Here’s a question nobody ever figured we would be asking this college basketball season: Which team is more likely to win a game in its conference tournament: Georgia Tech or Georgia? Because right now, I’m kinda leaning toward the one in Athens.
Let’s start with this. According to Joe Lunardi, ESPN.com’s bracketologist, Georgia Tech is STILL an NCAA tournament team, despite a loss to Virginia Tech Saturday that dropped the Jackets’ ACC record to 7-9 and overall mark to 19-11.
From Lunardi’s ESPN Insider blog this morning: The ACC has four “lock” teams (Duke, Maryland, Clemson, Florida State) and the SEC has three (Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee). He has 22 bubble teams vying for 11 spots, with Tech currently listed as in, along
with Wake Forest and Virginia from the ACC and Florida in the SEC.
From Lunardi’s blog:
No. 1 Seeds: Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas State.
Big East (6): Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Louisville.
Big Ten (4): Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State.
ACC (4): Duke, Maryland, Clemson, Florida State.
Atlantic 10 (3): Temple, Xavier, Richmond.
SEC (3): Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee.
Mountain West (3): New Mexico, BYU, UNLV.
Horizon League (1): Butler.
Missouri Valley (1): Northern Iowa.
West Coast (1): Gonzaga.
Additional automatic qualifiers: 19 conferences.
Total spots claimed: 52.
Bubble (22 teams for 11 spots)
TOTAL SPOTS CLAIMED: 52
Currently In (listed in S-curve order): Marquette, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Florida, Illinois, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Memphis, San Diego, UAB.
Currently Out (listed in S curve order): Rhode Island, Dayton, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Washington, Seton Hall, Wichita State, Minnesota, South Florida, Connecticut.
Off The Board: Cincinnati.
First four Out: Rhode Island, Dayton, Arizona State, Mississippi State.
Last four In: Saint Mary’s, Memphis, San Diego State, UAB.
The Jackets, however, can’t assume they’re in the tournament if they’re one-and-done in the ACC tournament. A case could be made that they may need to win two games to feel comfortable.
But how likely is that? Tech’s talent obviously suggests they could be at least a Sweet 16 team in the NCAA tournament. But this isn’t a team that got better down the stretch, at least not if we’re measuring things by wins and losses. The Jackets lost their final two regular season games, five of their last seven and six of their last nine. They will be the seventh seed in the ACC tournament and face the 10th seed, North Carolina. Tech has beaten the Tar Heels twice. But are the odds against winning three times, even as bad as UNC is this season?
Georgia (5-11, 13-16) lost its final regular season game at LSU. It was a bad loss to a team that was 1-14 coming in. That means the Bulldogs locked into the sixth seed in the SEC East. But there are worse things. They’ll play the No. 3 team in the West, Arkansas (7-9, 14-17), in the opener of that conference tournament Thursday in Nashville.
The Razorbacks certainly are a beatable team. In the only meeting between the two schools, Georgia led by 15 at halftime but lost 72-68. There certainly is a more positive vibe around the Georgia program right now than Tech, and the Bulldogs pulled conference upsets this season over Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
So what do you think is more likely: Does Tech or Georgia win a conference tournament game?