With 10 minutes left in Wednesday’s contest between No. 18 Vanderbilt and Georgia, the Bulldogs held a 53-40 lead at home and were well on their way to notching a much-needed win for their tournament resume.
And then it all fell apart.
The Bulldogs did not score from the field the rest of the way, ending up on the wrong side of a 24-3 run to end the game. John Jenkins, Vandy’s leading scorer, didn’t find his way onto the scoreboard until there were 13 minutes left in the game (with the Commodores down 40-26). But he scored 21 points down the stretch, including a number of touch, clutch jumpers late.
When the smoke cleared, Vandy remained just two games behind Florida in the SEC East standings and further built a resume that may be deserving of a top four seed with a 64-56 win on the road.
Its time for us to seriously start discussing the possibility that Georgia misses the NCAA Tournament, which is quite disappointing for a team that may have two first-rounders on the roster. They don’t have any bad losses — their “worst” loss is to Temple in Trey Thompkins’ second game back from injury — and with the exception of a 13 point loss to Florida in double overtime, the Bulldogs have not lost a game by more than eight points.
Their wins aren’t all that impressive, either. They beat Kentucky at home (which everyone does), but their other three top 100 wins came against UAB, Ole Miss, and Colorado.
My concern, however, isn’t what Georgia has accomplished thus far this season. My concern is with what lies ahead.
The Bulldogs have five games left in SEC play. They get South Carolina and LSU at home, but Mark Fox’s team has to play at Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama. If Georgia loses all three of those games, the best they can finish in the SEC is 8-8.
Can an 8-8 SEC team get an at-large bid?
If it can’t, I’m sure that the Bulldogs will have nightmares of missed over-the-backs and 30-foot buzzer beaters.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.