If Georgia is to finish with a .500 record in SEC play, it will need to win its final three games of the regular season.
With a 66-57 loss at South Carolina, the Bulldogs (15-12 overall) have fallen to 6-9 in the conference. Earlier this season, Georgia head coach Mark Fox said an SEC team that finishes 9-9 in the conference should be able to get in the NCAA Tournament.
For Georgia, there is no margin for error with that standard in mind. Fox still believes an SEC team would have a “great chance” at an NCAA bid at 9-9 in SEC play. But like he has the past two seasons, Fox said he isn’t sure what the NCAA Tournament selection committee will be looking for once conference tournaments are wrapped up.
“We have no idea what’s important,” Fox said. “It’s the ever-moving target. A year ago, it was quality wins. You’ve got to have quality wins. We didn’t have enough top-50 wins or whatever. Now it’s about these quadrants and if you can get Quadrant 1, Quadrant 2 wins, or whatever.”
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Following the loss, Georgia is now the No. 69 team in the RPI, despite having a combined nine Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 victories. Some of that has to do with a combination of losses to Massachusetts (RPI No. 220 entering Wednesday), Vanderbilt (RPI No. 111) and San Diego State (RPI No. 110). Some of that also has to do with having a non-conference schedule that, even with games against Marquette, Kansas State, Saint Mary’s and Temple slated, ranks 179th nationally.
Fox does think his non-conference schedule, despite the RPI ranking, was strong based on a few of the opponents they played earlier this year.
“If you really take and look at some of these teams, do they even schedule themselves to give them a chance to get Quadrant 1, Quadrant 2 wins, or are they just trying to tally up Ws?” Fox said. “In this league, we demanded everybody play up in a hard non-conference schedule so there are no easy games, no chance to catch your breath.”