No. 18 Dayton 63, No. 23 Ga Tech 59: Restart the Hewitt Hot Seat Watch

Nathan BitnerSenior Analyst INovember 19, 2009

ATLANTA - MARCH 13:  Head coach Paul Hewitt of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets reacts to a call by an official during day two against the Florida State Seminoles of the 2009 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament on March 13, 2009 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So, it wasn't really an upset. Tell it to the fans. Tell it to the boosters. See if they'll listen.

No. 23 Georgia Tech fell 63-59 to the best of the Atlantic 10, the No. 18 Dayton Flyers in the opening game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off today.

But the way in which they lost is not going to calm the fans that are growing a bit weary of losing with the immense talent that Hewitt has recruited in his years at Tech.

This is supposed to be the do-or-die year for Hewitt and a loss to Dayton, while excusable, is not an auspicious start to the campaign.

It doesn't help that Georgia Tech blew a seven-point lead with less than five minutes to go in the game after rallying from a 31-22 halftime deficit.

Both teams were sloppy with the ball (though the Jackets were sloppier, with 26 turnovers to Dayton's 22). Both teams shot poorly from three-point range (though the Jackets were more inaccurate, hitting just two-of-eight compared to Dayton's nine-of-28). Both teams shot poorly from the free-throw line (though Georgia Tech was horrendous, a paltry 11-of-20 compared to Dayton's 10-of-15).

See the general trend?

A different Paul, Paul Williams of the Flyers, made the biggest difference in the win. He was a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe and nailed the crucial go-ahead three-pointer, not bad for a reserve guard.

Will this game get Paul Hewitt fired? Of course not. Will his seat get a little warmer with each game the Jackets lose in this manner? As one moose-shooting ex-VP candidate might say, "you betcha'".

Dayton is significantly improved over last year, but they're still not UNC or Duke, nor are they even Clemson. Georgia Tech needs to win these games, early or not. Unlike many other prognosticators, I see the Yellow Jackets as a bubble NCAA team, not the third best team in the ACC.

Quite simply, if they don't get into the NCAA Tournament, you can say goodbye to Mr. Hewitt in Atlanta.

Don't worry though, because N.C. State's Sidney Lowe will beat him out the ACC's revolving door, but that's another story for another day.