Two awful losses put UGA on the highway to the danger zone

Mark Fox is not pleased. (AP photo/Athens Banner-Herald/
Al Reynolds.)

Mark Fox is not pleased. (AP photo/Athens Banner-Herald/
Al Reynolds.)

Mark Fox is not pleased. (AP photo/Athens Banner-Herald/ Al Reynolds.)

Mark Fox is not pleased. (AP photo/Athens Banner-Herald/AJ Reynolds.)

It was just the other day — heck, it was just yesterday — that some guy — OK, this guy — was saying the Georgia Bulldogs were still in good stead, NCAA tournament-wise. After further review …

The Georgia Bulldogs aren’t in good stead. They’re in decent stead, but at the rate they’re dropping they could play their way into the NIT, which would be a major reversal.

On Feb. 7, the Bulldogs’ RPI was 24. They beat Tennessee that day and then won at Texas A&M to nose up to 20. Then then lost at home to Auburn, the SEC’s second-worst team, and saw their RPI number slide to 30. Last night they fell, again at home, to South Carolina, which is the league’s third-worst team. Their RPI is now 40, which means it has doubled in the span of four days.

Rule of thumb: You don’t want your RPI doubling in February.

To borrow from “Better Call Saul,” which was borrowing from a song from “Top Gun,” Georgia is on a highway to the danger zone. Five regular-season games remain: Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn on the road; Kentucky and Missouri at home. If the Bulldogs go 1-4 in those and the “1” isn’t Kentucky, they could well miss the Big Dance.

Reality check: Georgia isn’t apt to go 1-4 over these next five games. It will almost certainly beat Missouri, which is the SEC’s doormat, and should beat Auburn. (I know. The Bulldogs should have beaten Auburn on Saturday but didn’t.) Ole Miss in Oxford won’t be easy. Kentucky will be a long shot.

The swing game on Georgia’s schedule is, conveniently, the next one — Alabama in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday. Bama isn’t anything special and, with an RPI of 69, will provide no numerical boost should the Bulldogs win. But another loss would hurt badly. It would mean the Bulldogs had lost five of seven at time you shouldn’t be losing five of seven.

When I saw the Bulldogs against Tennessee, I was under the impression that they weren’t any better than they were at this time a year ago. Difference was, they hadn’t gone 6-6 in non-conference play. They’d gone 9-3 against an upgraded schedule, which is why their RPI was so impressive. Having dipped to 7-6 in the SEC, it’s less impressive.

Even with the emergence of Marcus Thornton, this remains a drive-and-kick — mostly a drive-and-get-fouled — team. Mark Fox’s adoption of this offense caught SEC teams by surprise last season, but the novelty has faded. Teams are making the Bulldogs beat them from the perimeter, and it wasn’t until J.J. Frazier hit three late treys over the Tennessee zone that what Fox called “a quality win” was assured.

But the bigger problem is focus, which should be a given: Three days after falling behind Auburn 14-6, Georgia fell behind South Carolina 34-13. Both games were at home against opponents that have no NCAA tournament chance, and there’s no way these Bulldogs should be bored: Only Thornton was around in 2010-11, the only time Georgia has made the Big Dance under Fox.

A week, another such trip figured to be a fait accompli. Two unthinkable home losses have changed the dynamics. Nothing is assured now.

Reader Comments 0

74 comments
GrantD
GrantD

Geez - you speak of South Carolina being the "third" worst team in the league with Auburn being the "second" worst team yet both of these beat UGA regardless of records or rankings. Just as in football, it's always something yet that "something" isn't a Championship. Why can a spade not be called a spade? UGA simply has not the combination of coaching and talent necessary to win consistently and, more importantly, win at the right time.

CaliDawg
CaliDawg

Decades of disappointment...that's Georgia basketball. As long as it's profitable, there will never be any improvement needed from thi$ Athletic Department. However, I'm sure they're looking for the next "up and comer" (AKA cheap hire from a small school) that may do well enough to use UGA as a stepping stone to a real school for a real HC position. This program lost me the day Vince Dooley held up a 5 year old kid's drawing and letter asking him to hire Ron Jirsa as the UGA basketball head coach. He actually had the balls and stupidity to hold it up at a presser and say "this is what helped me make the decision". UGA basketball became a full joke then, and it's still a joke now...as the talent in Atlanta continues to flow out to other schools. When your most loyal fan base is called Sweater "guy", that pretty much sums it up.   

Get The Picture
Get The Picture

Team plays hard but very few nights does the offense come thru, poor shooting from the floor and the ft line.

Dawggie
Dawggie

Fox's BB Dawgs team has taken a page from Richt's FB Dawgs team's '14 season - being talented enough to beat some quality opponents with ease, but looking equally inept and unprepared when the big prize was right in front of them.  With a SECCG appearance in hand, the FB team gives it away with a beatdown from a laughably poor Gator team with a lame-duck HC.  With a Big Dance bid in hand, the BB team gives it away with 2 losses to the same pathetic SC team.

And to think the leaders of both teams' collapses have contract extensions (Fox will surely "find the time" to sign his contract after the looming loss to Bama).

UGA.  Where "coming close" can make a HC a multi-millionaire . . . 

hipdawg
hipdawg

@Dawggie  I agree w/ your points.It is very frustrating but true.The bigger the moment the bigger the flop.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@hipdawg @Dawggie You guys better be careful.................you will be labeled Techies, or bugs, or gnats, or nerds, or just a troll................speaking against the G is BLASPHEMY!!!!!

Dawggie
Dawggie

@TOJacket @hipdawg @Dawggie  Never have, never will "speak against the G, only its leaders. 

A team, any team, will only reach heights that its leader can take it.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Dawggie @TOJacket @hipdawg Very true!..................but the koolaide gang will be calling you a troll...........or maybe just not a "True dawg fan"

GT71
GT71

It is quite an accomplishment to even be discussing the 'dance' for UGA after the way they started.  I mean, they lost to a Ga Tech team everyone beats.

They really must beat one away team and win the homer not named KY.

Good luck - you're the State's only hope.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@GT71 The Foxhounds will pull it out................maybe.

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

Finishing up 3-2 (19-11 regular season, 10-8 in SEC) should be good enough. A tourney win would just be icing on the cake and help a little with seeding. Anything less than 3-2 means that the Dawgs will require a win or two in the SEC tourney. If the Dawgs play good basketball, they should win four of their last five and make it easy for the Selection Committee.

swimfin2
swimfin2

Huh? You wrote that an rpi beyond 40 is "dicey" yesterday. Today ga is at 40. Then you say they can still make the tourney going 1-4??? 1-4 against those crap teams would get the rpi over 60 at least. Talk about contradicting. Finishing 8-10 in the awful sec should never get any team in the ncaa tour

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

It is embarrassing the UGA cannot have a quality team long term. It can be done. The talent in this state is enormous. Just have to have the right coach. Fox is not it.

DawgNole
DawgNole

MB: ". . . at the rate they’re dropping they could play their way into the NIT . . . ."

__________________

Hell, at the rate they're dropping, they could play their way OUT of the NIT.

777-9311
777-9311

It shouldn't take 30 seconds to get into your offensive set and then have 5 seconds to get a shot off. Fox needs to ditch that ole man, high ball screen set of his and go uptempo. When UGA was behind, they go out and ran. As soon as the game was tied at 51, you saw the guards dribble until Mann had to try and create a shot which he missed.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

As a Jacket fan, you guys represent the only chance this GREAT Basketball state has of going to the Big Dance. We suck, so its up to you. "Help us Obie Wan, you're our only hope!"

GTBoro
GTBoro

@Iluvnutella I'm a Jacket, too.  But I think Georgia State has a pretty good shot.  Still, I like Fox and think he's a good coach.  I can't quite say "Go Dawgs" but I can pull for them the rest of the way.

Rawmilkdrinker
Rawmilkdrinker

So it's the facility that wins games and not the players on the court? Guess that logic means the Falcons will tap the Super Bowl every year for a while after the new Blank Shanty is finished.

DiehardDawg
DiehardDawg

I thought they were talking about football.

cadet4life
cadet4life

TampGator1 is abssolutely dillusional. Do you work in the Athletic Office? The guy has had 6 years to put a winner on the court and cant because he is a horrible recruiter. Believe me, there are many D-1 basketball coaches that would love to be in Athens. All they have to do is come down to Souteast GA. and have their pick of tremendous D-! TALENT.

Rabun Dawg
Rabun Dawg

Missing free throws are killing this team, among other things(no pure shooter to go to when needed,Mann streaky). Free throws are what they are, free points with the clock stopped, and this team missed 9 last night, which was more than the difference in that game.Getting behind 19-4 surely did not help either, but unless this bunch pulls off a couple of miracles such as winning in Tuscaloosa, Oxford, and Auburn and KY at home, they are NIT bound at best. Me thinks Fox not a bad coach, just not very good talent on the floor as usual for UGA basketball. Not sure any of these guys could play for a Duke, UK, or the like. JMHO

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Rabun Dawg

Getting behind 19-4?

Somehow, I think getting behind 24-6 was more of a factor.

HotDawg
HotDawg

They'll get healthy and make the NCAA tourney.

Nothing like a couple losses to bring the nutcases out.

Where were they when the team was playing well? 

Were they praising them? No. They only come out when things aren't going so well. In full force trash mode.

HotDawg
HotDawg

They're heading towards the danger zone?

Maverick and Goose will save them.

JM64
JM64

Not really important for this team to make the NCAAs, Fox has a good reputation in the athletic association.  He'll be there for several more years.

ImaNitwit
ImaNitwit

Coach Cal-loser every year of his career to a less talented team in March other than the one season he had Anthony Davis. Coach Cal-total failure in the NBA. Case closed.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

Fox has got to kill those pleated slacks.   Oof.

HotDawg
HotDawg

@GeorgeStein

A man shouldn't be eyeing or worrying about another man's wardrobe. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@HotDawg @GeorgeStein It's not George's fault the rest of us losers don't keep up with the latest styles................HD, you must not buy your own clothes?

KingHusseinObama
KingHusseinObama

I think it's that SEC speed and SEC defense. The SEC eat's their own. Oh wait, that's football...or is it?!?


WHO RUNS THIS STATE?!?

Adam007
Adam007

How does a team this bad beat Texas A&M ( who took Kentucky to 2 overtimes) and Ole Miss (who took Kentucky to overtime in Lexington) ?

GTBob
GTBob

@Adam007 Ole Miss and Texas A&M aren't exactly world beaters. Everybody is going to give their best effort against Kentucky. Just coming close to beating them isn't really an accomplishment.

BulldogBen
BulldogBen

Absolutely brutal. This is Fox's 6th season. The culture should be in place by now if was going to be. If he is the man to bring the program in from the wilderness, we shouldn't be losing back to back games to terrible teams 10 days from March. I believe we need to go 4-1 down the stretch AND win a couple tourney games to get in. The SEC is terrible this year and I wouldn't be shocked if we only got 3 teams in the tournament which would put UGA on the outside looking in.


More than anything, this program needs stability. Firing coaches every 5 years doesn't give you that. Still, if they miss the tournament this year, sadly, the heat will be on again. How long must fans wait for consistent success?


Maybe at some point, the university will commit to having a first rate hoops program instead of spending 3 million to upgrade Sky Boxes.



TampGator1
TampGator1

@BulldogBen 


Georgia will not find a better basketball coach than Fox......at least one they can hire to come to Athens. One of Georgia's major problems is their horrible basketball facility.  They need to tear that place down and build anew if they ever want to improve the basketball program to compete nationally for players and titles.  Fox is not the problem.  He is an outstanding basketball coach and Georgia fans would be nuts to want him gone.  Billy D. is having a tough year with the Gators (rare thing for him) and Florida is putting 30 million into a total remodel of the O'Connell Center (the basketball facility) because they want to remain a national power in basketball.....and that is required to do so (as well as build an indoor practice facility).  The Georgia administration just needs to make a commitment to basketball and pour money into upgrading the facility.  Not sure they will be willing to do that.     

HotDawg
HotDawg

@TampGator1 @BulldogBen

Was Stegeman Coliseum the problem when they had an 11-1 record there, prior to this losing streak?

Stegeman has been renovated. You and others want to believe it's the same building from 30 years ago. 


TOJacket
TOJacket

@HotDawg @TampGator1 @BulldogBen He just said you won't get a quality Coach to coach in that barn when there building a 30 million $$ building so the football stays dry at practice?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@HotDawg @TOJacket @TampGator1 @BulldogBen What good does it do to worry about a College Football team?....................I'm more worried about how long it's going to take before we leave a big hole over there where that ISIS crew is?

TampGator1
TampGator1

@HotDawg 


Stegeman does not measure up to almost every other SEC basketball facility......and does not measure at all vs. the facilities of most top basketball programs.  .