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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bubble watch: Georgia

OK, to be quite honest, I didn’t have a chance to watch the replay of the final play from Tuesday night until Wednesday morning. And the verdict … Great Odin’s raven, was that an over-the-back. Wowsers.

Now I think the world of Teddy Valentine as an official. A few coaches I know, including Dave Odom, convinced me that antics aside, Valentine is one of the best on a call-by-call basis. The other two officials on last night’s crew have good reputations too.

But wow … they really held their whistle on that last one, didn’t they?

I repeat … Wow.

Still, it goes down as a loss, the first at home for Georgia this season, and therefore the first real stumbling block on the way to an NCAA tournament bid. Neutral site losses to Notre Dame and Temple, and on the road to Vanderbilt, are all acceptable. But at home to a Tennessee team without its coach – gotta defend the home court. And frankly the Bulldogs didn’t play very well on Tuesday night, so while they have room to protest the final call, they can’t really say they deserved to win. (Deserved to go to overtime, maybe.)

As we update our bubble watch, we keep Georgia at a better-than-even chance to make the field of 68. It's RPI only went down a bit, but it's strength of schedule went up by playing Tennessee. You’ll see more of this as the season goes on and Georgia plays more than half its games against the competitive East Division.

That’s why we remain optimistic about the Bulldogs’ chances as long as they take care of the business they should – but that means winning at home.

Record: 13-4 overall, 2-2 in the SEC
RPI: 46
SOS: 66
Record vs. top 50 in RPI: 2-4 (beat Kentucky and UAB, lost to Notre Dame, Temple, Tennessee, Vanderbilt)
Record vs. top 100: 4-4 (also beat Colorado and Mississippi)

What happened Tuesday: Kentucky’s loss at Alabama will help Georgia in the SEC East, but not in the computer rankings. (Because Georgia plays Kentucky twice, and Alabama once, unless they get matched in the SEC tournament.) And the NCAA selection committee doesn’t really care where a team finishes in its division. So call that result a wash.

Colorado, which Georgia now roots for the rest of the way, fell at Nebraska. The Buffaloes have risen to 73 in the RPI, so it would be great for Georgia if it won a few more and snuck into the top 50. Considering Colorado wasn’t supposed to be that good, it at least is a pleasant surprise that Colorado currently counts as a top 100 win.

What to watch this week: The SEC East race, for what it’s worth, has some more cross-division matchups: Arkansas at South Carolina and Mississippi at Vanderbilt on Wednesday, and Florida at Auburn on Thursday.

Other former UGA opponents in action on Wednesday: Notre Dame hosts Cincinnati in a top 25 matchup, Georgia Tech hosts Wake Forest, Temple hosts Penn and UAB hosts SMU.

On Thursday: High Points visits Presbyterian, Charles Southern is at Gardner-Webb and Mercer hosts Jacksonville,

Again, once the bubble starts to tighten we’ll use this section to focus more on the other potential at-large teams.

Next up for Georgia: It’s too early for must-wins, so let’s call Saturday’s home game against Mississippi State a really-should-win. MSU is a lot more dangerous than it’s record (11-7) and RPI rank (191) after getting Renardo Sidney and Dee Bost off suspension. Georgia is probably lucky to get this one on its home court, and this time needs to defend it.


Matt H. said...

The realtime rpi ranking you have listed is not reflective of the loss (Georgia's record is listed as 13-3). In ESPN's ranking (which is updated) Georgia's RPI fell to 45.

The official's didn't lose the game (though they helped given the missed shot clock violation call. UT's ability to get offensive boards was the clear difference in the game.

GreenDawg said...

I would have to agree that we had a chance to win the game if we get either one of those last two rebounds.

But then again it's tough to get a rebound with a guys arm wrapped around your head. Plus, Barnes has been shooting FT fairly well as of late. I can't help but think he would have at least made one of them.

Seth Emerson said...

Yeah, I changed it to reflect the rankings. screwed me a bit there by not being, as it turned out, real time.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop thinking about the failed fast break highlight dunk attempt by Robinson. If he just goes for a lay up or throws an 'oop to Leslie, there are two points.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if any of you have read the next post about Tanner Strickland. I think it is disgraceful that Seth had to lock comments because of the people calling Tanner out. The guys made a decision that none of us know nothing about. I am thankful for the time and effort he gave UGA to play a game that too many of us take too seriously. He earned his degree and has decided to move on with his life. I suggest that too many readers of this blog need to either gone a life of their own or at the least move on with it.

Anonymous said...

Give it up? What do we have to do to get to the NIT? New York, here we come!

IveyLeaguer said...

While it's true Tennessee's superiority on the boards was a major factor in the game, it was, nevertheless, an evenly played SEC fight that in the end was decided by the officials.

And it wasn't just the no-call on Williams. The basket right before that didn't beat the shot clock. Instead of two points for Tennessee, it was really a turnover ... that didn't get called.

And that's a terrible shame. Fox was as together as he could be after the game but you could tell, like the rest of us, he was devastated.

It's hard to get screwed any harder than what happened in this game. And on your home court, to boot.

Anonymous said...

The problem with basketball is that the officials screw one team EVERY game. Last night was our time to get screwed. You have to beat the other team and the screw factor (if it is your night to be screwed) to win.

Go Dawgs.

HVL Dawg

Anonymous said...

I expect the officials to call EVERY game fairly. I expect some missed calls, but not ones as obvious as these two misses. This game deserved to be questioned.

Thank you, Tanner Strickland and the best of luck! You are a DGD.

C said...

Great post Seth. It's good to see some basketball posts on the Georgia blogs in the winter, especially on an otherwise slow newsday for football (although I'm hearing something about an offensive line coach?).

I feel pretty good about the Dawgs' chances to go to the dance if the SEC gets 5 teams in. If they only get 4, I'm worried.

The Florida games have become even more important now.

IMO, a sweep of the Wildcats (only need to win 1) or the Gators would do the trick as long as we hold serve at home.