Don’t be deceived by Mississippi State’s pedestrian record (10-7). As I write so eloquently in today’s papers, the other Bulldogs are quite a bit more formidable than earlier in the season:
Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney, perhaps the team’s two best players, have only been playing together for a few games, thanks to NCAA suspensions. So while Mississippi State’s record (10-7) may not be impressive, it is probably closer to the team that has clobbered its past two SEC opponents than the one that fell to the likes of Florida Atlantic and East Tennessee State.
“They’re a different team. You’ve got two NBA-talent guys that just joined their team,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said.
This should be a stiff test for Georgia, which needs to defend its home court and rack up as many wins against the West as it can. As we continue the NCAA bubble watch for Georgia, which enters the day with an RPI rank of 43,, here are some other notable games on Saturday:
Noon: Georgia Tech (former UGA opponent) at Virginia. The Yellow Jackets have an RPI rank of 137, so with a strong finish they could end up counting as a top 100 win for Georgia.
1:30 p.m.: Colorado (former UGA opponent, current top 100 win for UGA) at Oklahoma.
1:45 p.m.: Mississippi at LSU: Ole Miss has an RPI rank of 84, and considering the Bulldogs won in Oxford, it should probably root for the Rebels to do well.
2 p.m.: Tennessee at Connecticut: I know, I know, you don’t want to root for the Volunteers. Feel free not to, but remember that any non-conference win would serve the SEC, and thus Georgia, pretty well.
2 p.m.: St. Mary’s at Vanderbilt: Here’s another mid-season non-conference game, and one with sneaky NCAA implications. St. Mary’s is No. 22 in the AP poll.
3 p.m.: Temple at Xavier: Both teams will have been UGA opponents by the end of the season. Xavier (12-5, No. 27 in the RPI) is in slightly better position than Temple (13-4, 37 in the RPI) but they’re both probably NCAA teams.
6 p.m.: Kentucky at South Carolina: This one should decide whether the Gamecocks are really going to make this a six-team race in the East. Although, we are starting to wonder about Florida.
7 p.m.: Notre Dame (former UGA opponent) vs. Marquette. The Fighting Irish are No. 10 in the RPI.
7 p.m.: UAB (former UGA opponent) vs. Memphis. UAB has been sitting around No. 50 in the RPI for awhile. Georgia wants the Blazers to win as much as possible and remain a top 50 win, because it’s only other one right now is against Kentucky.
8 p.m.: Arkansas at Florida: I’m really trying to figure out the Gators, who have a good record (14-4) and RPI (19). But boy, did they look terrible against South Carolina and Auburn. Billy Donovan’s team visits Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday.