Georgia's at-large NCAA hopes remain slim

semerson@macon.comMarch 10, 2014 

ATHENS – Mark Fox claims that he finally allowed himself to look at the NCAA picture on Sunday, a day after his Georgia men’s basketball team finished tied for second in the SEC.

“I don’t know if we’ll have to win it. But it sure takes the stress out of it if you do,” Fox said. “I think we’d have to advance, to have a legitimate at-large chance we’d have to advance in the tournament. But if you advance you might as well win it.”

Most bracket experts think Georgia (18-12, 12-6 SEC) will have to cut down the nets in Atlanta on Sunday. Otherwise, Georgia’s poor nonconference record and RPI rank (73 as of Monday) will leave it way off the bubble.

“They are not at-large team under any circumstances,” said Jerry Palm, a bracket expert at CBSsports.com.

Palm pointed out that Georgia has five “bad losses,” and its best wins are over Missouri and Arkansas, which are bubble teams themselves.

“They finished tied for second in the SEC without an RPI top-50 win. That’s all you pretty much need to know about that league,” Palm said.

Georgia being on a hot streak also wouldn’t matter enough, according to Palm, because the wins don’t include any eye-opening wins. And two wins this weekend, including over Kentucky, wouldn’t bring up Georgia’s RPI.

The good news? Georgia should be in good shape for the NIT.

“I don’t break down the NIT, but at this point I would be surprised if Georgia was left out,” Palm said.

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