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NCAA notes

By   /   March 3, 2011  /   Comments

With the NCAA basketball tournament right around the corner, Georgia is sitting on the bubble with two regular season games remaining. Coach Mark Fox has brought the program a long way in a short time and a tourney invite would help with recruiting, which he needs since the Dawgs’ best player, Trey Thompkins, is surely going to the NBA next season.

Travis Leslie may also test the professional waters, but would be well-advised to play one more season in the college ranks to improve his skill set. He is possibly the best athlete in Athens, but still raw.

CBS Sports currently has UGA as an eighth seed. If the Dawgs sweep LSU and Alabama, then win a few games in the SEC tournament, that could improve to a six seed.

Meanwhile, over at the “10th Avenue Trade School”, the Jackets will be lucky to get an invitation to play in the NIT. Tech has lost eight of their last nine games, and appears to be stuck with Coach Paul Hewitt. They have won 12 games this season by knocking off power house programs like Clark University (in overtime), Charleston Southern, Albany NY, Niagara, UTEP, Savannah State, Richmond, Mercer, and Chattanooga.

So, of the 12 wins, nine have come against non-ACC schools. Of course, UTEP did win a national title … in 1966. So the Jackets have that to put on the resume.

Not only are the wins unimpressive, but Tech also lost by 17 points when they played Kennesaw State on Nov. 15 at Kennesaw. First, why would you ever agree to go play on their court? Second, didn’t KSU just move up to NCAA D-I play a few years ago?

There are apparently 7 million reasons to not fire Hewitt. After he led the Jackets to the title game in 2004, rumors started circulating that the New Jersey Nets where sniffing around the coach. Tech had just made their only appearance in the finals. Bobby Cremins had gotten them close a few times, but Hewitt made it all the way to the final game before falling to UConn.

In a rash moment, Tech offered the coach a ridiculous rollover deal. For an institution so good at math to make such a bad calculation is disturbing. To terminate him now will cost $7 million. To keep him on will doom a once proud program to the cellar of the ACC for years to come.

Prediction? Tech will take their medicine and terminate Hewitt before the ACC tournament. If for some reason he managed to win the thing and make an appearance in the NCAA bracket, their hands would be tied for another season. Even though the odds are against that outcome, Tech should not chance it.

If Clemson and junior guard Andre Young are going to make their third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, the Tigers need one more regular season win and a few in the ACC tournament. The former Deerfield-Windsor star is averaging 10.9 points per game with a 38.7 percent average from behind the three-point arc. He is also leading Clemson with 83 assists.

Making the cut will be tough as the Tigers host Duke on Wednesday, and then finish the season at Virginia Tech. Two wins could improve their RPI, which is currently at 69. Talk about being on the bubble — 68 teams will make the tournament.

Written by Mike Flynn.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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