NCAA tournament again will be thin on Georgia schools

Looking ahead to the NCAA tournament? Georgia (and coach Mark Fox) likely will be only participant.

Looking ahead to NCAA tournament? UGA (and coach Mark Fox) likely will be only state team.

For the first time in the 73-year history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, every game will be televised on four different networks: CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. (It’s believed truTV also will carry a three-part mini-series: “Whatever happened to Paul Hewitt?”)

And once again, Georgia will rank with Hawaii, Alaska and South Dakota among the states least populating the tournament field.

Despite a couple of hiccups, UGA should still get in. According to ESPN’s “bracketologist” Joe Lunardi, the Bulldogs would be an 11th seed in the Southeast Regional if the tournament started today. (He has them facing Missouri in the Tampa sub-regional.)

Obviously, if Georgia loses at South Carolina Saturday, things become a little more desperate. (FYI: I’ll be at the game in Columbia and live blogging, which is scheduled for a 4 p.m. tipoff. So don’t touch that dial!)

But college hoops in the rest of the state remains a vast wasteland, something I’ve never understood given the talent this state produces. Here are seven Georgia programs, ranked in order of current RPI (with current record and strength of schedule ranking in parenthesis). If I’ve missed a college, sorry. Let me know and I’ll add them.

44. Georgia (16-7, 42): The Dogs already have lost four SEC games and still have remaining road games with Tennessee, Florida and Alabama. Winning at South Carolina is crucial.

171. Georgia Tech (10-13, 71): What’s left to say? The Jackets are way past “must-win” situations, but falling behind 17-2 at home to Florida State is inexcusable. The only reason the Jackets aren’t being booed more is nobody’s showing up for their games any more.

218. Georgia State (10-14, 168): Bill Curry got people excited in the Panthers’ first football season. I’m still waiting for Rod Barnes to get people excited and this is his fourth year (and it’s not a start-up program). This season includes a seven-game losing streak.

260. Savannah State (7-17, 166): The Tigers actually have won four conference championships (SIAC) but none since 1981. In 2004-05, they finished 0-28. This season they started 2-17 but have won five straight. They’re moving up!

266. Mercer (10-15, 255): Former Bulldog Mark Slonaker coached 11 seasons and went 23-6 in 2002-03, then backslid and was fired three years ago. Bob Hoffman went 33-32 in his first two seasons. They’re a respectable 7-7 in the Atlantic Sun but an upset of Belmont (22-4) in the conference tournament seems unlikely.

322. Kennesaw State (7-17, 317): As you can see, that early season upset of Georgia Tech wasn’t the launching pad to greatness. In fact, the Owls lost 10 straight after that game and 17 of 22 since.

340. Georgia Southern (4-22, 230): Former Tech assistant Charlton Young is only in his second season so we’ll cut him some slack. But the Eagles are 0-13 in the Southern Conference, and they’ve lost 15 of their last 16. The only win? It came over Georgia State.

So. Now you’re primed for the home stretch of the college basketball season.

Sorry to depress you.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

102 comments Add your comment

Matt from MN

February 11th, 2011
1:46 pm

Jason

February 11th, 2011
1:47 pm

Jason

February 11th, 2011
1:47 pm

Ah crap. Well, at least those teams aren’t the Thrashers!

@DanWeiner

February 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

Given the abundance of basketball talent in this State, these numbers are embarrassing.

TechFaninVR

February 11th, 2011
1:52 pm

If Hewitt is not gone after this season then I think Radacovich needs to go!

Breda

February 11th, 2011
1:54 pm

UGA is close. GT on the other hand, not so close. Mark Fox has a McDonalds All-American coming in next year and hopefully Tony Parker the year after. Things are looking bright. Paul Hewitt should stay at Tech forever!

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
1:54 pm

The top recruits have gone elsewhere for the better part of a decade. Georgia is starting to cash in because they are paying competitive salary for a quality coach ($1.3 million).

Tech is suffering from Dave Braine’s panic contract. I’ve heard several people say that Tech had to pay Hewitt because he was going to leave after the Final 4 run. Okay, you should have let him. He know has the worst contract in college sports and it will cost $8.1 million to get our it.

My alma mater has only now started to dedicate the resources to basketball (since our AD has been hired in March of last year) and this is essentially a rebuilding job that has taken 4 years. Can’t win with no financial help. I’d also argue that Georgia Tech would finish .500 or worse in the CAA this year. Seriously.

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
1:55 pm

Gordon

February 11th, 2011
1:55 pm

One month from today, the day after a first round ACC tournament loss, Hewitt will be fired and this will start to turn around for Tech.

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
1:57 pm

Hey Tech fan, who’s paying the $8.1 million in his contract after he gets fired?

We pay our coach 1/4 of what Tech’s does and we have the exact same amount of wins, 10. Hmm…

cattledawg

February 11th, 2011
1:58 pm

Still concerned about the dogs. They just cant get over the hump, but maybe they will get hotter than Bobo’s recruiting and baby making skills.

ATLFAN

February 11th, 2011
2:02 pm

If you’re an Atlanta/Georgia Sports fan and want to talk with other fans, check out our NEW message board.

http://www.atlsportsnation.com/forum

We have team forums for the Falcons, Bulldogs, Hawks, Braves, Yellow Jackets, Thrashers, etc. Please register and post! Be apart of a huge site in the early days of existence. See ya there! We’re looking for posters, moderators, bloggers/writers. Join up if interested.

AJ

February 11th, 2011
2:02 pm

Yeah I was going to ask the same question Ben. People assume Hewitt is gone. Do these people plan to donate to the buyout which is RETARDED high. Congrats to Hewitt’s agent. Nice work.

lanier

February 11th, 2011
2:04 pm

looks like Tech’s football and basketball teams are about equal

DMR

February 11th, 2011
2:04 pm

Does anyone else think the coaching carousel and the panic expressed by some AD’s is very similar to the panic picks made in the NFL draft? Big time Universities have big time resources to examine every aspect of a coach before making him an offer. Paul Hewitt’s contract is brilliant…if you’re Hewitt or his attorney. You cannot be fired w/o being paid based on W’s and L’s. Hewitt would have to commit an overt act that embarrasses the school other than simple bad coaching.

Mark Fox is a very good coach. I hope he stays at UGA a long time. However, if a University shows it is willing to spend the money and resources to help build a program, you can find a quality coach that wants a nice lifestyle without breaking the bank completely.

Gordon

February 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

The same people who bought out Gailey will buy out Hewitt. Rumor has it that Radakovich already has most of the money. There are lots of rich Tech people who do care about basketball. Also, the money doesn’t have to be paid as a lump sum, but over a 5 year period.

Whiskey Clear

February 11th, 2011
2:13 pm

Ben: Big boosters are paying that 8.1 meeting. They’re putting together a buyout plan as we speak. you have 10 wins playing in the CAA my friend. Yes, Georgia Tech is down this year, but I promise that if we were to match up with your lame excuse for a basketball program, it would be no contest.

Also, Breda, the only thing that your “All-American” means is that he’s there for a year, and wouldn’t even be in school in the first place if that 1 year rule wasn’t in place. Believe me, we know. You don’t build a program around All-Americans, with very few exceptions. So if that’s what you’re banking on to have substantial, consistent success in the future, you are sadly mistaken my friend.

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
2:19 pm

A couple things:
-Big boosters that bought out Chan Gailey? His buyout was $1 million for 4 years. Hewitt’s is due almost immediately (within 30 days from reading his contract about a year ago).

-Equating AD’s panic to NFL draft picks is not comparable. The revenue from the NFL TV deals is enough to pay the entire salary of an NFL team. Coaches salaries (in public school) come from student fees and booster money. Not the same.

-Take the Top 4 in the CAA and take the Top 4 in ACC. Not comparable right. Take the bottom 4 in the CAA and the bottom 4 in the ACC. Comparable.

-Give our coach your talent, arena and financial support and we’ll win 3 times as many games as Hewitt would. He does more with less than I’ve ever seen. Again, 18 months of internal support. We are essentially a start up because this is his first full basketball season of internal support by an administration that is financially smarter. Remember that we made money off football this year. I hope we don’t outdraw you guys on Sept. 1st.

Jmoney89

February 11th, 2011
2:22 pm

U forgot Augusta State

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor and Nathan Faulkner, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Posted: Cover your eyes — the depressing state of college hoops in Georgia. http://bit.ly/dGQ0xw [...]

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

Augusta State is not a Division 1 school.

Whiskey Clear

February 11th, 2011
2:27 pm

No arguments from me that Hewitt needs to go. I think he has more than overstayed his welcome. But let’s not be ridiculous Ben. You have an FCS football program that doesn’t even have it’s own field. The biggest game on your schedule was against Alabama, and you were turned away, violently. You lost to Jacksonville State, a team that is consistently a warm-up game for Georgia Tech. Your revenue from football was a result of excitement for a first year program. People have better things to do on Saturdays. Sorry to break it to you bro.
And come on.. Let’s be real:

Virginia vs. UNC-W
Georgia Tech vs. Georgia State
NC State vs. William & Mary
Wake vs. Towson

Joey

February 11th, 2011
2:28 pm

Does anyone else think Trey is regressing?

I thought against UK last month, he looked like he was over the ankle injury. He has looked worse and worse since then.

In the past three games, I can only remember one jumper that he made, and it was about 12 ft. In Tuesday’s game vs Xavier, he scored no points other than junk, or non-defended under the basket, bank shots. He missed every jumper he shot, and even worse, he continued his poor free-throw shooting.

Mark Fox may not have to worry about him leaving for the NBA after this season, because he in no way looks like an NBA player.

If he and the Dawgs don’t turn this around, they won’t even make the Dance, much less be a factor.

ormewood

February 11th, 2011
2:31 pm

The state of college hoops in Georgia is pathetic, I’m afraid. I think Fox is a good coach, but if he doesn’t keep some of these local kids, like Tony Parker, then he ultimately will not succeed. I predict Parker goes to UNC or Duke.

Hewitt? He should send part of his paycheck to Roy Williams for allowing him to keep his job. If it weren’t for the four straight UNC beatdowns, Hewitt would already be gone.

Directions

February 11th, 2011
2:32 pm

GStateBen: Seriously? Georgia State never has and never will be anything in basketball. Georgia State last two “big name” coaches have been retreads Lefty and now Barnes. It’s not called the “graveyard of coaches” for no reason. You can knock Tech all you want if that makes you feel better, but let’s see who gets the better coach when Hewitt and Barnes are giving the pink slip in March. Tech is a lot closer to turning it around than Georgia State will ever be. New arena compared to you all below average high school gym. C’mon, man? It Georgia “Freaking” State. The school of rejected coaches and undergrad students.

Ted Striker

February 11th, 2011
2:37 pm

Blogging live from Columbia? Does your wife have family there? Cause, like, (Christopher Walken voice) like, you know, there is no OTHER reason to be there.

Buckeye

February 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

Would love to meet up with Thompkins in the NCAA but suspect uga will be a 10-12 seed and we’ll be playing a 16. It doesn’t suck to be a Buckeye and # 1 in the country!

If you want to see see real college basketball tune in to ESPN at 2PM tomorrow. Can’t wait to hear Dickie V talk about our diaper dandy Jarred Sullinger.

Reggie

February 11th, 2011
2:42 pm

Georgia Southern used to be a really good program, but that was before we learned the coach was a mega cheater. It’s been pretty cruddy since then. Hopefully, former Eagle Charlton can turn things around.

Suckeye

February 11th, 2011
2:44 pm

I pray for the day Buckeye’s computer dies.

Gordon

February 11th, 2011
2:47 pm

GStateBen,

Hewitt does not have to be paid in a lump sum. If he is notified before March 16th (30 days before the rollover date of April 15th), Tech will have to pay him $7M over the next 5 years ($1.4M a year). If he were fired after that date, it would be $8.4M over 6 years. Obviously he will be fired before the rollover whether it is this year or some future year to avoid the extra year’s pay.

Brent

February 11th, 2011
2:48 pm

Miller Grove is the second best basketball team in the state and Milton is third, then GT and the rest

Bill

February 11th, 2011
2:50 pm

Hewitt has to GO…

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
2:52 pm

@Directions Here’s the fun thing about Tech fans. They belittle that which they don’t know. Lefty was our highest paid coach for any sport ever. He made $250K at the end. That’s before we have football (which made money in 2010 as a first year FCS program). Rod Barnes was hired by one of your flunkie administrators that we unfortunately hired.

What is turning it around at Tech? You haven’t had a winning conference record since your Final Four run. We are a mid-major. I have no illusions otherwise. You have NBA talent nearly every year and yet have not advanced past the 2nd round since your magical tournament run.

Hewitt is 110-100 since that run overall and 39-66 in ACC play. The numbers don’t lie. Again, give us your talent, your building and your tradition and Barnes will get more out of his players. He makes 1/4 of what Hewitt does and out recruiting budget is likely 1/10 what Tech’s is.

We aren’t going anywhere. 32,000 students on campus paying an increasing student athletic fee. The gap is closing every semester.

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
2:55 pm

@Gordon Thanks for the clarification. Looks like you need to raise some money from your other revenue generating sports like football. Hope your football attendance improves to justify this loss of revenue.

UGA bball

February 11th, 2011
2:57 pm

After losing to Xavier last Tuesday, Dawgs must now finish at least 9-7 in the conference if they hope to dance in March.

They better win tomorrow, cause the road doesn’t get any easier after that – @ Florida, @ Tennessee and @ Alabama

Tech75

February 11th, 2011
2:58 pm

WhiskeyClear – They haven’t called me yet. If they had, this would already be done.

They call me every so often about AT contributions, I tell them every time – “Not until Hewitt is gone.”

Vote with your pocketbook.

Tech75

February 11th, 2011
3:03 pm

Gordon – no wonder the team is tanking. They know he’s a goner….

Whiskey Clear

February 11th, 2011
3:04 pm

Ben, this is just like a few years ago when State made it to the regionals in baseball, and there was talk and banter about an upset and Georgia State athletics were on the rise. What happened? Two and through. Get out of here. Georgia State will never be a premiere program in anything. Not enough alumni support, not enough tradition, and no room to build anything substantial. Are you going to play your football games in the Dome forever?

Steve

February 11th, 2011
3:12 pm

You need to add Wheeler HS. I bet they could beat Tech too.

John

February 11th, 2011
3:15 pm

what a botch and embarrassment. Hewitt won’t take any risk so as to not interfere with his contract. Will not yell at ref or players. Will not try to out recruit. Why should he? Need to hand the reigns over to Willie and get an ex (Scott, Oliver, Forrest, or Price) to help out and move towards something. The worse thing is these young men have talent and are not being led or coached.

Bruce Mac

February 11th, 2011
3:18 pm

For whatever reason The Dawgs (especially Trey) have gone to whinning about the refs excessively at every turn. Just play the dang game and let the refs call it. You can tell the refs are tired of this act and are penalizing the players as a result. Who can blame them, the Dawgs look like a bunch of grade school cry babies. It is hard to watch. I see them missing the big dance unless they get their attitude corrected and quick.

umm

February 11th, 2011
3:18 pm

The dogs are no lock for the tourney…they have lost every really big game on the schedule for NCAA bid consideration except for a win over UK. They are at best a bubble team and cant keep playing down to teams like Auburn. They can only lose one more game really before people consider them out of the bubble. My prediction?…enjoy the NIT dog fans….I would rather be home than play in that to be honest. In other news…Hewitt has to go. There is no way he stays and the money is there people…for two reasons. Number one, Gailey’s buyout is finally off the books and number 2…plenty of influential and wealthy alumni are just as fed up as the regular fans. Those guys can pony up the money and I would even be willing to donate a few hundred….I want to see GT get back to playing good basketball. There is no reason GT should not be great in bball…I want to see a Lavin type hire. Look at ST Johns…they sucked last year….things can be turned around quick.

Dawgdad (The Original)

February 11th, 2011
3:19 pm

Whatever happened to Southern Tech basketball. I think the school is now known as Southern Polytechnical Or something senseless. They are in Marietta and once had Roger Kaiser as head coach and seemed to win constantly. Anybody know what happened, did they drop basketball. They sure had quite a record of conference championships at one time. My, how time flys.

John

February 11th, 2011
3:20 pm

…I want to see a Lavin type hire. Look at ST Johns…they sucked last year….things can be turned around quick.

fully agree- I always thought Lavin could have been (the “first”) Cremins part deaux

Gordon

February 11th, 2011
3:22 pm

I just turned on the TV and saw a lot of people celebrating in the streets. For a moment I thought Hewitt had been fired but it just turned out to be that guy in Egypt had stepped down.

Onlooker

February 11th, 2011
3:24 pm

There is no doubt GT is a bad team with a bad coach, with ni influx of talent on the way. Everyone says Fox is a good coach, but he probably has the best talent he will ever have in Athens (lucked into it) and they are still just an average team in a weak conference. Looks like at leasat 3 or 4 more losses, and a trip to the NIT. So what makes Fox a good coach? No doubt the state of bball programs in GA is bad, and that includes uga.

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
3:24 pm

@Whiskey Clear Our baseball team operated on a razor thin budget and now has been given some financial support. What’s happend? 34-23 in 2010, 39-22 in 2009 and expected to win the conference and head to the NCAAs again. Let’s see how the vaunted Jackets fare in 2011 before you start yapping about baseball. We led the country in runs scored last year and have the bats to do it again. Oh yeah, our pitching improved so we’ll be shaving the ERA down a bit.

Yes, why wouldn’t we play in the Georgia Dome? We pay $70K per home game for 6 home games. I was a communications major but that’s good business. If draw 12,000 fans @ $10 per ticket we pay the lease completely. Now we know we draw more than that and our average ticket price is higher than $10. Play one FBS pay game per year and we continue to make money.

Alumni support is coming. My favorite little fun fact is that Georgia State’s largest athletic donor is GT undergrad. We have more Fortune 500 CEOs than the rest of the state schools combined. It’s like we just woke up in 2010. No room to build? The traditions started in 2010. We have record numbers of applicants because they want to come here. Georgia State is already a premiere research university and was rated as the #1 Law School for the money.

Again, we have a new President who gets athletics, an AD who has been in her job since March 2009 and has the athletic department back in the black. It’s our Time. We are Atlanta’s Team.

I'm Gumby, Dammit!!

February 11th, 2011
3:32 pm

Charlton Young must be a true disciple of the Paul Hewitt “coaching” tree.

umm

February 11th, 2011
3:34 pm

haha Gordan…..me too. I really think I might celebrate in the streets like that when he gets fired. I am one of the dedicated students that has been on the floor for most of these excruciating recent seasons…2008 and this year have been terrible. I dont blame the season ticket holders for not renewing…the only reason I go is the free tickets and to support the student athletes. Shumpert and Rice deserve so much better.

umm

February 11th, 2011
3:35 pm

Gordon* auto correct always gets me.