While he said he is proud of his 25th-ranked Bulldogs and called his players "a wonderful, wonderful group of guys'' and "terrific young people,'' Harrick also expressed regret and remorse about the NCAA investigation of his program.
Georgia athletics director Vince Dooley fired Harrick's son, assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr., less than a week after allegations were first made public that the Harricks violated NCAA rules with academic and financial benefits to former player Tony Cole.
Asked about the controversy Sunday, Harrick repeated a theme of regret that he first voiced Saturday.
"I'm deeply saddened that this happened,'' Harrick said. "I love Georgia. It's a great, great university. The president and athletics director are fabulous. They have treated me marvelously, and I am so depressed something like this would happen.''
Added Harrick: "It's just a great, great, great place and it's kind of a shame and kind of sad. That's all I'll say about anything like that.''
Harrick did not answer a question about his job security but said he believes the controversy has brought his team together.
"I've noticed a bonding, yes I have,'' he said.
Added Harrick: "It certainly can take the fun out of basketball for a coach, but you deal with it and go on.''
Neither Dooley nor University of Georgia president Michael Adams attended Sunday's game. Dooley was in Idaho and Wyoming this week and Adams has been in Costa Rica since holding a press conference Wednesday to address the NCAA investigation.
Arnold away from team: True freshman Wayne Arnold was not with the team Sunday and will not return for the postseason. Harrick said Arnold, who was averaging 2.8 points per game overall but had appeared in only four Southeastern Conference games, "needs to get his academics in order.''
Harrick said Arnold "has really, really struggled'' since Arnold's mother died in January of 2002.
"I just don't know what to do with him,'' Harrick said. "I can't get him motivated to do anything. I want him to get away from basketball and see if he can concentrate on his academics. He has really struggled.''
Starter Ezra Williams was limited by sore ribs to 24 minutes Sunday. If Williams is slowed by the injury in the SEC tournament, Richard Wehunt and Fred Gibson could be pressed into more prominent roles.
Wehunt hit two big 3-pointers in the second half and played 18 minutes Sunday.
Milestone for Wright: With six assists against South Carolina, junior point guard Rashad Wright now has 405 for his career. He is only the fourth player in school history to record 400 assists.
Litterial Green holds the school's career record with 466 assists. Wright has posted more than 100 assists in each of his three seasons and should break Green's record next season.