Georgia Tech’s door to the NCAA tournament is barely ajar

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner gestures during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Miami, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, in Coral Gables, Fla. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 70-61. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Getting down to cases now. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The number to watch on Georgia Tech is losses. The Yellow Jackets are at 12 with two difficult road games remaining. If they lose at Notre Dame and Syracuse, they’ll have to win the ACC tournament to keep from having 15 losses on Selection Sunday, and 15 would surely be too many for a Big Dance invite.

That’s what losing to North Carolina State at McCamish Pavilion on Tuesday did: It reduced the margin of error to zero for the team that Josh Pastner keeps saying has no margin of error. Should it split its road games and beat Pittsburgh here next Tuesday, Tech would enter the ACC tournament with 13 losses; no team has ever made the field of 68 with more than 14. (When Syracuse gained admission last season with an RPI of 71, it had 13 losses.)

Tech’s RPI — it will surely slip from 76, which is where it was before Tuesday’s game — cannot stand any more reversals. (Update: It slipped to 89. Yikes.) The Jackets need not to lose again until Brooklyn, and that won’t be easy. For all the giddiness ongoing along North Avenue, the cold truth is that Tech is 7-8 since beating North Carolina on New Year’s Eve. One of those victories was over Division II Tusculum, which the NCAA committee doesn’t count.

The nice part about this season is that Tech and Pastner have given us reason to calculate NCAA tournament odds, something we haven’t had to do much since 2010. (To be fair, Brian Gregory’s final team made a spirited run late last season.) But here’s where we recall the pre-conference losses to Ohio U. and Penn State and Tennessee and even Georgia — all now outside the RPI top 50. Reversing even one of those games would be huge now.

The NCAA door isn’t completely shut for Tech, but it’s close. As much fun as it has been to calculate Dance possibilities, this was always — even with the massive victories over Carolina and Florida State and Notre Dame — going to be a hairbreadth thing. That hair thinned considerably Tuesday night. Pastner, who has lots of hair, might have lost a strand or two himself.

Further reading: Tech’s NCAA case isn’t closed; Georgia’s is.

Reader Comments 0

38 comments
Peachs
Peachs

Hell of a coaching job!  He has got talent coming back, and new guys coming in.  With this mediocre, team, his assistant coaches will stay one more year.  This is where Tech as really improved, they have a great bench of assistant coaches.  Bobby use to have that.  

Zino
Zino

Tech should be able to make the NIT with a couple more wins--they can pick up 1-2 wins to get some momentum for 2018.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Paster said all the WRONG things onna morning interview this week, including that the loss didn't matter with regards to the big dance. I really think this was a bad hire and I don't think he will turn things around. After all, he couldn't recruit to Memphis where if you fog a mirror you can play. Hope I'm wrong, but I don't think so.

DixieRoss
DixieRoss

@Iluvnutella Its called coaching, that's exactly what he's supposed to say.  I don't know if he can recruit, but clearly he's getting the most out of this team.  But you know, part of getting the most out of a team is dependent on not recruiting the best players according to others' standards.  The two are mutually exclusive, unless you have a K in your school's or coach's initials.  Otherwise, you're always underachieving.

Peachs
Peachs

@Iluvnutella why plant in the tournament's mind, you think you are out of it?

xpuctaqpgt
xpuctaqpgt

Barring a small miracle we're probably NIT bound this year.  Considering the expectations before the season began...I can live with that.  Let's just hope our Athletic Director doesn't do something stupid like give Pastner a crazy contract that he hasn't yet earned.

drydirtroad
drydirtroad

Tech wants to schedule Tusculum, Mid Tenn State, Slippery Rock, App State, Jacksonville State, SC State, Winthrop, Troy, Alabama A & M and Patsy Tech for football and see if they can whip 'em. They want to drop Clemson and Georgia.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Tusculum?  I'm sure TO was jumping for joy over that one.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Kind of like Nicholls State huh?...except we smoked them and you guys barely won.

Therut
Therut

Does this city ever win a big game (meaning sports teams of course)?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Therut

In pro sports, only ONCE in 170 seasons covering five teams and spanning 51 years.

Therut
Therut

Bad, bad, loss. Love Ga. Tech but the old, we play in Atlanta, curse got them. Guess we will wait until next year (right)

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Nope. It's our teams--especially the pros--as clearly evidenced by their failure to win a championship in 169 of 170 seasons covering 51 years.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Therut No...that's UGA. And we were picked to come in 14th in the conference....they have had a very good season. It's not our teams in this town that are losers, it's the damn bandwagon fans.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Nah. Don't think so.

When they give it a rest, I will as well.

BTC
BTC

Now only if they make the ACC finals...

GTBee
GTBee

Not any more  . . .  shut!

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

No. The door is closed. But CJP deserves tremendous credit no matter what happens the rest of this season, and beyond that the future is very very bright.

GTBee
GTBee

@TOJacket @NorwegianBlue Yes it is.  bad losses, especially at end of year, do you in.  NC ST was 4-11, I think, in conf.  That was a BAD Loss.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

That was the most painful collapse I've experienced in 51 years as an ATL pro sports fan--and there've been a helluva load of collapses during that time.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@NorwegianBlue No...the door isn't closed yet. They have games left to play, do you somehow know the outcome?....dawgs thought the door was closed at Sanford and son this past season also...13 down at the start of the 4th....the Falcons?

THWG0415
THWG0415

@DawgNole @TOJacket  I agree with you on that one, up there with the 96 series and I was there to live that one live.