Georgia drops one at home to Auburn

After Auburn graciously tossed the ball the length of the court and out of bounds with 1.8 seconds left, Georgia had one last look at the rim, trailing the Tigers 69-68.  Unfortunately, the Dawgs couldn’t get the ball in to anyone close to the basket, which ultimately led to Neme Djurisic shooting an off-balanced airball from the corner of the court.

Auburn won the game and erased any good mojo that UGA might have been feeling after their win in College Station earlier this week.

Actually, this loss is going to sting the Dawgs down the road, considering Auburn entered Stegemen with just 3 SEC wins before 2:00PM.  Georgia has now dropped games to Georgia Tech, Minnesota, South Carolina and Auburn, all of which are considered “bad losses” as far as the NCAA selection committee is concerned.

After sleepwalking on offense for the first 30 minutes of this game, UGA managed to build a 9-point lead with just 5:08 remaining.  But the Dawgs defense was unable to stop the Tigers, allowing Auburn to connect on its final 5 field goals.  The Tigers scored 21 points in the last five minutes, almost as many as they scored in the entire first half (29).  Georgia’s offense failed them for the first three-quarters of this contest, but it was its defense that let them down in the end.

The Dawgs were led by Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who scored 18 and 14 points, respectively.

Bruce Pearl’s backcourt carried his team this afternoon, with K.T. Harrell and K.C. Ross-Miller combining for 38 of their team’s 69 points.

Georgia had one of its best performances of the season from the free throw line, hitting nearly 86% of its attempts.  However, the good shooting from the stripe did not translate over to the field, where the Dawgs made only 37% from the floor and just 21% from beyond the arc.

This loss puts UGA’s SEC record at 7-5, which sits them at 4th in the conference – for now.

Georgia has South Carolina coming into Athens on Tuesday, and they simply cannot afford another letdown.

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Why is Georgia still being projected as just an 8-seed?

Heading into today’s game against the Auburn Tigers this afternoon, Georgia finds itself sitting comfortably in the RPI standings with a rating of 20.  If in fact the RPI is the baseline indicator for how the NCAA selection committee picks and seeds its bracket, then one would presume that UGA would be projected to be a 5- or 6-seed at this point in the year.

But that’s not the case.  In ESPN’s latest Bracketology, Joe Lunardi still has Georgia slotted as an 8-seed.  The network’s other college basketball guru, Eamonn Brennan, who orchestrates Bubble Watch each year, included this nugget about the Dawgs in his latest writeup:

“But every passing week of solidity gets Mark Fox’s team closer to its seeming No. 8-seed destiny.”

CBS’s Jerry Palm currently has Georgia pinned as a 9-seed.

These projections, though, don’t jive with where the committee has seeded teams that finished the year with RPI’s of 20 in the past.  Below are the last four teams to end the year with an RPI of 20 along with the seed that they were given in the tournament:

2014 – Cincinnati RPI 20 – 5-seed

2013 – Butler RPI 20 – 6-seed

2012 – Vanderbilt RPI 20 – 5-seed

2011 – Vanderbilt RPI 20 – 5-seed

So as far as this year’s UGA team is concerned, what gives?  Is this year’s Georgia squad being punished for UGA basketball’s historical lack of prestige?