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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New bubble watch: Georgia on the brink?

It’s not quite time to start clearing your schedule for the third weekend in March, assuming Georgia will definitely be in the NCAA tournament. But it’s getting close.

Georgia’s win at Tennessee probably means that it makes the tournament as long as:

- It beats South Carolina and LSU to finish 9-7, at worst, in the SEC, and:

- The quality of the other at-large teams stays in its current weak state.

So that’s why I have Georgia’s bubble meter now all the way up to 80 percent.

There’s still room to slip – and the South Carolina game on Saturday, with the short turnarouond after playing Florida, is a potential trap game. But things are looking good at this point for Georgia.

The Bulldogs have not lost to a team outside the top 50 in the RPI. As near as I can figure, there’s only eight other teams can say that. (Kansas, Ohio State, San Diego State, Georgetown, Duke, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Cincinnati.)

In fact, Georgia’s worst loss, according to RPI rank, is Temple (33).

Here’s the current resume’ breakdown:

Record: 18-8 overall, 7-5 in the SEC
RPI: 38
SOS: 31
Record vs. top 50 in RPI: 3-8 (beat Kentucky, Tennessee and UAB, lost to Notre Dame, Kentucky, Florida, Xavier, Vanderbilt twice, Tennessee and Temple)
Record vs. top 100: 5-8 (also beat Mississippi and Colorado)

What happened Tuesday: From a division standpoint, Tennessee’s win over Vanderbilt didn’t help Georgia’s cause. By virtue of being swept by Vandy, the Bulldogs are unlikely to get past the ‘Dores for the first-round bye in the SEC tournament. So Georgia would probably like Tennessee to lose so it can avoid slipping to the fifth seed.

Then again it’s hard to tell right now how much the first game in the SEC tourney is going to matter; a win against Auburn or LSU may mean nothing at all, or it could be the clincher if it means that the Bulldogs’ bid will rest on its perfect record against weak teams.

The upshot of Tennessee beating Vandy is that the Vols might have been in danger of careening down the polls. Instead it looks like they’re going to stay a top 50 win – and loss – for Georgia.

A few other games did help Georgia: Illinois lost at No. 2 Ohio State, Coastal Carolina lost to UNC-Asheville (meaning Coastal will need to win its tournament) and Minnesota suffered a bad loss at home to Michigan State.

Just further evidence that the bubble isn’t hardening yet, it’s just staying weak.

What to watch Wednesday: Kentucky is at Arkansas. For RPI and SOS purposes, the Wildcats winning would help the Bulldogs. From a division-SEC seeding standpoint, a Razorbacks win would be best. So, take your pick.

As for notable bubble teams in action: Michigan hosts No. 12 Wisconsin, VCU is at Drexel, Marshall hosts Tulsa, Boston College hosts Miami, Colorado State is at No. 7 BYU, Missouri State is at Southern Illinois, Cincinnati is at No. 11 Georgetown, Florida State is at Maryland, Baylor is at No. 20 Missouri, Kansas State is at Nebraska (both are bubble teams), and Southern Miss hosts UNLV.

Colorado, which barely remains a top 100 win for UGA, is playing at Texas Tech.

Temple, another former UGA opponent, plays at No. 1 Duke. If I were some sort of anti-Duke person I’d say you shoot root against the Blue Devils regardless. But of course I’m not.

Up next for Georgia: If Chandler Parsons doesn’t play – or even if he does - it’s a great opportunity for Georgia to get another marquee win. It wouldn’t automatically stamp the NCAA ticket for the Bulldogs, but would come close. A loss wouldn’t really hurt them much – but considering the game is on national television, Georgia at least needs to put on a good showing. (Committee members have TVs.)


PTC DAWG said...

Committee memeber have TV's....

Who knew?

Seriously, thanks for the update on the BBALL.

Jake said...

Seth, what do you think about the Tennessee allegations? I feel bad for the football program, but I hope that the basketball program goes doesn in flames.

Nick said...

Great, great stuff here, Seth. Really appreciate the time you put into the basketball coverage - few UGA blogs do. Keep it up! I promise there are a few hoop fans out there.