November losses hurting Georgia’s tournament hopes

The Georgia Bulldogs sit alone at third in the SEC standings with a conference record of 10-5 on the season.  

If the Dawgs hope to mosey into the NCAA tournament conversation though, it won’t be their SEC record that is the problem.  Currently, Georgia’s RPI – which is 82, according to ESPN – is being weighted down by basketball games that occurred last year, specifically in November.

Yes, UGA’s 2013-2014 schedule contains two glaring eyesores – Temple and Georgia Tech – that are not helping Georgia’s case for a postseason at-large bid.

Temple, who beat the Dawgs 83-81 in the Charleston Classic on November 22nd, has gone on to have a train wreck of a season.  The Owls are 7-19 overall and just 2-12 in American Athletic Conference, earning them an RPI of 165.  If you remember that game, UGA actually had the ball down two with a few seconds on the clock, but Georgia’s in-bounds play was botched – by that, I mean Donte Williams took a deep three – and the Dawgs lost a heartbreaker.  

The loss to Temple is pretty hard to justify, especially considering how terrible they have been since.  Early in the year, Georgia’s defense had not yet developed into the stalwart that it is today, which was probably a major reason for the defeat.

The loss to Georgia Tech, however, is more haunting for UGA.  The Jackets are 13-14 overall and 4-10 in the ACC, and they carry a lowly RPI of just 160.  

But, Georgia Tech has dealt with a slew of personnel issues this season.  Robert Carter, who averages nearly a double-double each night, missed the first 10 ACC games.  Tech lost reserve/sometimes starter Kevin Morris to injury, along with freshman point guard Travis Jorgensen.  In addition, coach Brian Gregory had to dismiss sophomore guard Solomon Poole, who was scoring over 6 points per game.  

The point of all this lamenting over the Jackets’ decimated roster is that all of these aforementioned players were on the court in Stegeman when Tech beat Georgia 80-71 on November 15th.  This fact seems lost amongst bracketologists though, and what appears to the casual observer glancing at UGA’s “body of work” is that they lost to a team with an RPI over 150.

The bottom line is that Georgia is not going to get much love from the Bubble Watchers because of their RPI, and the only way UGA can work their way into the discussion is by continuing to win.

I believe that if Georgia can win 1 out of the next 3 games as well as 2 in the conference tournament, they might have a chance of sneaking into the Big Dance.

Can the law firm of Morris, Mann and Gaines keep Georgia winning into March?

I also feel that if UGA can take this upcoming game from Arkansas the bracketologists may just have to put Georgia on the bubble, since they will have knocked everyone else from the SEC off it.

8 thoughts on “November losses hurting Georgia’s tournament hopes

  1. I tend to disagree with your last point…I don’t think we’d make it with 1-2 down the final stretch and 2 wins in the tourney. Miss St at home is as close as you can get to a lock of a win for us and then we’re going to have to win a tough one in one of our road games against other potential bubble teams. That and 2 wins in the tournament gets us in I think. I think if we go 3-0 in the last few games and then win one in the tournament we would get considered. A big win against UK in the tournament would definitely get some people on our side though. And if that happens we’d only be one win(hopefully Florida slips up) away from the auto bid.

    I still think it’s a longshot but I never would have thought I’d be writing this after the first month of the season. Worst case we get in the NIT and I think that’s more than we could have expected coming into the year.


  2. You could definitely be right – they may need to win 2 of the last 3 regular season games.

    Two wins in the tourney – including one over Kentucky – would probably bolster UGA’s RPI by 20+ points, though.

    Either way, like you said – it is amazing we are even having this discuss after the 1-4 start to the season.


    1. Unless we have a real strong finish as you mentioned, our best hope is the NIT. I disagree that the absence of our current defense is the reason we lost those games. an ordinary defense should have been adequate. Fox was “experimenting” with different lineups and running players in and out before they could get into the flow of the game. Also, Morris was benched for reasons that we were never told. And Thornton was playing poorly. You have to play your best guys enough minutes to win. Fox did not do that. Our starters today were known last year. No “experimentation” necessary. And he taught rebounding, beginning in January. But, to his credit, he has them playing well. Except the TN game when he reverted to his NovDec strategy. Give Fox credit, but also blame.


  3. I can only figure that Fox makes every November a time when no position is a lock. Starting and number 1 backups to be determined. But it’s got to be for the players’ sakes. J.J. over Taylor wasn’t a decision made from early game play for example. I agree that the frenetic substitution strategy/fallback hasn’t ever yielded any positive results that I can see. Yes, I agree, the GT we faced is not the team muddling around the ACC basement, but the long wait to settle position/playing time comes too late. Of course, no one expects us to be a well-oiled machine in January, but a more settled November should have yielded a needed victory, and more competitive games against UF and UK. Let’s hope these next two weeks have our good team showing up, and not the one we saw Nov./Vandy/Tenn. The boys have a fairly strong sense of themselves now. But they simply cannot afford any more of those lifeless games that have popped up from time to time.


  4. I’d say any combination that got us to 20 wins (the last 3 regular season plus 1 in tournament or 2 regular season and 2 tournament) would probably get us on the bubble, but it’s going to take some real quality wins at this point to make us an actual possibility to make the dance. Winning against the Hogs is our best regular season resume builder remaining. That and a quality win in the tournament might get us in the discussions for real.

    But as everyone else is saying, I’m just happy for the NIT at this point. Glad Fox is saving his job. Go Dawgs!


  5. If we just keep winning, the rest will take care of itself. If we limit our turnovers, win the boards, and shoot free throws decently, we can beat about anyone. Beat the Hogs!


  6. I said before the UT game that Georgia can only lose one more game in the regular season and make the NCAA. After an ugly loss to UT and impressive home win vs Mizzou I think we need 4 more wins (for an enormous 14 in SEC play) to make the NCAA as a Dayton play-in team (win out regular season plus one SEC tourney win or go 2-1 plus 2 SEC wins).

    I like our chances as the Hoop Dawgs are playing very well. Arky could be ripe for an upset here coming off big Thursday road OT win (and UGA coming off easy Tuesday home win where we subbed a ton).


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