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ACC Roundup - The Yellow Jackets Continue To Impress

And Ben Lammers most of all.

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NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgia Tech
Feb 19, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Tyler Lydon (20) drives against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Josh Okogie (5), guard Josh Heath (11), and center Ben Lammers (44), in the first half of their game at McCamish Pavilion. The Yellow Jackets won 71-65.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the season, everyone, including us, figured Georgia Tech would be lucky to win a game this year.

After knocking off Syracuse Sunday night, the Yellow Jackets are 16-11 and 7-7 in the ACC and absolutely in the conversation for an NCAA bid.

And you can probably gift wrap the ACC Coach of the Year for Josh Pastner.

Of course, no one knew how much Ben Lammers was going to improve.

Against Syracuse, Lammers had a beautiful stat line: he shot 11-18 for 23 points, had seven rebounds, seven blocks and three steals.

Tadrick Jackson had 20 off the bench.

The irony for Syracuse was that Tech ran a 2-3 zone “hybrid” that flummoxed the Orange.

The ‘Cuse still nearly came back: down 13 with 3:25 left, Syracuse mounted an impressive comeback that came up short.

With :29 seconds left, Tech was up 67-65 and Jackson missed a layup. Syracuse fouled and Tech hit both free throws and held on to win.

Give Syracuse this - the fans travel well and there were tons of fans in the reborn Thriller Dome.

The loss was tough though and will hurt when bids go out.

And you know what? The Yellow Jackets just may get one.

Al Featherston has a column on the front page today about the misconceptions around the NC State basketball job.

Surprise! So does Andrew Carter at the N&O.

It’s a coincidence of course but a pleasant one.

Al does a great job of explaining how Lee Fowler screwed up. Look at the guys he could have had - he shot for John Calipari, then at Memphis. Maybe a good idea, but Calipari just seemed to use State to force a raise out of the Tigers.

He didn’t listen when Gregg Marshall was interested. Sean Miller was desperate to get the job.

He tried for Rick Barnes too and had a deal with John Beilein, who would have taken the job if State had paid his buyout.

Things would be very different if State had had the sense to close that deal. Any of

He ended up at Michigan and has done fairly well there. You may have also noticed that Duke has had a tough time with his teams.

In his column Al talks about Fowler’s lack of vision. That’s why we said the other day that while we hope State gets a great coach, it’s not the most important hire. The most important hire comes when State replaces Debbie Yow after she retires.

The truth is a job is only as good as the guy who fills it and you can’t expect a great hire out of someone who lacks vision.

They might get lucky - Dean Smith was hired because he was there, not because UNC thought he would turn out be be a basketball genius.

Or someone might leave another job ahead of a mob or have a particular interest in State - say Archie Miller, who is a graduate - but barring that?

No vision, no home run.

Look around the ACC. A few years ago, we criticized the level of coaching and said things would never get better until the coaching did.


Look at Virginia. Jeff Jones to Pete Gillen to Dave Leitao to Tony Bennett.

Look at Miami - they’ve done well with Jim Larranaga.

Virginia Tech? Check.

Almost everyone has an outstanding coach now.

So we’ll see how Yow does. Under the previous circumstances, Mark Gottfried was a fairly imaginative choice. It didn't end well and State will get worse before it gets better.

None of that changes the fact that for the right guy, this is a great job. And if you find the right guy, he’ll do a great job.

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