a daily basis. Kudos to Bobinski for helping, and providing the budget, for Pastner to put together a strong staff. 


A couple more recruits and TECH basketball will be back.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@ToeMeetsLeather Tech basketball is already back as they have already knocked off two top 10 teams this season.

Big ACC brand teams...LOL

mvaughan
mvaughan

@LOGS1973 @ToeMeetsLeather Need to follow it up with more wins.  Can't have a 50 point blow out to ND like with Duke or get embarrassed by Tennessee, Georgia, or any SEC bball teams really.  They're improving but it would take winning out for the season to get into the NCAAs.  It's a good sign that we can discuss this though considering the recent seasons.

Hookedonshortpasses
Hookedonshortpasses

if Tech could just eliminate a few lazy passes and make more of the "free" throws, they might win.......WAIT....Wow did I love this game!!!

Ric1957
Ric1957

Great heart.  Great Coaching

FBYJ
FBYJ

I was there for the preseason scrimmage against Shorter (my other alma mater).  When we barely scraped by the Shorter Hawks, my feelings for the rest of the season weren't especially good.  However, the Jackets have greatly improved their defense, and on the nights when they can find a scorer (such as Okogie tonight), they can compete with anyone.  If Pastner can recruit a couple more shooters, we just might see Tech basketball return to levels of performance not seen since Cremins' early years on The Flats.

Sandyspringsjacket
Sandyspringsjacket

Just got home from the game. Amazing crowd and team performance. I cannot figure out how this team improved so fast after being so bad. Great to see noise at a Tech basketball game after several years....hope it continues.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Big game, big defense and a team that plays hard.

Look for the Jackets in the big dance Bradley!! Next

year even better .. In football and basketball.

Atlanta's team....

DawgNole
DawgNole

As a Nole fan, I was afraid of this after FSU ran that gauntlet of six straight ranked teams--beating five of them. Just didn't expect it to be such a mismatch.

Full credit to the Jackets, in any event. They played superbly--and earned every bit of that victory tonight.

THWG0415
THWG0415

@LOGS1973 @DawgNole  he is one of the actual fans who you can discuss games with from the pups. While the noles were ripe for a collapse this is a great win and learning experience. Big dance might be a stretch, but the Jackets could see some post season play. For Tech to dance we need to prolly win 9-10 in the ACC and make a nice run in the tourney.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

And you're a classless, lying, hypocritical, cowardly, embarrassing piece of trash.

Fool's gold looks pretty damn good compared to that.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LOGS1973

Nope, I mean what I said. 

And what room do you have to spout your usual slop?

Hell, even the hapless Dawgs beat your a*s.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LOGS1973

So that's how you fashioned that 3-13 record against us?

Lying won't help your feeble case, you know.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@DawgNole @LOGS1973 GT showed mercy on your weak pups as always.. The dogs will see no NIT or any other tournament play, it's over as the leghumpers collapse again..