Right now these Dawgs are doing nothing more than playing for seeding. That’s what Georgia’s much-needed turnaround did these last few days. It convinced me, a skeptical person when it comes to basketball’s chances at Georgia, that this team will play in the most important tournament in the land this spring.
Georgia will lose again this season - this is conference basketball where teams have a way of slipping up along the way - but if they play the way they did on Saturday those losses will be few and far between. The Dawgs’ mastery of the Gators was obvious to anyone in the crowd - perhaps most painfully to the substantial Gator crowd in Stegeman Coliseum.
Side note: Georgia should be embarrassed with how many Florida fans were in Athens on Saturday afternoon - Far, far, far too many. But the bellycrawlers didn’t have much to cheer about. Unlike some years in the middle 2000s when Georgia’s football failures against the Gators were followed up by embarrassments on the hardwood, we’ve not heard “just like football” lately in Stegeman unless the Georgia students are screaming to the top of their lungs towards those in orange and or blue.
This rivalry matters. It matters in every sport. These two athletic departments are the class of the SEC. But for too long Georgia has fallen behind the Gators on the hardwood… I feel certain that’s not the case this year. Florida may be playing itself right out of the NCAAs.
Again, this isn’t the same Florida we are used to. These Gators, who were piledriven today, have lost games in new and creative ways these Bulldogs could only dream of losing - and Georgia knows about giving a game away.
The Dawgs’ mastery of the Gators was obvious to anyone in the crowd
The point here is not that Florida gave this game away - it didn’t. The point is not that Florida isn’t what it once was - that happens. The point is that Georgia, with this win today, is building up steam that will be too difficult to turn back when March Madness begins. There are simply too many wins this program will have by the end of the season to imagine they will miss the NCAAs.
The loss to Georgia Tech, as I have repeated over and over, will be Georgia’s “bad loss” of the year. The Yellow Jackets are horrible. Since beating these Dawgs they’ve lost to South Carolina Upstate, Dayton and every ACC team they’ve played. Horrible.
But that loss will be nothing more than a four-month-old afterthought in March. That’s because this team is simply too good at home (where they’ve lost once this season), and the SEC is still relatively weak.
Normally I don’t make these sorts of snap statements, but I see what I see, and it is obvious that as long as health doesn’t become an issue Georgia is going to have brackets in its future. The question is how high (or low) this team will wind up being seeded.
Georgia will play four teams between this win and Signing Day. Those teams are a combined 4-11 in conference play - with one of those wins coming when that group played itself. That ain’t great. Neither are Georgia’s chances of beating the Cats on Signing Day night in Lexington, but that’s a no-lose situation for the Dawgs.
Beating the Gators was a major step forward in the development and perhaps confidence of this group. Georgia was the better team. It should have won. But that it was so convincing in the process is what should have fans excited - excited enough to figure out where the locations of the first few rounds are the NCAAs are scattered around the country.