GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hello. This is the week I was scheduled to check in on the Braves at spring training in Orlando, and it just worked out that there was a pretty good college basketball game tonight on the way.
Georgia, which I think will have a strong enough resume to get into the NCAA tournament, nonetheless has a chance to remove some of the doubt tonight when it faces 13th ranked Florida at the O’Connell Center (7 p.m., ESPN2).
This will be a significant test for the Bulldogs, who are coming off a huge 69-63 road victory at Tennessee (whose athletic department before long I believe will officially become an extension of San Quentin. The Volunteers’ football, basketball and baseball programs all have been under NCAA investigation.)
The Dogs (18-8) have shown that they can play with Florida (21-5), having lost to them in double overtime at Stegeman Coliseum last month, when a desperation 30-footer by the Gators’ Erving Walker at the end of the first overtime tied it. But Florida has won five straight and eight of its last nine since a surprising home loss to South Carolin.
Georgia catches a break in that forward Chandler Parsons, the Gators’ leading rebounder, is expected to miss his second straight start with a thigh bruise, although he could see some playing time.
OK, here’s the latest on the Dogs’ tournament chances. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, in his latest “Bracketology,” lists Georgia among the “most talked about bubble teams” at No. 41 overall. Here’s what he wrote:
Playing in the tougher SEC East, the Bulldogs can survive a loss at Alabama if they can pull the upset at Florida on Thursday night. Georgia has been a .500 team since mid-January and is far from secure without at least one more quality win on its resume.
In Lunardi’s most recent projected bracket from Monday, he has Georgia as a No. 10 seed in the East Regional with a first-round match-up against Washington.
That’s it for now. I’ll be live blogging as much as possible during the game while trying to work on the post-game column. Have any thoughts on tonight’s game?