The two coaches had two very different approaches early on in their new jobs; while Jamie Dixon swore his was a tournament team, Pastner seemed less than enthused by what he had.
"I've said it many times: It's a modern miracle. I can remember like yesterday watching our first workouts. If you told me we're playing on Thursday for the NIT championship, I would say you're crazy," Pastner said after Georgia Tech's 76-61 win over Cal State Bakersfield in the first NIT semifinal Tuesday night.
"So it's been a heck of a season, and as I said, it's a great lesson for me that these guys, to see it all unfold, the power of team. That gets thrown in words a lot, team and chemistry.
"But to really see it and how we have been able to beat teams that are more talented than we are, because that night we were the better team on different games throughout the season."
The offense has been more than adequate, but it’s what the Frogs are doing on D that’s leading them to these high heights in the post-season. Do they have the legs for one more lock down performance?
“They made some shots early that we thought we guarded well,” Dixon said. “We didn’t think they could sustain it. They were 1-for-14 (from 3-point range) in the second half and I don’t think they really had a good look. I thought that really, really was the big difference in the game.”
It’s going to be a tough matchup, as both teams play aggressive defense and are capable of knocking down shots in bunches.
The Yellow Jackets led virtually the entire game, because of a strong defensive effort and excellent ball management. Georgia Tech forced 15 turnovers while only committing seven. Eighteen of the Yellow Jackets’ 76 points came off CSU Bakersfield turnovers.
Sharp shooting aided the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech connected on 43.3 percent of its shots (26 for 60) while limiting the Roadrunners to 35 percent shooting (21 for 60).
It just took the right guy, and the right time, to make TCU fans hoop dreams a reality.
“When I’d see him in the summer at an AAU tournament or I’d do a Pitt game, I used to say, ‘TCU’s a sleeping giant,’” Fraschilla said. “And we’d go down the reasons why. He always filed it away, I think. He’s always cared about his alma mater.”
Fraschilla said TCU’s updated Schollmaier Arena, combined with the school’s move to the Big 12, have been game-changers for the program.
“If you’re a local kid, you can get everything you want out of college at TCU including playing in one of the best leagues in the country. And the most important thing is, Dallas-Fort Worth has got some of the best high school basketball in America right now,” Fraschilla said. “I think the timing was perfect for him to come home.”
Herrion recruited a lot of GT’s players, and knows their best one well. The question is, will that knowledge pay off in pregame prep?
“He told me how good this kid was. We had recruited him back when I was at Pitt,” Dixon said of Lammers. “Tom is one of my best friends in coaching and … was a big part of Georgia Tech having a great year last year. He watches a lot of film with his position and he can do a lot of different things. He brings a lot of knowledge.”
One more this season for Kenny Hustle? I have a feeling he’s up for the challenge.
“Kenrich getting healthy was huge for us,” Dixon said Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Williams contributed 14 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in TCU’s 68-53 win over Central Florida in the semifinals. “He’s just finding his legs, getting better. He’s too good an athlete and too good a decision maker not to use him, and he’s getting better.
“We’re finding ways to play through him and play with him. We’re playing through him in the post. We’re playing through him on the perimeter as well.”
Williams’ totals for rebounds and assists against UCF were team highs and followed his milestone performance during last week’s 86-68 rout of Richmond. In the game that sealed TCU’s trip to New York, Williams produced the second triple-double in school history (11 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists). During Fisher’s absence, Williams is averaging a team-high 7.7 assists per game. His season mark is 2.8.
It’s another sweep for the Frogs, this one of the two-game mid-week variety, as TCU absolutely crushed UTRGV Wednesday night at Lupton.
TCU (19-5) responded with 11 runs in the second inning. Mason Hesse and Zach Humphreys opened the scoring with bases loaded walks. Austen Wade grounded out to score a run, and then Cam Warner hit a two-run double. Three batters later, with the bases loaded, Nolan Brown hit a sacrifice fly and then, after a hit batsman ended senior Eddie Delgado’s (2-2) night, Hesse capped the inning with a grand slam.