Dawgs Gather for Selection

ATHENS – There were plenty of chances this season for the Georgia men's basketball team to make Sunday night's NCAA tournament announcement a formality.

One win, as recently as Friday, probably would have closed the deal.

Instead, the Bulldogs spent the past couple days scoreboard-watching, and will have to wait until CBS unveils the 68-team field to find out their fate.

The outlook was very dicey after Saturday's results.

Other bubble teams, such as Penn State and Richmond, got important victories. Clemson took North Carolina to overtime before losing.

Then there was Alabama, which was blown out in the SEC semifinals by Kentucky. Alabama has a low RPI rank (77 entering Saturday) but owns two wins in the past eight days over Georgia, including in the SEC quarterfinals on Friday.

"I think we're a tournament team," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said after Friday's loss. "I don't think we had to have this game to be in the NCAA tournament."

That could end up being true, but a win would have put the team in much better position. So the Bulldogs instead enter Sunday hoping that their RPI rank (45 as of Saturday) and lack of bad losses overcomes their 5-11 record against teams in the RPI top 100.

Since 2004, when the RPI formula was tweaked to its current form, the highest-ranked RPI team not to get a bid from a major conference was No. 40 Cincinnati, in 2006.

Assuming automatic bids and at-large locks, there appear to be 10 spots available for teams like Georgia.

The Atlantic 10 championship on Sunday will be key. If Dayton, a team not expected to get an at-large bid, beats Richmond, then that's bad news for bubble teams. Only nine spots would be available by that estimation.

Otherwise, Georgia is competing with a slew of other teams with suspect resumes:

- Michigan State (18-14, RPI: 38), Penn State (19-13, RPI: 42) and Michigan (19-13, RPI: 48) out of the Big Ten. Of course Penn State could still grab an automatic bid by upsetting No. 1 Ohio State in Sunday's title game.

- Colorado (20-13, RPI: 65), which Georgia beat in the second game of the season, but has since added wins over Texas, Kansas State (three times) and Missouri.

- Clemson (21-11, RPI: 53) and Virginia Tech (21-11, RPI: 61), which lost in the ACC semifinals to North Carolina and Duke, respectively.

- And some non-major conference teams like St. Mary's (23-8, RPI: 44), UTEP (24-8, RPI: 49), Missouri State (25-8, RPI: 41), Virginia Commonwealth (23-11, RPI: 51), UAB (22-8, RPI: 30) and Harvard (21-6, RPI: 32).

Georgia has not announced where it will watch the selection show.

"I can't tell you whether we are or not. Hopefully we can be selected," Georgia star Trey Thompkins said Friday. "But that's not up to us anymore, we've done everything we can."

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