Pre-Fiasco follies: Will UGA get a third chance at Kentucky?

A third time for these two teams? (John Bazemore/AP photo)

A third time for these two teams? (John Bazemore/AP photo)

A third time for these two teams? (John Bazemore/AP photo)

A third time for these two teams? (John Bazemore/AP photo)

We’re six days from Selection Sunday and the onset of the 28th edition of Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco, and questions abound. To wit:

1. Should Georgia play Kentucky for the SEC title Sunday in Nashville, will the result be different? You’ve heard the saying that it’s hard to beat a good team three times. Georgia is a good team that has lost to Kentucky twice, the first time by 11 points on the road without Marcus Thornton, the second by eight after leading by nine inside the final 10 minutes. And there’s precedent here: The 2012 Wildcats rolled through the SEC regular season unbeaten but were upset in the tournament final by Vanderbilt, which Kentucky had already beaten twice.

The Bulldogs might have been better served by facing Kentucky in the semis Saturday because depth tends to show in a third game in three days, which is what the finals would be for both, and the Wildcats are deeper than Georgia. (The Wildcats are deeper than everybody.) Still, strange things happen in conference tournaments, and the guess here is that unbeaten Kentucky is more apt to lose in the SEC tournament, which doesn’t matter, than in the Big Dance, which does.

2. Is 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 four in a row to finish next-to-last in the ACC, falling to Louisville after leading by 13, to Clemson in overtime and to North Carolina twice by an aggregate 61 points — will have convinced athletic director Mike Bobinski that a change is warranted. A coach cannot go 3-15 in league play in his fourth season and have any reasonable expectation of keeping his job.

3. Will Georgia State win the Sun Belt? As nice as it was for the Panthers to win the conference title outright, they know better than anyone that the regular season isn’t what counts to a mid-major. (Ask Murray State, which was ranked No. 25 but lost the Ohio Valley final to Belmont by one point and will likely miss the NCAA tournament.) Georgia State could face UL Lafayette, which beat the Panthers in the championship game last season, in the semis, and then it could turn around and face Georgia Southern or UL Monroe, both of which State beat last week, in the final. And it never helps when one of your two best players — Ryan Harrow, in this case — tweaks his hamstring in the regular-season final.

4. And what of Mercer? The Bears, who famously ousted Duke from the Big Dance last season, won’t be back in the NCAA tournament. Playing their first season in the Southern Conference, they were upset by Furman, which is 11-21 and had finished last in the league, in the tournament semifinals last night in Asheville, N.C. Mercer had beaten the Paladins twice in the regular season. That’s why they call it madness, folks.

Reader Comments 0

31 comments
-OBrien-
-OBrien-

GT up 4 with 90 seconds left, and couldn't finish.  When a team has that many close losses like GT does, I think coaching takes part of the blame for not being able to help a team get over the hump.  Coach Gregory needs to go.  If he doesn't get fired, I think it will be because GT doesn't want to pay him to not coach.  Speaking of which, are we still playing Coach Hewitt?

PTC DAWG1
PTC DAWG1

LOL at the GT fans carrying the anti SEC/UGA torch....

PantherWin
PantherWin

The Panthers should get in if they play like they're capable of.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

UGA is a mediocre team that plays in a terrible conference.   Tech would be the second best team in the SEC.  

GTBob
GTBob

@twelveofthirteen He is right. The second best team in your conference couldn't beat Clemson. One of the few ACC teams GT actually beat. Almost every team in the ACC would be the 2nd best team in the SEC.

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

@GTBob @twelveofthirteen not so sure about UGA making a run but don't sell LSU or Arky short. LSU has two Lotto picks and they may be a sleeper. I'm afraid that with the combo of constant injuries and poor shooting the Dawgs may not even win a Tournament game. 

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

@GeorgeStein  ha ha ha. um no. They would have had a better season in the sec for sure just like UGA would win the coastal in football 9 of 10 years.

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

@GeorgeStein with all do respect I don't think you really believe that. I remember back in the day when UGA and GT played in the Omni every year and it seemed like Tech couldn't buy a win against some really sorry Dawg teams. I think one year we beat the ACC champs, SEC champs and the nationL champs and failed to make a tourney. I wouldn't go as far to say we were the second best team in the ACC. Sometimes it just comes down to matchups. For some reason we just don't match up to GT when we play them of recent . I won't be like Bob and say we should cancel the series tho. Lol

GTBob
GTBob

@JeffersonDavisHogg GT actually had a winning record in the Omni 8-6. The UGA AD was so mad about it he cried about the game being in Atlanta every year and had the game moved to home and homes. Also, if you want to cancel the basketball series, im not sure many Tech fans would care that much. Its a fairly meaningless football series, but the basketball series is really meaningless. I would guess that less than 1% of UGA sports fans even know when the game is played every year.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@twelveofthirteen We'd definitely have a better season.   Like, 12-6 better.   UGA is the number three seed.   We have objective evidence that we're better than they are, and we suuuuuuuuuuuuuckkkkkkk.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@JeffersonDavisHogg I have no respect at all for SEC hoops.   Their best teams were losing to mediocre (Clemson) and atrocious (Tech) teams.   Heck, I think Kentucky is going to get beat in tournament.   They have played mediocre SEC teams close all year, then won at the end.   What team spent an entire season getting killed for that?   Oh, that's right.   FSU.


My expectation is that the SEC will get six teams, and five of them will be gone by the end of the first weekend.

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Damn gtbob...no comments about Tech changing coaches...again? No, you get your jollies by criticizing Georgia. Hell, I think you enjoy that more than bragging on your own team. Of course, your guys don't give you much to brag about, do they?

GTBob
GTBob

@DirtyDawg We have gone over it several times in several blogs recently and I just wasn't all that interested in rehashing it again. Since you asked though, I do expect our coach to be fired and I do believe he deserves it at this point. Also, changing coaches again? You make it sound like we do it all the time. We have had 3 coaches in the last 34 years.

Dawggie
Dawggie

"Good teams" don't lose to a bad team like SC. 

Particularly twice.

McDawg
McDawg

problem is we will most likely have to beat a pretty good Ole Miss team for the 3rd time in order to have a chance

Getting_Older
Getting_Older

Re: 2. GT Coach Change

I wouldn't be surprised either way.  I can see Bobinski giving CBG another year or I can see him saying enough is enough.  I would make the decision based on 1) what other teams will be hiring coaches (that we would have to compete with for a coach) and 2) what coaches look like they are ready to make a move.  If there is not  a clear choice as to who we would want and a high likelihood of him coming, then I say give the coach one more year.  If we are certain we can upgrade, then go ahead and make the change now.

GTBob
GTBob

Mark, UGA barely hung on for dear life this weekend against a really awful Auburn team. They couldn't beat Kentucky at home when they were playing one of their worst games of the season. I'm not sure the beating a good team three times thing really applies here. You are talking about one team that is one of the greatest collections of talent in history and another team that isn't even receiving a single vote in any poll right now.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@GTBob 


Win and advance, GTBob.  I am sure Georgia was somewhat deflated after losing late to an outstanding Kentucky team at home.......when they played Auburn.

GTBob
GTBob

@TampGator1 Really? Were they also deflated the first time they played Auburn when they lost to them?

MarkBradley
MarkBradley moderator

Thanks, WDE. The Hall of Fame was something totally unexpected and probably undeserved -- but it's hugely appreciated.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@MarkBradley 

Congrats on the selection.  Pity your co-inductee won't be there with you.

Mulk
Mulk

Good teams do not lose to a no talent team like Tech. Period. Ergo, UGAG is not a good basketball team.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Mulk 


Yes they are good.  Not great, but a very good basketball team and coached very well by Fox. 

GTBob
GTBob

@TampGator1 They are a very good team who hasn't beaten a single ranked team and has lost to several terrible teams? They may be very good by SEC standards but not compared to most other teams in the country.

GTBob
GTBob

@twelveofthirteen They are making the tournament thanks to a schedule that includes very few even decent teams. That doesn't really make them a good team. Kudos to them for getting one extra game that several others aren't getting though.

WDE
WDE

Mark Congrats on the Basketball Writers Hall of Fame nod..well deserved !