A Friday night college basketball game between Georgia Tech and Grambling would not usually attract much attention. In fact, the game pitting Division I opponents against each other did not even feature a Las Vegas betting line, presumably because, well, Grambling isn’t very good at basketball in the recent past. However, the visiting Tigers made a bit of news in this particular contest, overcoming considerable odds to pull off a 64-63 win in Atlanta.
Grambling entered the game with a 1-5 record but that, frankly, undersells just how unlikely this result was. We are just five years away from the program posting a winless (0-28 mark) in 2012-2013 and, since then, only the 2016-2017 team finished with better than a 6-24 record. For further context, Jeff Borzello of ESPN weighs in with a mind-blowing stat.
Beyond that, Grambling had the second-longest odds of any victorious team in college basketball this season, at least according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
It should be noted that Georgia Tech is still without its best player in Josh Okogie, as he is finishing up a suspension for accepting impermissible benefits. Still, a team with reasonable expectations in the ACC should have no business even being in a competitive game (at home) against Grambling and the simple absence of one player isn’t enough to explain away the futility. In fact, only five (!) players scored for the Ramblin’ Wreck, with only two in double figures, and the team also missed 11 of its 22 free throw attempts to effectively give the game away.
To make matters even more brutal for the home team, Georgia Tech tipped the game-winner into its own basket with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation and that sends this result from wildly unlikely to patently unthinkable.
Here it is in GIF form. Oof.
Grambling’s 15-17 mark a year ago could paint an optimistic picture of the future of that program and Georgia Tech should, at least in theory, be a highly competitive team this year after what Pastner was able to do in his maiden voyage. With that said, this is the most shocking result of the young season and, a few months from now, that statement might still be true over the course of the entire 2017-2018 campaign.