UGA Coach Discusses AU, SEC and NCAA Tourneys

Athens, Ga.--Georgia coach Dennis Felton's Bulldogs enter this week's SEC Men's Basketball Tournament on the bubble in the team's quest for an NCAA Tournament berth.

The Bulldogs, 17-12 overall and 8-8 in the SEC, will take on Auburn, which is 7-9 in the conference and 17-14 overall, at 6:30 p.m. CST on Thursday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the single-elimination event.

"It is a big game for us," Felton says. "We are still pushing as hard as we can push to keep our postseason hopes alive.

"It is also a big, big game because it is that time of year now where it is one and done and everybody is coming into this thing wanting to play well enough to have the opportunity to win the SEC Tournament championship. We are going in with that kind of attitude of just trying to do everything we can to win it."

The Bulldogs won the regular season meeting with Auburn by an 86-79 margin in Athens. Commenting on the Tigers, Felton says, "The challenge that Auburn offers is that they are highly athletic and they are one of several teams in the league instead of having true low posts that are easy to keep up with in terms of knowing where to find them down on the post, they have a lot of athletic forwards with range to their game.

"They present a challenging matchup to a lot of our big guys in terms of guarding them out on the floor," the coach adds. "They are very athletic. They can really really push it up the floor and score in transition so transition defense is big and they have got a lot of versatile guys who can guard a lot of different positions and switch out to help each other that way and be disruptive defensively."

Felton says he doesn't have any way of knowing what his Bulldogs need to do in Atlanta to assure themselves a spot in the NCAA field, but he isn't shy discussing the subject. "This conversation about four or five teams going (to the NCAA Tournament) from the SEC I think is utterly ridiculous," Felton says. "I would be very disappointed if that would be how it turns out.

"I don't see how you have the strongest league in the country and not only...but strong top to bottom and so much more competitive than any other conference out there...I don't see how in the world that should decrease the number of teams that earn a spot in the national tournament. That flies in the face of any kind of logic as far as I am concerned.

"I know the folks here in our conference do a really, really good job making sure the information is out there to illustrate the facts," Felton says. "Factually, the SEC is the strongest conference in the country. With that information in mind, you would think we would be in the high end of having the percentage or number of our teams that are invited to the tournament."

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