With an RPI of 24, Georgia has positioned itself well for an NCAA Tournament birth…for now (Lunardi had UGA as a 10-seed in this week’s Bracketology). The Dawgs still have 13 SEC games remaining on their schedule, and if they don’t handle their business down the road (finish above .500) they could find themselves on the outside of the bubble. In the Maroon Dawgs, UGA will be taking on a team that has not had the most spectacular start to the 2014-2015 season. Missy State is 9-9 overall and just 2-3 in conference games; yet, a win over Georgia tomorrow and the other Bulldogs are dead-even with the red Dawgs in league play.
In fact, the SEC will feature a number of games tomorrow in which the winners/losers – if all the chips fell a certain way – could leave the league with an eight-way tie at 3-3. Coach Mark Fox’s team has an opportunity to put some separation between themselves and some of the other competition in the conference, meaning a win is critical.
Another reason that Georgia cannot afford a slip-up in Starkville on Saturday is related to that whole RPI-thingy. See, the Maroon Dawgs have an RPI of 177, which means that should they pull the upset they would go down as UGA’s worst loss on the season. Minnesota (RPI 99) and Georgia Tech (72) are now both ugly blemishes on Georgia’s tournament resume – these two teams are a combined 1-12 in conference play, and neither squad needs a pair of shades because the future does not look too bright. Tech still hasn’t played UVA, Duke or Carolina, and Minnesota has to play Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin (twice).
I realize that everyone reading this blog knows that a big reason the Dawgs fell to GT was that Kenny Gaines, who was coming back from a bout with mononucleosis, played just 18 rusty minutes. But, the NCAA Tournament Committee will more than likely not know about that little tidbit since they do not have time to comb through the personnel histories of all the teams that they are considering.
Finally, as a UGA basketball fan, I understand just how precious it is when Georgia reaches the Big Dance because it happens oh so rarely. However, at the risk of becoming a bit spoiled, I’d like to go on record saying that should UGA be privileged enough to be selected this year, I truly hope the Dawgs can avoid seeds 7-10. The 7,8,9 and 10 seeds, which are typically given to teams from large conferences, are kind of a let down. Yes, fans are excited that their team is going to the tournament, but a win only means that their squad has to go on to most likely play a 1- or 2-seed.