This will sound a little weird, but it’s a Bradley post so whaddaya expect? I’m asking a question, the nub of which is: Can a team with an 11-12 record really be having a better season than one that’s 17-8?
Wait, wait. Hear me out. The 11-12 team is Georgia; the 17-8 team is Tech. And to offer a real answer, don’t we have to consider more than just won-lost records? Don’t we have to consider …
Expectations: Georgia was picked to finish last in the six-team SEC East and is indeed in last place at 3-7; Tech was picked to finish fourth in the 12-team ACC and, at 5-6, stands eighth.
Polls: Georgia has been unranked all season; Tech was ranked 22nd in the Associated Press preseason poll and 20th in the coaches’ poll but dropped out of both Monday.
Personnel: Georgia starts a former walk-on (Ricky McPhee); Tech starts three McDonald’s All-Americans (Gani Lawal, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Favors).
Player development: Georgia guard Travis Leslie averaged 6.3 points a freshman but is averaging 14.5 in his first year under Fox and is projected by NBAdraft.net as the 23rd player on its 2011 mock; Tech forward Favors was rated the nation’s No. 1 recruit by Scout.com last season but is averaging 9.7 points in ACC play and has slipped from being the second player listed on NBAdraft.net’s 2010 mock to the seventh.
Personnel utilization: Georgia’s two best players, Leslie and forward Trey Thompkins, average 10.7 and 13. 2 shots per game, respectively; Tech’s two best players, Favors and Lawal, average 7.5 and 9.2 shots, respectively.
Depth: Georgia’s seventh man, center Chris Barnes, averages 2.8 points; Tech’s eighth man, guard Glen Rice Jr., averages 4.5 points.
Stability: Mark Fox is in his first season at Georgia; Paul Hewitt is in his 10th at Tech.
Head-to-head: Georgia beat Tech 73-66 in Athens on Jan. 5.
Signature wins: Georgia has beaten three teams (Tech, Tennessee and Vanderbilt) that were ranked when the game was played; Tech has beaten three (Duke, North Carolina and Clemson).
Bad losses: Georgia lost to Wofford at home, lost by 28 points at Missouri and was routed at Florida and Auburn; only Tech’s loss at Duke has come by more than 10 points.
Road records: Georgia is 0-8; Tech is 3-6.
RPI: Georgia is 90th; Tech is 29th.
Strength of schedule: Georgia’s is rated the 11th-toughest nationally; Tech’s is 12th.
Probable final regular-season record: Assuming Georgia beats Florida in Athens and LSU in Baton Rouge, it should finish 14-15; assuming Tech wins its three remaining home games, it should finish 20-10.
Probable destination: Georgia will do well to make the NIT; Tech would have to mess up not to reach the NCAA.
Conclusion: Tech has better players and still figures to go further but hasn’t really done much yet; Georgia entered just hoping not to be embarrassed but has beaten four teams (Illinois is the fourth) that stand to make the NCAA field. And Georgia did beat Tech. All things considered, the Bulldogs have had, at least to date, the better season.