GA Tech basketball is not lacking confidence… How refreshing!

georgia tech yellow jackets basketball
Moses Wright’s 31-point, 16-rebound double-double was the first 30-point, 15-rebound performance in an ACC game for a Tech player since Matt Harpring had a 30-point, 16-rebound game against North Carolina on Feb. 8, 1998. (Danny Karnik photo)

Feb. 28, 2021
BY DAN MATHEWS
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – This Georgia Tech team believes they are good and can win any game. 

Who can blame them right now? They’ve won four straight games and have played themselves into strong consideration for making the NCAA Tournament. They’ve also beaten four ranked teams this season. 

They’re 13-8 on the year, with some close losses. But, they haven’t had a loss worse than 16 points to Louisville on February 1. Three of their losses have been by three points or less. 

This senior laden rotation of Yellow Jackets feels like there’s not an opponent who is too much for them. Add Duke to the list of teams they believe they can beat. Already looking forward to this Tuesday night’s game, senior forward Moses Wright is ready to prove his team is up for the test. 

“We definitely hang our heads on the Duke loss,” Wright said. “Because we felt like, well we don’t feel like, we know that we’re a better team compared to Duke. So, I’m not going to sugarcoat it that way. We’re coming into Duke, it’s senior night and going to get the dub (win). So, we owe them big time, because we should have beat them at Cameron (Indoor Stadium). That hurt. Because, I really wanted that win at Cameron. I know all my teammates did too.” 

The Blue Devils got the Yellow Jackets the first time in Durham, 75-68 in late January. A lot of time has passed since that game. 

If you think that head coach Josh Pastner is going to try to slow Wright down with this type of thinking? Then, think again. 

“Our respect for the Duke program is at the very highest of high levels,” Pastner said. “That being said, hey, I’m going to roll with my guys. So if Moses feels that way? This is not a coaching game. It’s a players game. So the players have got to get it done. And I love Moses’ confidence and his toughness. If we’re better than Duke, we’ve got to go win the game. That’s just the facts of it.” 

Pastner did praise Duke for their proud history as a program. He also mentioned Mike Krzyzewski’s credentials of wins and championships. 

It is nice to hear someone who plays a sport in this city, speak this way. Some might say that Moses Wright shouldn’t feel this way or say something like this about a program like Duke’s. 

Number one, Duke’s not the team this year, that they usually put on the floor. They might miss the NCAA Tournament all together. However, they’re still Duke. It would be a huge deal for Tech to win that game. 

Also, why should anyone raise an eyebrow at a player who says something like Wright said? Shouldn’t players believe in themselves and their teammates? 

Can we stop playing nice in this town? Can we have more players like Moses Wright? I get having respect for your opponent. But, I for one like the brash and bold approach. 

A prime example of this being criticized in the past, is the playing style of Ronald Acuña. Who cares if he watches baseballs that he hits or catches fly outs with flair? You don’t like it? Get over it. 

I want a different way of thinking in this town. Because you know what the same old song has been delivering? Losses… Then, people saying “we’re cursed.” 

Stop with the tired, playing nice to the opponent speak. I hope there are more players who follow Moses Wright’s way of thinking about his team. It’s not a sin to think your team is good and saying as much out loud. 

Tech basketball hasn’t been in this position to make the NCAA Tournament in some time. Let them enjoy it. Let them believe they can do it. Because, they can and should be in for March Madness. 

Dan Mathews

Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host 
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7
WFOM-AM 106.3 FM ‘XTRA SPORTS AND TALK’

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