Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hoop Dawgs, and "What If"

With Georgia's dominating performance over then #8 Tennessee in Athens over the weekend, the Bulldogs climbed back over .500 at 9-8. Interestingly, 9-8 was the last time Georgia would sniff a winning record last season, which proved to be Dennis Felton's last. The Dawgs would go on to lose 7 in a row after being 9-8 (they had already lost 4 in a row to fall to that record). While it's easy to harp on the narrow losses for Georgia early in SEC play and ask "what if they'd just managed to pull a couple of those out," there's reason to ask, "what if the Dawgs can put together a nice little run over the final 12 games and make the Tournament?"

Georgia is obviously not ready to be counted amongst the Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, etc. type teams, but they've already proven they can play with that caliber of team. Georgia currently ranks 68th nationally in the RPI, which is very heavily utilized in selecting non-automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Tournament. Their strength of schedule ranks as high as 4th according to some formulas, and with the SEC looking a bit tougher than it did earlier in the year, that number doesn't figure to drop too far throughout the season.

So, I ask, "What if?"

What if Georgia can go, say, 8-4 to finish out the SEC schedule? Well, you'd then have a Bulldog squad that finishes at 17-12, and a 9-7 SEC record, again, with one of the toughest overall schedules in the country (that is going to be key). In that scenario, the Dawgs would likely have to make a strong showing in the SEC tournament to get a bid.

What if Georgia can go, say, 9-3 to finish out the SEC schedule? This would certainly not be easy, but with Georgia's toughest games seemingly being a home game against Kentucky, and road games at Florida, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt, then winning one of those and taking care of business for the rest would at least be fathomable, however unlikely. Ending up at 18-11 (10-6), and maybe winning at least one game in the SEC tournament, I think, would get Georgia in.

Don't get me wrong, this is extremely premature, and though the Dawgs have played some very good teams right down to the wire, they are still just 1-3 over their last four. However, Georgia already has two victories that are more impressive than any they had last year, and bigger and better things appear to be on the horizon.

With Georgia's strength of schedule, this team has been battle-tested, and a climb up the RPI could be in their future.

Now, just gotta go beat the Gators in Gainesville...

No comments:

Post a Comment