Hoops insider: On Georgia State’s chances and UGA’s big win

The sight of Georgia outfighting his Gators galled Billy Donovan greatly. (AP photo)

The sight of Georgia outfighting his Gators galled Billy Donovan greatly. (AP photo)

Hoops Hysterics

1. Does Georgia State have a chance to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament? A chance, yes. The Panthers should handle Hofstra, seeded 11th, in the opener on Friday. Then would come No. 3 George Mason, as coached by Paul Hewitt, on Saturday. Then, assuming the seeds hold, would come No. 2 VCU on Sunday, and VCU is based in Richmond, which is the site of the event. And then No. 1 seed Drexel could await in Monday’s title tilt. I’d say that potential 3-2-1 parlay is a bit much to ask. I’d say it’s more likely Georgia State will lose in the semifinals. But I’ve been known to be wrong.

2. Georgia beat Florida on Saturday. A major shock? Yes and no. Georgia hasn’t been very good this season, but Florida is good in the way — it doesn’t defend much — that leaves it vulnerable to such upsets. You’ll recall that Tennessee, which doesn’t do anything but defend, swept the Gators. And surely you noted that Billy Donovan ripped his team after it lost 76-62 in Athens on Saturday, telling reporters: “I am really concerned if we will ever play with passion again.” As for the Bulldogs: It was nice to see that they haven’t quit on their season. They’ll lose at Kentucky on Thursday, but they should beat South Carolina on Saturday to finish 5-11 in league play.

3. Is Ohio State an NCAA tournament sleeper, or has it already nodded off? The Buckeyes are among the nation’s five most talented teams — the others: Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Kansas — and three weeks ago you could have made the case (indeed, I did) that this was as good a bet to win it all as anybody. But Ohio State has lost three of its past five, including home losses to Michigan State and Wisconsin, and Jared Sullinger has gone from being the preseason favorite for player of the year to seeming like just another guy. If this team figures it out, it could be dangerous. But it should have figured out something by now, don’t you think?

My Super Sweet Sixteen

1. Kentucky: Only two SEC teams since 1956 have gone unbeaten in league play. Both times (1996, 2003) it was Kentucky. One of those teams won it all.

2. Syracuse: Only a date with Louisville remains on this leg of Jim Boeheim’s last laps around the Big East. Boeheim was coaching Syracuse before there was a Big East.

3. Kansas: Dilemma time for ol’ MB. In spite of my stated declaration never again to pick KU to reach the Final Four, these Jayhawks look Final Four-worthy.

4. Duke: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Duke will play North Carolina on Saturday, and the winner stands to be the ACC regular-season champion.

5. Michigan State: The Spartans’ surge has left them in place to lose to both Indiana and Ohio State this week and still finish in a tie for the Big Ten title.

6. North Carolina: The Tar Heels gutted out a low-scoring (54-51) victory at Virginia, which hasn’t often happened with this score-big-or-else team.

7. Wichita State: The closest of the Shockers’ past six victories has been 13 points. If you’re looking for absolute best mid-major, here you are.

8. Missouri: The Tigers lost as many games (two) last week as in the season’s first three-plus months. That’s called going the wrong way at the wrong time.

9. Marquette: Of the Golden Eagles’ 13 Big East victories, only one has come against a team ranked in the Top 25. Which can happen in a 16-team league.

10. Murray State: The Racers will probably make the NCAA field even if they don’t win the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. But that’s no given.

11. Baylor: The Bears stopped their slide — they’d lost three of four, albeit to three very good teams — by winning at Texas and then beating Oklahoma.

12. Georgetown: The Hoyas began a big week by trouncing Notre Dame on Monday night. Saturday will bring an even bigger test: Marquette in Milwaukee.

13. Ohio State: How much money did Jared Sullinger cost himself by staying in school? He had eight points and six rebounds in Sunday’s loss to Wisconsin.

14. UNLV: The Rebels are tied with New Mexico and San Diego State atop the Mountain West, but no final-week showdown looms. They all play other schools.

15. Saint Mary’s: The Gaels claimed their first outright West Coast Conference crown since 1989. Which means Gonzaga didn’t win for the first time in 11 years.

16. Indiana: The Hoosiers have steadied after a midseason dip and have a chance to consolidate gains against Michigan State on Tuesday in Bloomington.

Dropped out: New Mexico, Florida, Florida State, Louisville.

By Mark Bradley

42 comments Add your comment

Me

February 28th, 2012
1:48 pm

Michael Carvell is a joke Bradley.

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
1:57 pm

Dang. Second.

Rickster

February 28th, 2012
1:57 pm

But that’s two seconds two days in a row.

Not bad. :-)

Goldenrod

February 28th, 2012
1:57 pm

No one, and I mean no one give’s a rat’s patooty about UGag basketball.

Heck, even we beat them this season and we are sucking badly.

We Run This State in basketball!

billy mac

February 28th, 2012
2:05 pm

nobody’s gonna say it so i’m gonna say it FIRST!

DetroitBraves

February 28th, 2012
2:15 pm

How much money did Sullinger cost himself? Not sure, but presumably less than James Forrest did.

Me

February 28th, 2012
2:16 pm

Sullinger will stay another year at OSU. People who knock kids for staying in school are the low or all lows. Reason #12978348723 Michael Carvell is a loser.

George Stein

February 28th, 2012
2:20 pm

Can’t imagine anyone is knocking them, Me. It is, however, often a dumb financial decision.

Interestingly, for many of the people who go pro to take the money, it’s the first and last wise financial decision they will ever make.

BigDawg

February 28th, 2012
2:32 pm

GoldenTool, can’t go a day without mentioning UGA, eh? Who’s your Daddy?! Keep on obsessing with Saint Simons, hahaha!!

Jimmy Crack

February 28th, 2012
2:41 pm

“…Georgia hasn’t been very good this season.”

Mark, toddlers are “not very good” walkers.

It’s not being bad as much as being freshmen. Besides our two Senior guards, Robinson and Ware, the rest are practically in their rookie seasons and just getting to know the playbook and the competition. Give them another year or two and they will be dancing in March.

Mark, if this team was laden with upper classmen, then I would whole heartedly agree with you. As they are right now, please call them “young” or “green”, but not “bad” or “not very good”. Thanks.

Steve

February 28th, 2012
2:43 pm

Kudos to “Me” for not typing “first!”

RCB

February 28th, 2012
2:52 pm

I am trying to remember the author’s state of origen.

Reese Bobby

February 28th, 2012
2:55 pm

Nice try Rickster, but If you ain’t first, you’re last.

Joey

February 28th, 2012
3:08 pm

Actually, you seem to care a great deal about UGA, nerd. You’re always on here.

GSU is in Atlanta

February 28th, 2012
3:27 pm

Next year will be a turnaround year for basketball in the State of Georgia. I think all of the programs in this state will be doing fine and probably 2-3 will be heading to the NCAA Tournament one year from now. This year we have had too many new coaches with new systems to implement, along with lots of freshmen players on most of the squads, minus GSU (who are almost all seniors).

I think GSU has a chance, at outside as it may be. Go Panthers!

PacificNW Dawg

February 28th, 2012
4:01 pm

Really looking forward to Mizzou entering the SEC next season. Kentucky is a program that has always been dishonest and now they have one of the sleaziest coaches in the business. Mizzou should be able to challenge UK which no other team is going to do anytime soon until Calipari leaves for the NBA again and UK is on probation.

Send'em Uhauls

February 28th, 2012
4:18 pm

UGA sports stinks. Fox was a joke of a hire and we lost to a pathetic SC team. Our baseball team is squeaking by mickey mouse teams. I not sold on our football team either. I think we lose to SC AGAIN, Florida and even maybe Yech this year. Our offensive line is going to stink as ususal.

Rod Barnes

February 28th, 2012
4:36 pm

GSU is 20-10 in the best mid-major conference in America in Ron Hunter’s first year. Big things coming for GSU hoops

Paul in NH

February 28th, 2012
5:07 pm

Mark,
I can’t argue much about your rankings but I’m not sure this is Boeheim’s final tour around the Big East. Unless they have $20MM in spare change lying around, I think Syracuse is in the Big East next year. Of course, the World Wide Leader might front the money to be able to promote Boeheim vs Coach K (oops – Syracuse vs Duke) and Dixon vs Ole Roy (oops – Pitt vs UNC).

GT Fan

February 28th, 2012
5:09 pm

GT won also. Thanks for not mentioning.

68-56

Skillet

February 28th, 2012
6:06 pm

Mr. Bradley,
Your pick for the Patriot League is…? Thanks.

LakeDawg

February 28th, 2012
6:07 pm

Jimmy Crack

They just aren’t very good. Fox is doing a helluva job coaching them up, but they have a very low ceiling. UGA needs more talent.

Georgia Sucks

February 28th, 2012
6:56 pm

Joey, get over it, redneck.

Mark Bradley

February 28th, 2012
7:00 pm

I’ll take Bucknell again in the Patriot League.

TechDawg

February 28th, 2012
7:45 pm

Ga State’s has two chances: slim and none. They are becoming legends in their own mind. The panthers will be sent scurrying back to Atlanta with their tails between their legs.

Greg

February 28th, 2012
10:02 pm

Chances are slim that Ga State will win more than one in the CAA tourney. The bottom half of the CAA is atricious so GSU should get by Hofstra. George Mason in the quarterfinals will be a virtual home game for Mason. The will be represented better than any team other than VCU. Drexel is the 1 seed, but I’d say it’s a 95% chance that one of the VA schools – VCU, GMU or ODU – wins the tourney.

pj

February 29th, 2012
2:03 am

1. The poor state of basketball support in Georgia is evident by the lack of comments here. Had the word “Richt” or “Recruiting” been in this subject line, there would be 300 comments by now.
2. Georgia has beaten 3 tourney bound teams this season, without much of a roster. That says to me that Coach Fox is the right guy.
3. One final 4 in program history means UGA is not the least bit relevant in the college basketball scene. We may as well not exist. The “tornado tourney” was amazing and someone should make a movie about it – but until we can get 2 or 3 TOP guys in a recruiting class – not just one (KPC) – we will continue to be irrelevant.
4. UGA COULD support a prosperous basketball program. I was there whn Tubby was running through Stegman high fiving the fans. I was there when Harrick and his crew were on the cusp of on the court greatness. The fans will put muscle behind a program they can believe in – but until there are back to back NCAA tourney appearances, nobody can blame season ticket holders, students or single game buyers from not going nuts or not showing up.
5. Allthat being said – Go Dawgs. Let’s shock the world and pull an upset in Lexington. Caldwell scores 30? I can dream.

Holy Smoke

February 29th, 2012
5:31 am

BLAH BLAH BLAH get your DWAG shirt out and woof yourself a new job!

tjhook

February 29th, 2012
6:21 am

If you like college basketball, the Atlantic Sun tournament will be held from today until Saturday with a NCAA tournament bid on the line. Mercer is the host school and has a decent chance to win the tourney. Either way, this is where March Madness is beginning. Make the 45 to 50 minute drive and check out some tournament ball

tjhook

February 29th, 2012
6:23 am

And whether you like him or not, mike carvell has significantly raised the high school coverage by the AJC’s sports staff.

STATEment

February 29th, 2012
8:05 am

As a GSU fan, I fear Hofstra in the first round. I haven’t liked the way our guys have been playing down the stretch. I get the feeling we could beat anyone and lose to anyone. That being said, I think it would be a great cap to a fine season if State could find a way to pull at least one upset in the tournament. A one and done or a second round loss to Mason would be kind of a let down after the season long hype. I am pumped for the future though.

midway

February 29th, 2012
8:28 am

GSU split season series against Drexel and VCU 1-1. They are in it until, or unless, they let down.

GeorgiaState1913

February 29th, 2012
8:32 am

GSU has a fairly good chance of winning the CAA tourney. We have already beaten the #1 and #2 seeds this season, by 14 points and 2 points respectively…and we lost to #3 seed George Mason by one possession because of some questionable calls in the last 2 minutes of the game. Yes, we have the potential to win. Will we? It will be tight… I hope the seniors can at least get to the semi’s.

Hurricane

February 29th, 2012
8:50 am

Amazing that GA State, Savannah State, and Mercer are the three best basketball teams in GA this year.

JSS

February 29th, 2012
8:56 am

Mark Bradley
February 28th, 2012
7:00 pm
“I’ll take Bucknell again in the Patriot League.”

Be careful, Lehigh beat them at home. That same Lehigh team lost by only 8 at Michigan State… That is a game to watch if they both make it to Patriot League championship game!

Ted Striker

February 29th, 2012
10:26 am

Good column, Mark. Thank you for your continued excellence.

Peach Fuzz

February 29th, 2012
10:27 am

Yo Mark? Do you think UK would have most NCAA wins if they would have played Duke 2-3 times each yr over past 25 years like UNC did? Duke has clearly had a better team than UK during this period, and UK would logically had at least 25 fewer wins than they do if this were the case. Weigh in pls. UNC would have most wins had UK had to play Duke.

Buckeye

February 29th, 2012
11:12 am

The Womans Soccer player who got caught lifting $1.06 worth of hash browns in one fine dog.

You wouldn’t catch a Ladies gym dog doing that.

BulldogBen

March 1st, 2012
11:22 pm

Absolutely embarrassed tonight. A Fox Era low point. National audience.

BulldogBen

March 2nd, 2012
9:59 am

Peach Fuzz, Duke has 3 titles to UK’s 2 in that period. How have they “clearly” been heads and shoulders better? Your logic would also dictate that if Duke had to play UK, THEY would also have 25 fewer wins. The bottom half of the ACC has been terrible the last 15 years. UK has also had to deal with Nolan Richardson’s Arkansas teams, Billy Donovan’s Florida teams, and the early 90’s LSU teams with Shaq and Chris Jackson during this time period. To just say if they played Duke and they’d wouldn’t have the most NCAA wins is utterly ridiculous.

Stateside

March 2nd, 2012
12:29 pm

Looking for great things from the Panthers and Bears this weekend. My hopes are high for both of them.

Richard

March 4th, 2012
1:02 pm

Why do you have IU and OSU in “sweet 16″ and not Wisconsin who beat both teams in recent games?