Pre-Fiasco follies: Kentucky, UGA, Georgia State and … Emory?

Could Georgia be the team that topples unbeaten UK? (James Crisp/AP photo)

Could Georgia be the team that topples unbeaten UK? (James Crisp/AP photo)

Could Georgia be the team that topples unbeaten UK? (James Crisp/AP photo)

Could Georgia be the team that topples unbeaten UK? (James Crisp/AP photo)

Over the next few weeks, we’ll offer a countdown to the 28th annual edition of Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco. (And they said it wouldn’t last.) Selection Sunday is March 15, and our contest will be up and running that night.

The ACC tournament will again be in Greensboro before moving next year to Washington D.C. and then, in 2017, to that Tobacco Road bastion of Brooklyn, N.Y. The SEC tournament shifts to Nashville for the start of a three-year run. The Sun Belt tournament, which is a big deal to two Georgia schools, will again be staged at New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena.

The Final Four is in Indianapolis over Easter weekend. I’m scheduled to go, and this would mark my third consecutive Easter in Indy. (In 2013 and 2014, post-Mass lunch was taken at the Steak ‘n Shake on West Maryland.) But enough logistics. On with the show.

Question 1: Will Kentucky lose? I say yes. The most dangerous remaining regular-season game will come March 3 in Athens against a pretty good Georgia team that played the Wildcats tough in Rupp Arena even without Marcus Thornton. If not there, it would be no great surprise if Kentucky was beaten in the SEC tournament. Two of the Wildcats’ past three national champions (in 1996 and 2012) suffered one of their two losses in the SEC final. And the SEC, as has been noted, has gotten halfway decent.

Question 2: Will Kentucky win it all? Yes. Three teams could give the Wildcats a run in the NCAA tournament — Wisconsin, Arizona and Duke — but let’s face it: Kentucky is so loaded it will have to have a really bad night to lose. The loss of second-leading scorer Justin Anderson doesn’t help Virginia, which by design doesn’t score much. (Anderson broke his finger Feb. 9 and was projected to miss four to six weeks.)

Question 3: Will Georgia make the Big Dance? Yes. Even after Saturday’s flop against Auburn, the Bulldogs have an RPI of 30, which is good enough to make the field of 68 as an at-large entry. (Beyond 40 is when things get dicey.) Four of Georgia’s six remaining regular-season games are against teams that are sub-.500 in league play — though two of the four (South Carolina and Auburn) have already beaten the Bulldogs. Win three of those four and Georgia is no worse than 19-11 headed to the SEC tournament. Upset Kentucky on March 3 and the case is closed.

Question 4: Who’ll win the Sun Belt? Georgia State, which was 17-1 in league play a year ago, was favored to repeat as regular-season champ, but the Panthers haven’t been quite as good as advertised. They’re third in the conference, a game behind Georgia Southern and 1 1/2 games behind UL Monroe. But the Atlanta-based GSU has four soft games upcoming before closing against Monroe there and Georgia Southern here. The Panthers should still prevail, though they learned a year ago that, for a mid-major, a regular-season title rings hollow if you waste a late lead and lose the tournament final in overtime.

Question 5: Who’s the best local team you’ve never seen? The Emory Eagles are 17-5 and tied for the lead in the University Athletic Association. As of last week, they were 20th in the NCAA’s Division III rankings. Emory reached the Elite Eight of the D3 tournament last season and will surely land in the Little Big Dance again. And say this for the Eagles, who are coached by Jason Zimmerman: They can score. They average 80.5 points a game. (Georgia Tech, by way of contrast, averages 64.4, albeit at a different level.)

Question 6: Speaking of Tech, will Brian Gregory get fired? I’m guessing no. Tech paid Paul Hewitt $7 million to leave in 2011, and the Institute doesn’t want to buy out another coach so soon. Gregory isn’t making quite what Hewitt was — he is making $1.075 million per season, though — and has three years remaining on his contract, as opposed to Hewitt’s always-rolling-over five, but still: I’m thinking Mike Bobinski bets on continuity. Me, I don’t know that things are going to get much better than they are, and where they are is 13th-best in a 15-team conference.

Reader Comments 3

37 comments
Gordon82
Gordon82

Tech's buyout of Gregory is only about $600K, not $3MM as Bradley implied.  Also, Tech will have 5 spots to recruit for 2016, which would allow a new coach to build a roster quickly.  


Gregory will not survive.

crackbaby
crackbaby

@Gordon82 Seriously?  Even with the recently signed extension?  If that's the case then maybe MBob is smarter than he sounds.
Can somebody verify the buyout (Mr. Bradley)?

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@crackbaby @Gordon82 Gordon is correct.  Buy out is $650K.  Money, or saving some, should not be an issue.  GT Admin & AD need to determine if they are going to be serious about MBB and step up to compete which means spending $ on a new coach.  It will happen.  The fact that GT is not even in the discussion about post season BB is a travesty.

GT71
GT71

Donde esta numero quatro?


Asked another way:  if you are going to waste time writing numbered pablum, at least get your counting house in order.

Insertion of #4 would make room for another ad and perhaps a ballet pop-up that wont go away...or another way to make the 'Sports' page jump to the 'Front Page' incessantly in this, the nations' nadir in publishing...even in the 'Fish Wrapper' category.

HotDawg
HotDawg

They're beat up right now. 

Get healthy and get back on the winning track.

Won enough to show they're a good team.

People just like to kick others when their down. 

They'll play better. 

It's a long season.


Big Wally
Big Wally

....and this is how they show up after the Auburn debacle?  Fox shouldn't have a job in the morning.  Send the bum packing.

cadet4life
cadet4life

CMF , how about do all of us a favor, and not sign your new contract-- YOU have to be embarassed with the coaching and the team you put on the floor.

Big Wally
Big Wally

This team is horribly coached.  Their offensive set is to dribble til there is 5 seconds left on the shot clock then someone go one on one and hope that something good happens.  Seen better coaching at the Middle School level.

cadet4life
cadet4life

How do you not have your TEAM ready to play at home the last 2 games. No more Mcgarity , until you can give us a coach that can recruit quality GA players

buick59
buick59

don't worry Mark Fox....in spite of choking all over the place you'll get an extension and a raise...it's the Ga way. but no NCAA invite...sorry.

Big Wally
Big Wally

McGarity show some manhood for once.  Get rid of this idiot Fox.  

zonadawg61
zonadawg61

Add can't hit a layup, can't hit a free throw, and don't know how to block out. The NCAA Tournament Committee shouldn't waste a spot for this crappy team.


Fox must be one heck of a motivator.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Fox proved he was an idiot the first week on the job, when he stiffed Daniel Miller.  The same Miller who started at Tech and is now playing professional ball in Europe.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Fire that POS garbage coach right now.  

oldbirddawg
oldbirddawg

Let's see, back to back losses at home to two of the worst teams in the conference. Yeah, I see us beating Kentucky for sure.


zonadawg61
zonadawg61

I don't get all the optimism and excitement about UGA basketball. They stink. They have THE most unimaginative offense, which explains the poor shot selection. I've already seen 3 air balls on 3 pointers and the game still has 10 minutes to go. They also have no clue how to play defense. They stand about 10 feet away from their man... did Fox tell them they aren't allowed to defend beyond the 3 point line? If they somehow luck out and make the NCAA tourney, they'll be a one and done team. If I had to describe UGA basketball in a few words, I'd say to a man they have extremely poor basketball IQ.

cadet4life
cadet4life

If they lose to a SC team that has much less talent, There HAS to be a coaching change. CMF cannot recruit, and if you're watching this game, HE is not getting the potential out of any of his players. At what point do you just say it has to be the recruiting. We are UGA and we should not selttle-----------

DawgNole
DawgNole

Upset Kentucky?

They're in the process of losing to two of the SEC's worst teams.

Yeah, right.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Bobinski knows what a major college basketball coach looks like and acts like - during his time at Xavier he saw Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser, Thad Matta and Sean Miller.  He watched Xavier go to the Sweet 16 4 out of the 6 years he was AD - and he hired Chris Mack, the current coach, when Sean Miller left to go to Arizona. 

It's 50:50 on whether CBG makes it past this year.

Rabun Dawg
Rabun Dawg

DoubleDawg, I agree with your comment. UGA loses to USC East tonight and one more to a mediocre Alabama or Auburn, they are toast. The two losses to those bottom feeders is evidence that this team can lose a game to anyone. And congrats to Tech. They whipped a pretty good Clemson team, but surely have their work cut out for them with the rest of their schedule. But, hey, the Heels are not all that great either. Good luck to both teams, and the two GSUs. The state needs someone to step up and be a force on the national stage. Maybe Emory?

Runner508
Runner508

Is Question 4 premium content?

Wilbo
Wilbo

So, the NCAA Tourney is an excuse for our idiot homer blogger to write another inane boring stupid corny article and post it on this useless piece of trash on-line paper.


Oh boy. 

HeyThere
HeyThere

Georgia State homer! Georgia Southern's talented team returns to the dance this year.

ImaNitwit
ImaNitwit

Other than the one season that Cal had Anthony Davis, he has consistently lost to a less talented team in March. And he was a failure in the NBA. Don't understand the Calipari hype. 

BobDawg
BobDawg

What I like about Fox is we have stayed the course and gotten steady improvement each year. We now have some depth and even more is coming next year… Hopefully Fox can make this a destination job after all…. 

As far as Gregory, he came from Dayton which has been winning and still wins  and has a built in feeder pipeline there. If you can't get the players to come to the ATL(or stay in the ATL) and coach 'em up then there is a problem…. 

GTBob
GTBob

I see no way possible that Gregory is the coach at GT next year. If you believe he will be then you have no pulse on the GT fan base right now.

Also, kudos to UGA as they will probably make it in. It is somewhat humorous though that the 2nd best team in the SEC can't beat the worst team in the ACC. You guys really are a one team wrecking crew over there.

sliderule
sliderule

@GTBob The first possible way is that GT wins out.  I guarantee Gregory will be retained. :)  The second way is the Jackets continue to play well and win a few more and win a game or two in the tournament.  I myself vacillate depending on the last game played.  They do play hard and I think with good defense. 

BobDawg
BobDawg

@GTBob I always like your comments… but , maybe we move the Dawgs/Bugs game to later in the season and see how we fare…. We play each other so early that it is no gauge on the rest of the season…. 

DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@GTBob We are currently the 6th place team in the SEC and have lost to 2 of the bottom 3 SEC teams.  Overall we are an ok team but have proven we can lose to bad teams. 

GTBob
GTBob

@BobDawg Having the game earlier in the season was an advantage for you guys. Half of our team are transfers or freshmen who never played a game together. 

GTBob
GTBob

@sliderule Our remaining schedule is UNC, Louisville, Clemson, and UNC again. Im not seeing a few wins in that group. Our team does play hard but there is a reason we are 3-11 in the ACC and 0-8 in games decided by 5 points or less.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Pre-Fiasco follies: Kentucky, UGA, Georgia State and … Emory? […]

  2. […] was just the other day — heck, it was just yesterday — that some guy — OK, this guy — was saying the Georgia Bulldogs were still in […]

  3. […] Georgia Tech about to change coaches? In this space three weeks ago, I guessed that Brian Gregory wouldn’t get fired after this season. I’ve since changed my guess. I think the events of those three weeks — Tech has lost […]