LIVE BLOG: Georgia tries to strengthen NCAA tourney bid

An early shot from Columbia Life Arena. I'm assuming a few fans show up.

An early shot from Colonial Life Arena. I'm assuming a few fans will show up.

COLUMBIA, S.C.  — Georgia is back in Columbia for its second important SEC game in five months. Fortunately, this time the Bulldogs won’t have to worry about Marcus Lattimore.

The Bulldogs, hoping to strengthen their standing in the conference and the NCAA tournament picture, face struggling South Carolina today. The challenge for the basketball team seems less daunting than it was for the football team, which lost to the Gamecocks almost five months ago to the day (Sept. 11), the first of four straight defeats. (Lattimore rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-6 South Carolina win.)

Mark Fox’s team needs this game. The Dogs (16-7, 5-4) already have lost four SEC games, and in their next three after South Carolina face Vanderbilt (home), Tennessee (road) and Florida (road) — all teams they’ve lost to this season.  With seven games remaining before the conference tournament, Georgia probably needs to go at least 4-3 and finish 9-7 in the SEC to get into the NCAA tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently projects the Dogs as an 11th seed in the S0utheast Regional.

This is a game a legitimate tournament team should win. South Carolina (13-9, 4-5) has lost four of its last five games, including the last two to Vanderbilt  by 18 and Florida by 19. The Gamecocks rank 11th in conference in scoring defense, eighth in scoring offense, 10th in field goal percentage for both offense and defense and 12th in free throw percentage.

If you missed it, our Tim Tucker had a good piece by on forward Trey Thompkins, last season’s SEC player of the year, who has struggled at times this season in part because of injuries and illiness. (Thompkins was suffering from a virus last week and required an IV before the Auburn game last Saturday). An excerpt from Tim’s story:

In Georgia’s past four games, Thompkins averaged 12.8 points, down from 17.6 previously this season and 17.7 last season. He also averaged 3.8 baskets made from the field during the slump, which began with a 2-for-10 performance at Kentucky on Jan. 29. And from 3-point range, he’s 1-for-13 in the past four games to drop to 11-for-50 on the season.

“I definitely know I can step up my game a lot,” Thompkins said Friday, “and I plan to.”

That’s it for now. Win this and Georgia remains on track for a tournament bid. Lose and things get a little desperate. I’ll be live blogging from opening tip off.

By Jeff Schultz

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

182 comments Add your comment

Jordan

February 12th, 2011
3:26 pm

Jordan

February 12th, 2011
3:26 pm

And Go Gamecocks!

Coach(sic) Paul Johnson

February 12th, 2011
3:33 pm

Georgia Tech has lost 5 of their last 6 football games, only beating Duke.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
3:38 pm

Final score from Nashville: Vanderbilt 81, Kentucky 77. So here are the SEC East standings going into the game:
Florida 8-2 (home vs. Tenn later)
Vanderbilt 6-5
Georgia 5-4
Tennessee 5-4 (at Florida later)
Kentucky 5-5
South Carolina 4-5

D A DoubleU G

February 12th, 2011
3:49 pm

I really think the Dawgs will go into the SEC tourney needed to win it to make the dance.

I do think there is progress being shown in the program. Unfortunately Travis Leslie will go pro (deservedly), and Thompkins wil go pro prematurely never to be seen or heard from again unless you live in a small town in Eastern Spain, where he and Ricky Rubio will be a lifetime Euro-League tandem.

Things are not where we want them and a lot is left to be desired. But in due time Mark Fox will have this program in the right spot to compete yearly.

MUST win today, and MUST win from here on out.

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
3:52 pm

#1 Ohio State is losing to Wisconsin – 2 minutes left. Wisc. 65 – OS 59

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
3:54 pm

The Dawgs are all healthy, and had no busing incidents, nor weather issues. They will light it up and win by 9… I hope. Just hit the foul shots – that should be the difference.

Bgdawg

February 12th, 2011
3:56 pm

Georgia tech beat duke??

Einsteindawg

February 12th, 2011
3:57 pm

I am neither a Kentucky nor Vanderbilt fan, but Vandy has a huge advantage playing in their gym. I think they have won almost 80% of their home games played in that arena. Playing in it once a year is unnerving…you feel like you’re going to fall off the floor.

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:02 pm

Ohio State Lost at Wisconsin – Final: Wisc. 71 – #1 Ohio State 67

Now, let’s go Dawgs! Bring home a win today!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jordan Smith, Tennessee Vols News, JasonG, Kimberly Jones, Alyssa and others. Alyssa said: LIVE BLOG: Georgia tries to strengthen NCAA tourney bid: The challenge for the basketball team seems less daunti… http://bit.ly/hAi4Es [...]

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:05 pm

Carolina has missed at least its first 4 shots.

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:06 pm

Dawgs look a step faster than SC, and playing better defense. If they keep the intensity up, they’ll be fine.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:09 pm

Five minutes in. SC can’t hit a thing. Dogs up 6-0 at timeout (15:11). Unofficially: Dogs 3-7, SC 0-7.

BobDawg

February 12th, 2011
4:09 pm

@ Double A …. Travis Leslie and Thompkins still aren’t ready to go pro.. No Way.. We will win both SC games and LSU and then have to win one of the other tough ones to hit 20 wins….. Have to just win one or 2 in the SeC tourney and we are dancing…..

Tech Stinger

February 12th, 2011
4:10 pm

And no wonder why this blog is a shame because Georgia’s football and basketball teams are a joke. Go ask Washon Ealey

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:12 pm

Dang… over 6 minutes in and SC hasn’t scored.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:12 pm

Leslie with the flying jam on rebound.

BobDawg

February 12th, 2011
4:12 pm

….Stinger… don’t we play you guys a couple more times this year…Puleeze??????

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:13 pm

Anybody want to post and over/under on when South Carolina scores?

ugadawg4ever

February 12th, 2011
4:13 pm

@Tech Stinger ….. Our football and basketball teams still beat your school’s ass though.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:13 pm

BobDawg

February 12th, 2011
4:14 pm

…Ellington is hurt… Goodnight SC!!!!

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:15 pm

South Carolina officially missed its first nine shots.

Tech Stinger

February 12th, 2011
4:15 pm

Bobdawg….. Please spell your words correctly and stop using your uga grammar skills.

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:17 pm

Brantley with a trey – let’s get him going!!

Tech Stinger

February 12th, 2011
4:17 pm

ugadawg4ever…..GT is about conference titles and NC. When is the last time UGA won the SEC in football or basketball.

todd grantham

February 12th, 2011
4:18 pm

Jeffrey, can this hold up for 40 minutes??

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:19 pm

Tech Stinger – snappy comeback. Guess you like hanging out with the better Georgia blog today, huh?

Hang in there – UGA will make these blogs sing the next few years in all 3 major sports.

todd grantham

February 12th, 2011
4:19 pm

Georgia will get to 30 before USC gets to 12.

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:20 pm

Tech Stinger
GT is about conference titles and NC.

Won’t be happening for you guys for a long, long time.

Tech Stinger

February 12th, 2011
4:21 pm

Tech Stinger – snappy comeback. Guess you like hanging out with the better Georgia blog today, huh?

I am here because this blog needs some more life, is Georgia basketball really dead?? I guess that is a yes.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:21 pm

Todd, if this pace holds up, Dogs will win 60-12.

todd grantham

February 12th, 2011
4:21 pm

crowd sure has gotten quiet

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:22 pm

Airball on a layup…. That’s bad.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:22 pm

We’re all wondering how this team beat Florida.

Tech Stinger

February 12th, 2011
4:22 pm

Barkin’Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:20 pm
Tech Stinger
GT is about conference titles and NC.

Won’t be happening for you guys for a long, long time.

We almost won the ACC in basketball last year, where was Georgia??? Won the ACC in football the other year, how about the party school?

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:23 pm

todd grantham
Georgia will get to 30 before USC gets to 12.

Roundball is a lot different than most sports. Ask Wisconsin… they trailed #1 Ohio St. by 15 with 5-6 minutes left and won the game. SC will make a run sooner or later.

todd grantham

February 12th, 2011
4:26 pm

usc making a mini run

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:26 pm

@ Tech Stinger – The Dawgs were beating GT while you were playing in the ACC. Reverse the conferences and you’re singing a different tune. You know it, I know it. Every sports fan in America knows it.

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:27 pm

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:27 pm

Thompkins is still struggling — 0 for 3.

5150 UOAD

February 12th, 2011
4:29 pm

Dawgs are smoking the Gamecocks bad right now. USC could get run out of the building by halftime.

Barkin'Dog

February 12th, 2011
4:30 pm

Okay guys… this blog is slow, and I’m at the computer with a 19″ TV. So I’m going upstairs to the large HD for awhile. I’ll check back later… Go Dawgs!!

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:31 pm

South Carolina now 2 for 18 (0-8 from 3).

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:32 pm

Thompkins missed his first 5 shots before that J.

Bug Zapper

February 12th, 2011
4:32 pm

Tech Stinger…Shut your a$$…..Georgia B Ball is dead? As opposed to Paul Hewwitt and the boys who by the way havent had a winning record in the ACC since your fluke championship run…..And what are you now, 6 and 44 on the road……Come up with better game than you have……UGA is b-ball king in this state now…like it or not…

5150 UOAD

February 12th, 2011
4:35 pm

The Dawgs are running USC out of the building. This could be over at the Half.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:36 pm

This performance by South Carolina is just comical. Down 24-5 with less than 4 minutes left. Shooting 2 for 21.

Jeff Schultz

February 12th, 2011
4:42 pm

Boos starting to rain down. What took so long?