The Washington Times - February 7, 2009, 11:06PM

Been a busy day. Busy, busy, busy day.

Just now finally winding down. Just finally getting a look at all the scores.

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Yes, it was a slow day on the blog. But not for the blogger.

In any case, I’ll offer up a quick Q&A with Larry Hartstein of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He checked in last month, and graciously agreed to do so again with Maryland visiting Georgia Tech tomorrow.

The Yellow Jackets have lost – a lot – since they left College Park with a setback. They also won the commitment of prep star Derrick Favors.

Here’s three questions with Hartstein to break down Paul Hewitt’s bunch:

1. When Maryland fans last saw Georgia Tech in person, the Yellow Jackets committed 28 turnovers and somehow lost to a team that shot 31.5 percent. Has point guard Moe Miller’s return done anything to clean up the sloppiness seen four weeks ago?

LH: Miller’s return has helped, and in general the team has been a bit less careless with the ball, though turnovers remain a problem. However, the biggest problem is a consistent inability to knock down open shots. Tech has shot less than 50 percent in 12 straight games and has hit 5 of its last 33 from beyond the arc. Most of those were wide open looks. In ACC play, the team is shooting 40 percent.

2. If you play word association with schools in the ACC, it’s not a stretch to say “early entry” when Georgia Tech is mentioned. Is there a sense the Yellow Jackets might go down the Chris Bosh/Jarrett Jack/Thaddeus Young/Javaris Crittenton route with either Gani Lawal or Iman Shumpert at season’s end, or does it look like the nucleus of this team will be around for another year?

LH: Shumpert, no chance. But Lawal, a sophomore, is currently projected as the 14th, or final lottery, pick in the draft. He says he plans to return to Tech but will explore his options after the season. My guess is he’ll return unless he is a surefire lottery pick. The Jackets will lose seniors Alade Aminu and Lewis Clinch, but they’ll be bolstered by an outstanding five-member recruiting class that includes 6-9 Derrick Favors and two other top-50 players nationally.

3. How significant was the Derrick Favors commitment last month for the program – and how much better is the prognosis for 2009-10 as a result?

LH: Favors’ commitment was huge. It took some pressure off coach Paul Hewitt and it meant that Tech will be back in the NCAA tournament next season. Tech will be loaded next year, assuming Gani Lawal comes back, and anything less than a top-tier ACC finish and at least a Sweet 16 berth will be considered disappointing.

Much thanks to Larry Hartstein for lending his insight. Plenty more to come in the morning, but sleep is beckoning after a crazy few days.

Patrick Stevens