Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report: Georgia versus Alabama. It’s like Groundhog Day when you’ve been sentenced to a caning. And that’s what this season has been like to a die-hard hoops fan.
We led Kentucky with a minute to go and lost another one this past Saturday night. J.J. Frazier scored 36 and Yante Maten left with a knee sprain two minutes into the game. There have been six or seven games that have come down to the last 30 seconds for Georgia on their SEC schedule, and the Dawgs have just one win to show for it. Four of those losses are against very tough competition and on the road. Thus, the Dawgs now have four one-game seasons left. WTH, you ask?
Instead of one-game-at-a-time, I want to look at this as four separate one-game seasons. I know it’s semantics but I like the way it sounds. If we go undefeated in all four seasons, we’ll make the NCAA. If we lose one game, we’ll need to make the SEC Tournament finals most likely to receive an at-large bid. If we lose two, then they’re fighting for the NIT, a tournament named after head lice, unless we get an automatic bid. Add to that we have to do it without Yante Maten, the SEC’s third-leading scorer, and it won’t be easy.
The next game is against Alabama on the road. They’ve overachieved all year and blew the Dawgs out at home. However, that’s was coming off being jobbed in College Station and no one on our team had their head in the game. We are a better team and should win no matter where it’s played. That said, the Tide play great defense and it stymied us in Athens. So nothing is given. Plus, nobody knows how this team will react to the loss to Kentucky this past weekend.
One team can only take so many heart-breaking losses before they fold. This team has shown no sign of that yet and I’m not saying we will. The only point I’m making is it’s tough to keep fighting when it feels like you can’t win. I’m very interested to see if we can bounce back. Our odds of making the Big Dance were 21% before the UK loss and that hasn’t changed much even after the loss. Just beat Bama and go undefeated in this season. Then worry about the next season. It’s basically a playoff now. Win! And advance. Lose. Season’s pretty much over.
So you know where we stand. It’s not looking good. But win tonight at 7 p.m. on the Deuce (ESPN 20 and we’re still kicking. I’ll be tuned in and I hope you will too. I just hope it’s not the same old movie. Go Dawgs!