So, it has come to this. We are about where we thought we might be going into the SEC tournament. Sixth in the top heavy East. However, there are two things very different about this Georgia team compared to the past few seasons. First, we have a First team All-SEC honoree in Trey Thompkins. Putting aside the slight of Travis Leslie, who should have been at least second team, based on his numbers, this is a great accomplishment. No Dawg has been so honored since Jarvis Hayes in 2003.
Second, this team has been the most competitive team from Athens since at least 2007. Yeah, we won the tourney in 2008, but the circumstances surrounding that were so unreal. That team had a ton of heart. This team has a ton of heart and a plan. When the likes of John Calipari and Bruce Pearl are singing your praises and are worried about playing you, then you are doing something right. Well, I guess it depends on if they are talking about your basketball or your recruiting, but I digress.
Georgia gets Arkansas in the first round. Back in early February, the Dawgs blew a 15 point half time lead to the Hogs. The had a nearly five minute scoring drought in the middle of the second half and couldn't catch up after the Razorbacks went on a 26-8 run to start the second half. The Razorbacks were in the middle of a five game win streak that would put them (shockingly) on the edge of relevancy in the SEC West race. They have closed the season on a five game slide, including a home loss to Old Miss and a road loss to LSU, in what might have been the second ugliest SEC game this season, behind the debacle last weekend in Baton Rouge. Cortney Forston is the man for Arkansas, averaging 18+ PPG. He lit the Dawgs up for 27 in Athens, including what felt like 12 straight free throws to ice the game. Slow him down to win the game.
The Dawgs have been solid at home and in neutral site games. Get by the Hogs and Georgia faces a very tough, but beatable, Vandy team. While Georgia has to win the SEC to make a tournament, I think*, even making the semis of the SEC is a good step. As we saw in 2008, when a team with heart gets hot, anything can happen.
Dawgs tip at approximately 9:45 Eastern tonight. Hey, wasn't it a late game we were supposed to play in Atlanta?
*I am unsure if the NIT, CBI and Collegeinsider.com tournaments require a winning record. I would think they do, with nearly 350 DI basketball programs, but I just don't know.