Dawgs Thrilled with NCAA Bid

So much for the speculation that had Georgia on the pre-tournament bubble for the 68-team NCAA field.


With a No. 10 seed in the East Regional, the Bulldogs apparently were on safer footing that pre-tourney analysis had predicted.

At least six other at-large teams were seeded behind the Bulldogs, who will play seventh-seeded Washington in their second NCAA game in three seasons.

The Bulldogs played in the 2009 NCAA Tournament after winning the SEC tourney.

"I told our team that at 4 o'clock this morning my eight-year-old daughter woke me up and she asked if we were in the Big Dance yet," coach Mark Fox said after learning of the bid. "She said, 'Daddy, it's Sunday. You said we'd know on Sunday if we were in the Big Dance.'

"Tonight I'm very proud, and honored, to say Georgia is back in the NCAA Tournament."

Georgia earned its bid with a 21-11 record that featured no real bad losses but no real eye-popping wins either. Going into the SEC tourney quarterfinal game against Alabama, the average RPI of the eight teams that had beaten the Bulldogs was 23 with a high of 10 (Notre Dame) and low of 79 (Alabama).

The loss in the regular season to the Crimson Tide marked the first time this season that the Bulldogs had lost to a team with a lesser RPI than its own.


--Georgia last played in the NCAA tourney in 2009, when the Bulldogs won the SEC's automatic berth with a stunning run through the conference tournament, winning their last three games over a period of just two days. That team lost to Xavier in the first round of the NCAA. In 2002, their previous appearance, the Bulldogs won a first-round game over Murray State and then lost to Southern Illinois. Their deepest run in 10 appearances came in 1983, their first tourney, when they made it to the Final Four.

--Not surprisingly, it will be the first meeting between Georgia and Washington when they match up in the NCAA Tournament at Charlotte on March 18. The winner will play the winner between No. 2-seeded North Carolina and 15th-seeded Long Island.

COACH: Mark Fox, two years at Georgia, first year in the postseason (NCAA)

KEYS TO VICTORY: F Trey Thompkins has to step up, and G Gerald Robinson has to regain the form he showed over the first three months of the season. He began to fade a bit down the stretch, and that almost proved costly to the Bulldogs, who lost twice to Alabama in their last three games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was a little nervous but at the same time I was confident that we had done enough during the season being we had no bad losses and a pretty good strength of schedule. So I was nervous, but a little bit confident as well." -- Junior F Trey Thompkins, on his reaction to getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney.


vs. Washington, March 18, NCAA Tournament second round

KEY MATCHUPS: Defending Washington PG Isaiah Thomas, who hit the decisive basket in his team's win over Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament, will be a key. That assignment likely will fall to G Gerald Robinson, who has good quickness and runs the show on offense for the Bulldogs. Junior F Trey Thompkins looks to have a bit of an advantage with his quickness over Washington's 6-9 Matthew Bryan-Amaning inside, but the size of 7-0 C Zaiz N'Diaye could be a problem for the Bulldogs inside.

SCOUTING REPORT: G Travis Leslie and F Trey Thompkins are two of the most athletic players around. Despite his 6-4 height, Leslie is the Bulldogs' No. 2 rebounder (7.2) behind Thompkins (7.5). Thompkins (16.1) and Leslie (14.5) also are the top two scorers. G Gerald Robinson and G Dustin Ware both had more than 100 assists for the season, and Robinson scored in double figures (12.2). Ware shot 43.8 percent from three-point range.


--F Trey Thompkins led the Bulldogs in blocked shots with 50, almost twice as many as the next on the team, backup F Chris Barnes with 26 rejections.

--G Travis Leslie had a season-high 24 points and recorded his sixth double-double of the season by adding 10 rebounds in the loss to Alabama in the quarterfinals of the SEC tourney.

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