Georgia NCAA Tournament Bid Less Certain After Brutal Losses in SEC

Erik SchultzCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2011

Mark Fox may be wondering what might have been tough losses to Florida and Tennessee at home
Mark Fox may be wondering what might have been tough losses to Florida and Tennessee at homeAndy Lyons/Getty Images

In a game that received virtually no hype heading in, at least nationally, Florida and Georgia wound up delivering the game of the night on Tuesday.

Each team hit a last second shot to force an overtime session.

Georgia scored on a put-back at the buzzer at the end of regulation; Florida’s Erving Walker hit a deep three to tie the game with one second to play in the first OT. 

Walker’s three was ultimately the severe blow in this one, as the Gators went on to cruise in the second overtime, winning 104-91. 

The fact that Walker was able to take the three in the first place was a failure to execute—on the part of Georgia. Head Coach Mark Fox wanted his team to foul Walker before he had the chance to get close enough to hoist a shot. The Bulldogs, seemingly afraid to impede Walker’s path, gave him a pretty clear look at the basket.

Exactly one week prior to Tuesday night, Georgia was victim to last-second heroics in another home game, against Tennessee: Brian Williams’ put-back, while falling away, at the buzzer, gave the Vols at 59-57 win in Athens.

Two big home games against SEC East rivals, turned into two extremely tough losses for Georgia. For Bulldog fans, it’s difficult not to think about what could have been. Just two baskets may be separating them from first place in the SEC East.

Now, the Bulldogs stand at 3-3 in the SEC; that currently puts them in a three-way-tie with Tennessee and Vanderbilt for fourth place in a very competitive SEC East race. 

Instead of Georgia being 5-1, it is now Florida, good for a one-and-a-half game lead in the division.

With the competitiveness of the East, finishing just above .500 in the SEC would seem to put Georgia in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament.

However, getting to that mark will now be a little more difficult.

Georgia will go on the road this weekend to play Kentucky, who the Bulldogs beat earlier this month at home; beating them again seems like a very tough task.

After that, they will travel to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas, who beat Tennessee earlier this month.

The Bulldogs also still have games at South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, as well as Alabama, who currently leads the SEC West.

In between all of these SEC landmines is an interesting out-of-conference game with Xavier, in Athens. This may be a crucial game for Georgia, in order to improve their overall NCAA Tournament resume. 

Currently, the Bulldogs only decent OOC wins are against Colorado (surprise), UAB, and maybe Georgia Tech (now 3-3 in the ACC).

Beating Xavier, in February, would hold a lot more weight than any of those other three.

It’s certainly not desperation time for Georgia. They’ve proven they can play with the best teams in the SEC, and they will have plenty more opportunities for quality wins.  ­

However, those quality wins may now have to come on the road. The sooner Georgia can get those wins, the sooner they can begin to forget about the bitterness of the past two Tuesday nights in Athens.