Bama Stops Dawgs

TUSCALOOSA – Georgia's postseason chances may have already been safe when it came here. It may still be safe when it left.

What is clear is that the Bulldogs didn't finish the regular season in style. And now if it wants to avoid any nervousness on selection night for the NCAA tournament, they still have some work to do.

A victory at Alabama would have removed any doubt, but instead Georgia was sloppy and careless in a 65-57 loss.

"The last game of the regular season, I wish we went out with a bang, I guess," Georgia guard Travis Leslie said. "But things just didn't go our way."

"It's disappointing because we didn't play as hard as we could've," forward Trey Thompkins added.

Georgia (20-10 overall, 9-7 in the SEC) will now await Sundays' Tennessee-Kentucky game to see whether it will be the fourth or fifth seed in next week's SEC tournament:

If Tennessee wins, then the Vols will be the fourth seed and push the Bulldogs to fifth. The first-round opponent would be loser of Saturday's Arkansas-Mississippi game.

If Tennessee loses,, then Georgia would be the fourth seed and would play the winner of Saturday's LSU-Auburn game.

Georgia may now need to win that first-round game to ensure its at-large bid. Or its profile - 37 in the RPI entering Saturday, a lack of bad losses, a good road record – might be good enough already.

"If it's the body of work, like they talk about every year, then we'll see," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. "But we obviously can't rest on our laurels right now."

A bigger debate on Saturday was about Alabama, which has won the SEC West, and no eligible SEC team with 11 wins or more has ever been left out. (Georgia went 11-5 in 2003 but removed itself from consideration because of the NCAA investigation.) But Alabama (20-10, 12-4) had an RPI rank of 90 entering the weekend, and a series of bad non-conference losses.

Fox was asked by an Alabama writer if he thought the Tide was an NCAA team.

"Yeah I think they are. … I think we are too," Fox said. "(Alabama head coach) Anthony (Grant) and I talked last night, that we entered the last day of regular season play we were tied for second and he'd won the West, and we're in the SEC. Okay? I felt like he does have a tournament team."

Georgia began Saturday's game as if it would remove all doubt, jumping out to a 13-5 lead. Thompkins, who was questionable to play because of an ingrown toenail, started and scored the game's first basket. (He finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.)

But the Bulldogs went cold on offense, chiefly because of turnovers. They had 16 of them, and also struggled to get any good outside shots.

"We didn't play like we needed to (in order) to win," Robinson said. "We had the turnovers that weren't really forced. Sometimes we just didn't get to the right spots."

The game was still close early in the second half until Alabama's Charvez Davis went on a 3-point binge. The Tide eventually extended the lead to double digits, and Georgia never got its offense going.

"We just didn't play with much authority on the offensive end today," Fox said

"We were just a little off beat," Robinson said. "I don't know what to attribute that to, but we just weren't on the right page."

Alabama's RPI entering the day was 90. Previously, the lowest-ranked Georgia loss was to Tennessee (33).

Fox said he felt his team didn't play with "authority" on offense. But he didn't think effort was an issue.

"They (Alabama) had an edge to them, they played with a determination about them," Fox said. "I don't know if they played with more (urgency). I think we played hard. We didn't play with a lot of execution at times."

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