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 Rivals.com.
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.