Georgia will hope Saturday’s loss against Texas A&M doesn’t haunt it in the long run.
The Bulldogs had the game all but wrapped up with two minutes to go. All they needed to do was get the ball up the court, run some time and hit their free throws. But the Aggies used an aggressive 1-2-2 fullcourt press that forced four consecutive turnovers and completely flipped the game from being a Georgia-controlled to a win into a stunning loss.
And that doesn’t consider the fact Georgia has a legitimate argument that a clock malfunction took a chance away to still win the game.
It remains to be seen if this loss will hurt the Bulldogs. Who knows — Texas A&M does have an intriguing inside-outside game with D.J. Hogg on the perimeter and Tyler Davis inside. And then Robert Williams is another big presence who gave Georgia all sorts of trouble down the stretch of the game. Given what happened, Georgia will want Texas A&M to make a run to lessen the blow of this loss.
Never miss a local story.
All that stated, there are still plenty of games to be played and opportunities to be had to secure signature victories. But Georgia, sitting tied for fifth in the SEC at the moment, will want to turn the heat up sooner rather than later.
ESPN BPI: 67
Team record: 12-7 overall, 4-3 SEC
Non-conference strength of schedule: 34
Overall strength of schedule: 31
Record vs. RPI 1-50: 1-4
Record vs. RPI 50-100: 4-2
Record vs. RPI 101-200: 3-1
CBSSports.com conference RPI rankings: 1. ACC, 2. Big East, 3. Big 12, 4. Big Ten, 5. SEC, 6. Pac-12, 7. Atlantic 10, 8. American Athletic, 9. West Coast, 10. Mountain West
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi: Lunardi dropped the Bulldogs in his latest bracket projection, making them the third team on the other side of the field in his “First Four Out” group. Georgia joins Clemson (a team it lost to in the season opener), Rhode Island and California in this category. Marquette, a team that beat Georgia, is now considered one of Lundari’s “Last Four In” teams. As for the SEC, Lunardi has Kentucky (No. 1 seed), Florida (No. 6 seed), South Carolina (No. 7 seed) and Arkansas (No. 9 seed) in at the moment.
CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm: Palm does not have Georgia in consideration at the moment. His “First Four Out” at this time are Miami, N.C. State, Memphis and Clemson. Palm, like Lunardi, has four SEC teams in the big dance at the moment – Kentucky (No. 2 seed), Florida (No. 7 seed), South Carolina (No. 7 seed) and Arkansas (No. 10 seed).
Current state of affairs
Last 10 games: 6-4
Wins that help: Georgia’s lone top-50 win at the moment was an impressive 69-47 win over Mississippi, which ranks 46th in the RPI. Georgia’s victory over Vanderbilt helps following the Commodores’ upset over Florida. Vanderbilt has since moved up to No. 58 in the RPI. Vanderbilt is also now No. 60 in KenPom and No. 66 in Sagarin.
Losses that hurt: Georgia’s worst loss at the moment may not hurt too much in the selection committee’s eyes when it’s all said and done. The Bulldogs lost a road game to Oakland, which has an RPI No. 132. But Oakland could very well be an NCAA Tournament team out of the Horizon League. While the Aggies have a No. 98 RPI, KenPom ranks them No. 63 and Sagarin has them No. 61.
A look around the SEC: Six teams are in the RPI top 50 — Kentucky (3), Florida (11), South Carolina (20), Arkansas (33), Georgia (45) and Mississippi (46). Vanderbilt is No. 58, Tennessee is No. 61 and Auburn is No. 70. Case in point, there are still opportunities out there for Georgia to pick up key victories.
What Georgia needs to do this week: After losing to Texas A&M, Georgia can’t afford to drop either of its next two games. The Bulldogs’ strength of schedule will take a hit as a result of this week’s slate of games. Therefore, wins are needed to counteract it. This is compounded by the fact Georgia’s three games after are against Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida.