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Friday: Georgia vs. Kentucky and the NCAA bubble

sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

Look, I'll synthesize my thoughts on where things stand very quickly:

  • Win today, and I believe Georgia is in the tournament, barring a bunch of upsets elsewhere.
  • Lose, and the Bulldogs are probably out, barring a break from the committee.

If you don't want to take my word for it, I checked with bracketologist Shelby Mast of USA Today, who has Georgia as his second team out as of Friday morning. Mast has consistently been higher on Georgia's chances than other major analysts. I asked him why:

"For me, overall strength of schedule and non-conference is solid, only one 'bad' loss, lots of close games," Mast said. "Just wondering how the committee will value those, clock game vs TAMU might be a factor. Good amount of 51-100 wins too."

Georgia's RPI rank is 50 as of Friday morning. It likely wouldn't take a big hit with a loss to Kentucky. But at this point even a close loss to Kentucky will just reinforce Georgia's current resume. If you believe the national experts, the Bulldogs need today to change that and get in the field.

We'll see if they can do it. Check here for regular updates and analysis.



  • SavageDawg17SavageDawg17 Posts: 1,535 mod

    Thanks for the updates @sethemerson ! Go Dawgs!

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Just got to the arena. There's a lot of talk here about Georgia deserving to be in better shape than it's considered. For instance, Illinois and Syracuse being ahead of Georgia doesn't seem to add up. You could throw in Iowa too. My feeling is that Joe Lunardi, Jerry Palm, Stewart Mandel and other national people aren't talking more about Georgia because, well, it's Georgia, not a marquee basketball program, and hasn't done anything in terms of a big win to get their attention.

    If Georgia pulls off the upset today, I think that'll change, and you'll suddenly hear a lot of people saying that Georgia has made the field. Much like Kansas State did that last night by beating Baylor.

    But Georgia beating Kentucky will be a tough, tough task today. I think the Bulldogs got a bad draw that way; Florida and South Carolina looked more vulnerable, while Kentucky is starting to peak. If Georgia had been able to face Florida or South Carolina, I think the chances would've been much greater of an upset and thus that marquee win the team badly needed.

    As you can tell, I'm not predicting a Georgia win today. Reading the tea leaves, I'm preparing for a home NIT game next week. Not necessarily what I'd want: Covering the NCAA tournament would be fun.

    But here's what Georgia has going for it: Unlike Illinois, Syracuse, Iowa and many other bubble teams, the Bulldogs are still playing. They have a chance to play their way in today.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Checking in from courtside as Georgia begins warming up. Don't have definite starting lineups yet. I'd be surprised if Maten isn't in it, probably in Wilridge's place, but wouldn't be shocked either if Maten comes off the bench again.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Yante Maten is starting, but not in place of Wilridge. Turtle Jackson hits the bench and Georgia goes big:


  • amjadawgsamjadawgs Posts: 1,546 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Can't speak for others, but I'm at work, so I won't be able to watch the game. We have beaten them before when we weren't supposed to. It could happen. Go DAWGS!

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior
  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Neither team hit rim on a combined five possessions to start the game - then Kentucky did on an alley-oop. for the game's first basket.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Bad start for Georgia, which has committed three turnovers and isn't getting clean looks for its stars - except an open 3 on the break just now for Frazier. But it went in and out. Frazier is being hounded by Kentucky's much taller perimeter players, while its post defenders are keeping Yante Maten from getting position.

    Kentucky, meanwhile, with a pair of 3s to take an 8-2 lead.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Just watching courtside and contrasting with Tennessee, it's such a contrast. Kentucky is so much taller and athletic, on both ends of the floor. And it plays hard too, especially on defense, while being patient on offense.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    I was just wondering how much Crump would play today, and here he checks in at 13:36. Georgia is 0-for-3 beyond the arc so far, and needs to do something to loosen up Kentucky's half-court defense.

    Crump promptly misses an open 3 at the top of the key. Just not happening for Georgia, at least early on.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    No Frazier, no Maten in the game either for Georgia, down 7 early. Interesting risk by Mark Fox.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Well, Georgia started fast and still ended up losing to Kentucky in last year's tournament, so maybe the Bulldogs are just trying something different.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    I still really like Pape Diatta's game. He's unafraid and aggressive shooting. Sometimes he gets too assertive, but sometimes this team needs that.

  • superblackeaglesuperblackeagle Posts: 303 ✭✭✭ Junior

    I envy your positive attitude, but that is a pipe dream.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    J.J. Frazier finally made a 3. But it was well after the shot clock had expired, and he remains scoreless with eight minutes left in the first half.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Oof. There have been a few plays here where Georgia has just been manhandled around the basket, the latest on Juwan Parker's drive, his shot just grabbed and stuffed out of the air.

    There's a lot of frustration evident for Georgia right now, with nothing coming easy.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Georgia's now down 13. The Bulldogs have had as hard a time getting off shots as I can remember this season, and Kentucky isn't missing 3: Its 4-for-5 beyond the arc.

  • jburdenjburden Posts: 3 ✭ Freshman

    Kentucky is shooting better from 3-pt than we are from the free throw line, much less the field. Yikes.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior
    edited March 2017

    Frazier's first points finally come at the 4:16 mark, on a pull-up jumper on the break. Georgia still trails 27-18.

    And then Frazier's runner, which would've made it a seven-point game, rims out.

  • sethemersonsethemerson Posts: 686 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    @jburden said:
    Kentucky is shooting better from 3-pt than we are from the free throw line, much less the field. Yikes.

    Yup, that pretty much sums it up. And Georgia is getting to the foul line, thanks to a foul disparity in its favor. And yet still down 9.

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