With upset of North Carolina, Pastner has brought pulse to Tech

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner had reason to be excited Saturday after the Jackets' upset of North Carolina. (AP photo)

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner had reason to be excited Saturday after the Jackets’ upset of North Carolina. (AP photo)

It’s a good day on North Ave.

It’s a good day not just because Georgia Tech’s football team punctuated a 9-4 season with a strong finishing kick that included wins at Virginia Tech, at Georgia and over Kentucky in the Gator Bowl Saturday, but because there’s a pulse in the basketball program.

Georgia Tech upset North Carolina. In basketball.

Josh Pastner, welcome to your second Bar Mitzvah.

Late December wins in college basketball don’t necessarily foretell the future for the winner or the loser. So if your mental picture of the NCAA tournament bracket in your head just blew up, you may want to wait at least a month.

But it’s a credit to Pastner’s enthusiasm and coaching ability that he can take a significantly undermanned team, which was expected to be waxed its home court Saturday in the shadow of the college football playoffs, and stun the ninth ranked Tar Heels 75-63 at McCamish Pavilion.

Won’t hurt his recruiting efforts, either.

North Carolina won 12 of its first 14 games, with the two losses coming to No. 13 Indiana and No. 6 Kentucky. When the Tar Heels opened their ACC schedule at Tech, it didn’t figure they would lose to the No. 209 (via RPI) Jackets.

Pastner took over for Brian Gregory this season. When former athletic director Mike Bobinski hired him, he told the former Memphis coach that the Jackets might not win a game in the ACC this season. (And if they did, it certainly wouldn’t come over North Carolina.)

In a recent interview on the “We Never Played The Game” podcast, I told Pastner that Tech was listed as 300-1 to win the national championship and jokingly asked him if it was worth a $10 bet.

“Because of the job I’m in, I will stay away from that,” he said. “But I will say this: I was speaking before the started at a clinic and a guy started talking about the Georgia game and I stopped him in the middle of the conversation and took the mic and I said, “Look — I just hope we beat Shorter.”

The Jackets beat Shorter in an exhibition. And lost to Georgia. But they’re now 9-4 overall and, even more impressive, 1-0 in the ACC. (First place!)

What does this mean? It means that even if Tech’s program is in the very early stages of development under Pastner, it’s capable of winning some games and scaring some teams. It’s capable of getting people excited.

That’s a big step forward for college basketball on campus and in a state that is craves a winner.

For more reading on Josh Pastner, click here.

Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. All episodes can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or via WSBRadio.com. New episodes every Monday and Thursday.

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Reader Comments 0

8 comments
GTBee
GTBee

Yes I'm happy. Yes I'm a fan of Josh. Yes I think we will be good in a few years. But regarding UNC win, it was great but we must remain patient. I remember the year we beat Bama in football then went 1-10 for the year. This is GT afterall, let's not get ahead of ourselves. And PJ, can you beat UGA in Atlanta please!? Last time? 1999!!!

GTroller
GTroller

This guy means business!  There's a new sheriff in town, and ya'll best put those golf clubs away if you're gonna' play for him!  No screwing around on the golf course!

Therut
Therut

Fantastic-Unbelievable- What a way to start the New Year !

TOJacket
TOJacket

Great day for CPJ and CJP!!!!!!!!!!!GO JACKETS!!!

ShawnWilliam
ShawnWilliam

Does anyone proof read these articles? Wow

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@ShawnWilliam Obviously no one.  The days of an editor actually paying attention is gone.  

JS, I like your articles.  Maybe you should read them through once before hitting the post button.

GTBee
GTBee

Who proof reads these? That being said, way to go Josh!!