Update: It’s official! Georgia will face off with Vermont in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday night at 8:00 pm in Stegeman Coliseum (full preview to follow on Wednesday morning).
#Dawgs return to post-season play! Will play Vermont in NIT first round on Wednesday in Athens.
— UGA Men’s Basketball (@UGABasketball) March 17, 2014
With one 40-minute defeat at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday evening, the Georgia Bulldogs went from “possible bubble team” to “NIT bound”.
The latest glance (as of Sunday afternoon) at ESPN’s Bracketology (courtesy of Joe Lunardi) not only did not place the Bulldogs in the 68-team projected field, but it also didn’t have Georgia in the “last four out” or the “next four out”. Translation? There are at least 8 teams that are not projected in the field with a better chance at being selected to the final field, and with that, it would be the equivalent of a miracle to see Greg Gumbel (or anyone else) utter the name of Mark Fox’s club on Sunday evening.
We’ve been over the resume for the Bulldogs in detail over recent days and weeks, both chronicling their chances at the field without an SEC Tournament win and taking a look at their bubble status, but at this point, the case against Georgia is simple. As of Sunday, the Dawgs are 76th in the RPI rankings (nowhere near the “normal” bubble teams) and they only have two wins (both against Missouri, who is #48) against top-50 opponents in those same rankings. Whether fans would want to change the criteria for entry to the tournament (something I’d be in favor of) is quite irrelevant, and with these metrics in place, Mark Fox’s club didn’t have a prayer without a significant win over Kentucky.
Now, the Bulldogs are in prime position for a “top” seed in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) which will kick off this week, and while the games won’t exactly be high-profile, it is an opportunity for additional practice time and game exposure for this young group. Stay tuned.