Believe it or not, Georgia's NCAA tournament hopes aren't as bleak as they may seem right now.
That doesn't mean the situation is good, however.
Georgia's RPI rank is now 42, per CBSsports.com, a drop of 20 spots in five days, thanks to the embarrassing home losses to Auburn and then South Carolina.
And yet Georgia still hasn't fallen far in at least one updated bracket projection: The Bulldogs are still a No. 9 seed as of Wednesday, according to Patrick Stevens of Syracuse.com. (You probably haven't heard of Stevens, but he has a very good recent track record of nailing the bracket on selection Sunday.) Here's what Stevens wrote here on Wednesday:
Georgia: The Bulldogs (16-9, 7-6 SEC) apparently are interested in tempting fate. That, or they aren't as good as their profile and it's starting to catch up to them. Georgia followed up its loss to Auburn at home with a loss to South Carolina at home. That's also the second time this year the Bulldogs fell to the Gamecocks (13-12, 4-9).
That second sentence is really the key right now: Is Georgia the same team that built up the pre-Auburn profile, or is it closer to what we've seen the past two games?
As Stevens notes, Georgia's profile is still barely tournament-worthy: 2-3 vs. the RPI top 50 (wins over Texas A&M and Ole Miss), 5-7 against the top 100, just two losses to teams outside the RPI top 100. (Auburn and Georgia Tech. But it becomes four such losses if South Carolina, currently ranked 86, goes back to struggling.)
So essentially Georgia has just as many "good wins" as "bad losses" right now. It's not overwhelmingly good, but remember that four years ago when Georgia got an at-large bid it had a 5-10 record vs. the RPI top 100 and an RPI rank of 45. Another good point in Georgia's favor this year is its 5-4 mark in true road games, which the selection committee looks at.
I do suspect that further bracket projections, not out as of this writing, will not be as kind to Georgia. But it's still fair to remember that no team's NCAA bid operates in its own vacuum. Georgia may be struggling, but so are some other bubble teams.
The problem for Georgia, as I see it today, is the schedule: Three of its remaining regular-season games are away from home, and one of the two home games is against No. 1 Kentucky. That means there's opportunity - winning at Ole Miss next week would be big too - but with the way the Bulldogs are playing right now, they're not giving much confidence that they can get the wins they need to get back on track.
We could go through the final five games and say Georgia has to do such and such in order to get in, but the bottom line is the Bulldogs just have to play better. If they were good enough to win at Texas A&M, they're good enough to win at Alabama, Auburn and even Ole Miss. They need to get J.J. Frazier and Juwan Parker back as soon as possible, but they also have to get Marcus Thornton back to his pre-concussion self.
It's reaching desperation time for the Bulldogs, and they need to play like a desperate team. That's what they did in the second half against South Carolina. But the fact they didn't in the first half, or most of the game against Auburn, is the reason their season is on the brink now.