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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fleeting thoughts: Football recruiting, and what now for UGA hoops?

I know it’s tough for a lot of people to focus on basketball yet – we’re what, only 20 games into the season? And three days till signing day.

So for those who need a recruiting fix, here’s my Sunday story on Georgia’s fast finish on the trail, and it’s potential long-term impact.

Mark Richt needed a win and more than a few. The way the season finished, and with the fire the Georgia head football coach was taking, Richt needed something, anything, to give fans hope.

Three days before National Signing Day, it’s happening. Richt already has a few of those critical recruiting wins, and several more could be on the way.


“They have a chance to make this mark Richt’s best class ever,” said Mike Farrell, the national recruiting analyst for

As for Georgia men’s basketball, things are getting to the critical stretch. The SEC East Division title is becoming a longshot, but an at-large NCAA tournament berth is still within reach.

It’s amazing to see a few folks already jumping off the bandwagon, especially after a seven-point loss at Kentucky. You know what that did to Georgia’s RPI rank? It dropped from 44 before Saturday all the way down to 45 a day later. You know who IS out of it now? South Carolina, after that inexplicable home loss to pitiful Auburn, went from 84 to 108. Now there’s a team that needs to win out in Atlanta.

As for Georgia, it does have to start getting some road wins, starting Wednesday at Arkansas. (A game that doesn’t look any easier after the Hogs won at Vanderbilt on Saturday.) Right now the Bulldogs are looking at two losses – home to Tennessee and Florida – as potentially debilitating. Otherwise they’ve won the games they should and had no bad losses. What that means is Georgia probably has to steal a win or two on the road, and hold serve at home, especially against Vanderbilt and Xavier.

Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the remainder of the schedule, and how I’d characterize Georgia’s chances in eacch:

Feb. 2 …. at Arkansas ….. Toss-up
Feb. 5 ….. Auburn ………. Favored
Feb. 8 ….. Xavier ………..Toss-up
Feb. 12 … at South Carolina ..Toss-up
Feb. 16 … Vanderbilt ……..Toss-up
Feb. 19 …. At Tennessee …..Underdog
Feb. 24 …. At Florida ………Underdog
Feb. 26 …. South Carolina …Favored
March 2 … LSU …………….Favored
March 5 … at Alabama ……..Toss-up

So that’s five toss-ups, three games Georgia should be favored in and two uphill games. If you gave the Bulldogs the favored games and docked them the two uphills, that makes them 6-6 in the SEC, and probably needing to win the majority of the five toss-ups. The game against Xavier is particularly crucial.

Or, if Georgia wins at Tennessee and/or Florida, that cancels out the home loss. The best news for the Bulldogs so far is that a) they’re done playing Kentucky, and b) they got a split out of the series.

When it comes to the NCAAs, it’s important to point out that it doesn’t all operate within a team’s own vacuum. You can’t look at just Georgia’s resume’ and say “in” or “out.” The Bulldogs will be competing against the other at-large teams, and as of this moment the bubble looks pretty weak. But if it tightens – like if some ACC teams start improving their resumes – then it gets really dicey.


Middle Georgia Dawg said...

In spite of the recent struggles of the basketball team, I'm still excited about the direction of the basketball program. I had several classes in high school with Saul Smith, met Tubby Smith a few times as a result, and was really excited as I enrolled at UGA for the potential of great sports year round. Then of course Tubby went to Kentucky, and I got to enjoy the Ron Jirsa "era" as a student. I was still on the front row at Stegeman every year, suffering through it all...suffice it to say, the current state of Georgia basketball is leaps and bounds ahead of what I witnessed from across the GA bench. Even if we don't make the tournament, I think that Mark Fox has us heading in the right direction. With just a little more depth on the bench we could be running away with the conference. I still think we'll end up with an at large bid.

Really looking forward to Wednesday...going to be a great day for UGA! Go Dawgs!

Verification word: menesses. At first glance looked a little different...

GreenDawg said...

If we're worrying about ACC teams improving their resume's then I'm happy, because who are they going to beat that is going to improve it? Unless they all start beating Duke in the next few weeks we are good.

Anonymous said...

Seth really enjoying the great basketball coverage as of late. There is a quiet majority out here that really does care about basketball but I appreciate and look forward to more of your insight on the basketball program.

VAdawg said...

Seth, I appreciate you trying to cajole our fanbase into basketball mode. Mark Fox is making things happen in Athens, and I would hate to see this rough slew of games detract from what he's done thus far.

HOWEVER... I'm starting to get a bit nervous about our tourney hopes. Don't get me wrong, right now I still think we have a very good chance. But I think the biggest problem we face is the fact that the SEC looks so weak to the outside world. I live in a house of Big East fans, and they never forget to remind me how pitiful the SEC is in hoops this year. They have a point; I think Kentucky is good but from there its a complete crap shoot. Florida drops games it shouldn't, Tennessee is absolutely bipolar, Vandy is incredibly streaky, and Georgia has not shown that we can win a tight, big time game. I'm starting to really worry that the SEC will only get 4 teams in the tournament. You have to figure that Kentucky makes it, and Florida will probably rebound from this weekend. So we're looking at a fight with Tenn, Vandy, and probably Arkansas for the last spot. We've already lost to Tenn and Vandy, and now we play Arkie on the road... The road is pretty darn tough. Oh and I saw Xavier play Richmond this weekend; those guys are going to be tough too...

However, I'm keeping faith in Fox. First things first: get a big road win in Fayetville. One game at a time.

Anonymous said...

Hiring a Mickey Mouse Coach from a Mickey Mouse conference ='s Mickey Mouse results. WE are still in dead last place in the SEC East. I aint buying into Fox yet.

David Davis said...

@Anon 2:05

Wow. I'm starting to think that a lot of dawg fans have no idea how to be positive. I think the basketball team looks great especially compared to past years. Maybe Coach Fox should issue a public apology for not being undefeated as a second year coach?

Georgia isn't exactly known as a basketball school, so I'm not surprised that results may take a while. I hope Fox continues he great work. I hope the attitude of the fans starts being more supportive rather than pessimistic.

My feelings are the same for Coach Grantham. When he was hired, I tried to tell my friends that they shouldn't judge him before 2012. I was happy with our defense this year and I hope to see the same results without Houston.

Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

David Davis just ignore anon @ 2: 05. You can tell from his syntax it's that BuLLdawg. He's a tool who likes to troll.

Anonymous said...

Bobby Knight would have us in first place. Fox will only get us so far Doesn't have that it factor.

Anonymous said...

You mean the Bobby Knight that hasn't won anything since 1993? The Bobby Knight that quit on his team in the middle of the season in 2008? Are we talking about the same Bobby Knight?

GreenDawg said...

Bobby Knight? Really? The same Bobby Knight that had mediocre Texas Tech teams for years? That guy hasn't been able to coach in over a decade. He would have been a recruiting tool at best.

Fox on the other hand is well over .500 and honestly when compared to past basketball teams I would have been content with .500 at this point in the rebuilding process. The Mark Fox bashers need to take a deep breath. It's almost like Fox screwed himself by doing too good of a job. Now people are expecting we should be in the NCAA every year. Fox will get us there, but it's gonna take a little bit of time.

Anonymous said...

The thing that is Fleeting is our Baskeball season. We could lose to SC twice and that stings just like in fooball.

Bizzaroneck said...

Wow, some of you guys are idiots. Do you remember UGA basketball under Felton??? Fox has done a fantastic job for a historically awful college basketball program. The fact that we are even talking about it should be enough. Were you talking about Georgia basketball 2 years ago at this time? I guess haters are going to hate.

BulldogBen said...

Bizz, I agree but that also precisely the reason why it's so frustrating. It's because we HAVE improved and it's allowed Dawg fans to dream big again. Success breeds expectations. And since when have college sports fans EVER been patient? Right now, there is Auburn fan out there pissed that Oregon scored 19.

Seth, not sure why you'd be amazed people are jumping off the bandwagon. The media LOVED this team as a dark horse team in the East with all the Trey Thompkins player of the year talk and Leslie being the "next human highlight reel", etc, etc.

I'll admit to openly drinking the kool-aid and thinking this team could go 10-6 in the SEC be a lock for the tourney. These losses hurt because, IMO, the SEC is there to be had. There is no elite team this year and SEVERAL bad ones. Facing reality and re-calibrating goals is frustrating and I have no idea what team is going to show up game to game.

All is certainly not lost and any team can get hot but I'm thinking 9-7 might now be a stretch. This Arkansas game is going to be HUGE.

Mr drysdale said...

How do you cipher a 7 point loss?

Bizzaroneck said...

Bulldog Ben, you are definitely right about expectations. If I was an Auburn fan I would have been pissed too. Oregon was awful. Wouldn't have beat the top 4 SEC teams from this year.