Another bubbly Saturday
No, a win today over LSU will not punch Georgia’s ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Georgia’s RPI of 79 is not attractive enough yet for them to be considered tourney material (yet).
A victory this afternoon would certainly boost UGA’s RPI (as would wins by Davidson, Temple, Western Carolina, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia Washington, Chattanooga, Colorado and Woffford, according to CBS’s Bracketologist Jerry Palm).
The RPI ranking system is an amorphous mess, and it is completely out of Georgia’s control.
The only thing that Coach Mark Fox and his team can earn for certain today is the 3-seed to the SEC tournament next week, and to do that the Dawgs must complete a season sweep of the LSU Tigers.
A key factor in UGA’s 91-78 home win over LSU earlier in the year was that the Tigers’ leading scorer – Johnny O’Bryant III (JOB) – was in foul trouble the entire game. JOB played just 14 minutes in that game, which hampered LSU’s ability to score and defend inside.
When O’Bryant was in the game, however, he was extremely effective, scoring all 9 of his points in 10 minutes of the second half.
Speaking honestly, JOB is probably the best legitimate big man in the SEC, averaging almost 17 points and 8 rebounds a night in conference play. If O’Bryant manages to avoid foul trouble this time around, UGA is going to have a much tougher Tiger team on their hands this afternoon.
Making matters even more challenging for the Dawgs is the fact that LSU is still in the hunt for an at-large bid themselves with an RPI rating of 64.
Today’s game should have a “playoff” feel to it.
Georgia’s three-point game
Throughout the season, broadcasters and journalists have type-casted this UGA basketball team as a hard-nosed bunch that likes to score the basketball close to the rim (which is fairly accurate), lacking in much of anything resembling a perimeter game.
Interestingly, though, with one game remaining in the season UGA currently sits at 3rd in the SEC in three-point shooting in conference games, knocking down nearly 36% of its shots from beyond the arc.
While the Dawgs only average a little over 5 threes a night in league play, I was surprised by the team’s successful shooting rate from the perimeter.
A big contributor to Georgia’s exterior offense has been sophomore Kenny Gaines, who is making almost 42% of his three-point attempts in SEC games, which is 4th in the conference.