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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.


Steve said...

Let's not forget the not-a-shot-clock-violation. However, as much as the blown calls may get under my skin, we just didn't play that well. If we had played half the game we did at Ole Miss, neither of those calls would have mattered one bit...

Anonymous said...

We've got to get more out of #50. He's gotten that moving screen violation called against him the last 3 games. Our bigs are underperforming right now. I am sure Coach Fox will get them better prepared as the season progresses.
I like how coach sent #22 to the end of the bench after he didn't pass to leslie on that break. #22 is on a heck of a run scoring but he should have padded that ball. All in all, I am impressed with the product being put on the floor. Let's get a little tougher inside with some hard fouls so teams in the future know they will get banged if the come down the lane. Go Dawgs!