Charles Mann led three players in double figures with 19 points, eight boards and four assists as Georgia pounded bubble-dweller Missouri at home, 71-56, on Tuesday night.
The loss is just devastating for Missouri’s at-large resume, as the Tigers dropped to 19-9 overall and 7-8 in the SEC. They’ve now lost two in a row — at Alabama and at Georgia — and five of their last eight games, essentially putting themselves in a position where they have to win their last three regular season games and do some damage in the SEC tournament just to have a shot at dancing.
Georgia has now officially staked their claim as the third-best team in the SEC. They’re two games up on five teams tied for fourth place with three games left. They have wins over Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss and, now, a sweep of Missouri. They’re the only team other than Kentucky and Florida to have double-figures in wins in league play with just two weeks left in the regular season.
And if you really want to get a feel for how bad the SEC is this year, I just wrote this about Georgia — the third-best team in the SEC — two paragraphs earlier: “The loss is just devastating for Missouri’s at-large resume.”
Think about that.
The SEC’s third-best team has no shot at earning an at-large bid to the tournament, their role diminished to playing the spoiler until they take their shot at winning the league’s automatic bid. And Missouri, who had climbed their way into the top 25 earlier this season, has managed to find themselves sitting tied for ninth place.
With every bad loss a bubble team takes, it looks more and more likely that the only way the SEC gets a third team into the tournament is through someone unexpected winning the SEC tournament title.