Yeah, that’s right, today’s headline came from the track news! This is an all-encompassing column, thank you.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Well, it is official, I broke the RECC rankings. Whatever I did in my code did not like the year change and I didn’t see that coming, and didn’t have enough spare time this week to fix it. I promise we’ll be back in action as soon as I can get the time.
In the meantime, it is worth noting that baseball has been sitting at #11 in both preseason polls that have been released so far, while women’s tennis is at #12 and men’s tennis is at #29. All in all, these point in a positive direction for the spring sports, but, in the meantime, there is plenty to be made of the action this week on the court and on the track.
Overall: 11-3 / Last Week: 1-0
Polls – AP Poll: 16 | Coaches: 16
Nerd Stuff – Massey: 30 | NET: 22
After another game delayed due to health and safety protocols, Georgia Tech was able to get back to the court for a home matinee against Virginia. The Cavaliers cancelled their season in the middle of January last year due to health concerns. Let this not be a judgement of their decision – I firmly respect making that sacrifice they deemed necessary for their health and safety – but it is worth mentioning at the very least to note that Tech has not seen Virginia in quite some time.
In addition, it is worth noting that the two programs are in rather opposing spots of the long arcs of their success. Whereas Tech has seemingly graduated from being a program on the rise to that of a firmly-established second-tier ACC program behind the juggernauts in Raleigh and Louisville, the Cavaliers have, of late, not been terribly competitive in conference play. However, through the first half, and particularly the first quarter, that reality was not entirely evident, as the visitors clawed out of an early 6-0 hole to only trail by a single point at the end of the first frame, and trailed just 26-19 at halftime.
Of course, it is also important to acknowledge that Tech smothered Virginia offensively in the second quarter just the same, limiting them to 6 measly points, and the story of the first half would more accurately be painted as one in which Tech was doing just enough on offense, shooting just 27% from the field and 20% from three point range. The script, at least with respect to Tech’s offense, was completely flipped in the second half, as the Jackets poured on the points to the tune of 64% shooting from the field and 100% from three, albeit on 2 attempts, rather than 15. Of course, no scripts would be considered flipped on the defensive end, as Tech doubled down on its stifling defense, limiting their guests to just 5 and 7 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
This second half is exactly what this team was built to do – dominate the glass, force turnovers, effect shots, and work the paint and midrange game when the threes just aren’t falling. Unsurprisingly, given that shift to the key in the second half, rather than stick to the perimeter where they had mixed success, Lorela Cubaj and Nerea Hermosa led the way in scoring, with Cubaj netting 17 and pulling in 11 rebounds on her way to a double-double and Hermosa besting all scorers with 20 of her own. All seven players that entered the game for Tech scored at least three points, and all were significantly positive in +/-. Tech, of note, may have been cold from three, something that has ben noted about other contests, as well, but the Jackets had an outstanding day from the free throw line, managing a 14-17 effort, by far their best at that high a volume in quite some time, and, if the trend holds, means that they have addressed the primary concern that had been plaguing them all year, surrendering those freebies at the line.
All in all, it was a great game for Tech. They played their brand of basketball and ground an inferior opponent into paste. The main concern this coming week is staying healthy and staying rested, as Tech rockets out of health and safety protocols with a three game week, hosting Pitt in a rescheduled contest Tuesday night before the streaking Florida State Seminoles come to town, and ends with them taking their talents to South Beach for a Sunday game in Miami.
Track and Field
Nerd Stuff – USTFCCCA Index: First Release this Week
Georgia Tech headed up to Clemson this weekend, and, as the title alluded to, ran with a lot of familiar faces at the Orange and Purple Elite Meet. In the meet, which saw Tech, Clemson, and South Carolina face off against an array of unattached athletes, several of said unattached athletes were alumni of Tech. Most notably, former Jackets Bria Matthews and Jeanine Williams competed on the weekend in the long jump and 60m hurdles, respectively. The two were quite well-awarded in their time on the Flats, including NCAA appearances and season-ending awards, so it was great to see them back in competition.
In terms of top Tech finishes, Olivia Moore lead the way in the pole vault, Sheleah Harris took the 60 meter dash, and Riley Perlakowksi remained undefeated in the 1000 meter run, going two for two in her burgeoning career. In addition, Taylor Grimes finished first among collegiate athletes in the 60m hurdles, while Cameron O’Neal finished as the runner-up in the long jump, while Jameson Miller finished second in the 400 meter.
Tech is back in action in Nashville for the Vanderbilt Commodore Challenge this Friday and Saturday.
In the Club House:
Georgia Tech went 1-1 on the weekend hosting Florida at the Atlanta IceForum. Tech dropped the first leg of the two game series 5-3, though they avenged the loss in the latter, bouncing back with a 5-3 win. The Jackets will play next in Savannah Hockey Classic, taking on Florida State on Friday and the school in Athens on Saturday evening. Tech last won the Thrasher Cup in 2019, their seventh win in school history, and sit at 13-6 on the season.
1/12 – at Boston College
1/15 – at North Carolina
1/11 – Pittsburgh
1/13 – Florida State
1/16 – at Miami
Indoor Track and Field:
1/14-15 – at Vanderbilt (Vanderbilt Commodore Challenge)
1/15-17 – MLK Invitational
1/15-17 – at South Carolina (Gamecock Invitational)