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Vitale: Beware Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Tech sweating just to make NCAA Tournament


Feb. 24, 2005
It was another tough night for Georgia Tech.

Coach Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets played hard Wednesday, holding Duke — a team that averaged 84 points on the road — to just 60. Unfortunately, as has been the case too often this season, Georgia Tech's offense really struggled in a 60-56 loss.

Jarrett Jack and Luke Schenscher combined for 36 points. Problem is, the rest of the team totaled 20!

The defense held J.J. Redick, one of the leading candidates for player of the year, to 21 points. Georgia Tech deserves credit for that.

Right now Hewitt's team is 6-7 in the ACC and 15-9 overall. This was a big game because the Yellow Jackets' resume has a win over Wake Forest but not many other marquee W's.

It has been a rough season for BJ Elder, who was injured in the Kansas game on New Year's Day and hasn't been the same since. He got into foul trouble early against Duke and finished with just two points. Several shots appeared to be going in but Elder simply didn't have luck on his side.

Last season, Tech made the national championship game. This time around, the Yellow Jackets are sweating just to make a Big Dance bid. The offense has sputtered at crucial times — just look back at the 53-51 loss to NC State, a game similar to this loss to Duke.

Georgia Tech hasn't won consecutive games since early January. There is still some time to make noise, but the Yellow Jackets don't have an easy road ahead. There is a big game Saturday at Miami, followed by a visit to Wake Forest, where the Demon Deacons want to avenge a one-point loss.

Hewitt's club finishes against Clemson. The Tigers showed they won't go easily by beating Maryland at College Park on Tuesday night. Tech probably needs to win two of those last three games to improve its NCAA Tournament chances.

For those who think Georgia Tech is dead, just remember that Maryland was 7-9 in ACC play last season before heating up in the conference tournament. The Terps knocked off the top three seeds to lock up their bid in the Big Dance.

Hewitt has to find more consistency on offense. Right now, that is a big problem.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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