A conference tournament run for Tech? No. For UGA? Maybe

Georgia wrong-footed Tennessee once already. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Georgia has wrong-footed Tennessee once already this season. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Hoops Hysterics

1. Does Georgia Tech have a chance to make a run in the ACC tournament? A run, no. Tech hasn’t won consecutive games since before Christmas. It might, however, upset Miami on Thursday night. The Jackets lost to the Hurricanes at Philips Arena by 15 points in January, but Tech has steadied a bit over the season’s final fortnight. (Heck, it actually won twice at Philips, where it had been 1-7.) That said, Miami needs to win a couple of games this week to play itself into the NCAA field, so the Hurricanes won’t take their Round 1 opponent lightly.

2. Does Georgia have a chance to make a run in the SEC tournament? Oddly enough, yes. The Bulldogs open with a desperate opponent in Mississippi State, but Georgia beat the maroon Bulldogs in Starkville last month. Then UGA would play Vanderbilt, which traditionally bombs in this event, and the winner of that game could face second-seeded Tennessee in the semis. (That’s correct: Tennessee tied Vandy and Florida for second and won the seeding tiebreaker. Cuonzo Martin did a great coaching job.) Georgia has already beaten Tennessee, too. And what if Florida would upset Kentucky in the semis?

3. How did Paul Hewitt fare in his first season at George Mason? He inherited two starters off a team that reached the final 32 of last season’s NCAA tournament. Picked to finish second in the Colonial, the Patriots wound up third to Drexel and VCU. They beat Georgia State in the CAA quarterfinals Saturday on what appeared to be a nicely designed play (dribble penetration off a high double screen). Then they made nine turnovers in the first nine minutes of Saturday’s semi and fell behind VCU 22-0 and 32-4 before losing 74-64. At 24-9, George Mason figures to make the NIT. By Mason standards, that’s only an OK season.

My Super Sweet Sixteen

1. Kentucky: The unbeaten SEC season didn’t exactly have a difficult final lap. The Wildcats beat Georgia by 30 points, then won at Florida by 15.

2. Syracuse: The joys of  finishing first in the 16-team Big East. Eight tournament games will be played before the Orange tips off in Madison Square Garden.

3. Kansas: Jayhawks fans should be warned. I’m starting to think Kansas might be the best team in the country. Whenever I do, KU loses its next game.

4. North Carolina: The Tar Heels looked like the best team in the country in routing Duke. Trouble is, Carolina doesn’t always play with such focused fury.

5. Missouri: Eleven months ago I thought Frank Haith was an absolutely terrible hire. Today I’m thinking he deserves to be national coach of the year.

6. Murray State: After winning the Ohio Valley tournament, coach Steve Prohm said his Racers deserve a No. 2 NCAA seed. They won’t get one, alas.

7. Ohio State: Just when folks were starting to doubt the Buckeyes’ toughness, they won at Northwestern and Michigan State on last-second baskets.

8. Duke: The 24-point halftime deficit against North Carolina was Duke’s largest ever in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Good thing the ACC tournament is here, huh?

9. Michigan State: Wait a second. Aren’t Tom Izzo’s teams supposed to peak in March? This one just lost by 15 at Indiana and to Ohio State in East Lansing.

10. Michigan: Folks are loving this in Ann Arbor. Michigan State’s final-week slide enabled the unassuming Wolverines to grab a piece of the Big Ten title.

11. Marquette: The Golden Eagles took second in the Big East after a wild week — an 11-point loss at Cincinnati followed by a 14-point thumping of Georgetown.

12. Wichita State: Bubble teams hated the Shockers. Their one-point loss in the Missouri Valley semis could have cost some big-name school an NCAA bid.

13. Georgetown: Oh, the indignity! The Hoyas’ loss at Marquette dropped them to fourth in the Big East behind Notre Dame, whom they’d just beaten.

14. Saint Mary’s: The Gaels defeated Gonzaga in the West Coast final Monday night. The two had split earlier games; the third was an overtime classic.

15. Indiana: It took a while, but Tom Crean finally has it going in Bloomington. His Hoosiers hurry into the Big Ten tournament on a four-game streak.

16. San Diego State: An overtime victory at TCU gave the Aztecs, who’d wasted an 18-point lead, a share of the Mountain West title with New Mexico.

Dropped out: Baylor, UNLV.

By Mark Bradley

86 comments Add your comment

tussin

March 6th, 2012
6:29 am

go back to bed mark is too early

Mark Bradley

March 6th, 2012
6:40 am

Good idea, tussin.

Mountain Dawg

March 6th, 2012
6:40 am

Dawgs and Nerds – one and done.

ormewood

March 6th, 2012
6:42 am

Mark, I know you’re a big college hoops fan and I respect that. Ranking Murray State #6, however, is absurd. Using your rankings, I would pick #7-15 to beat Murray on a neutral court.

Beast from the East

March 6th, 2012
7:07 am

“And what if Florida would upset Kentucky in the semis?”

Mark,
I’m a Gator and even I have to admit that’s not gonna happen. Did you not watch the 2 regular season games between UF and UK? The disparity in talent was like watching UF and UK play football. Not a chance UF upsets UK. Not a chance.

cattledawg

March 6th, 2012
7:45 am

What kind of crappy gift do I get to win this year in the Fiasco?

BobDawg

March 6th, 2012
7:46 am

When does Willie Wonka open up the Chocolate Factory this am?? MB needs to visit it and get a little more sugar in his system to dream up “runs” like this….

BobDawg

March 6th, 2012
7:47 am

I know UT’s Martin did a good job, but BP did not exactly leave the cupboard bare either.

atlvol55

March 6th, 2012
7:56 am

Mark:

Must be a slow sports day. I think it was you or Shultz who wrote an article similiar to this about three weeks ago. UGA I beleived got bombed the next day. Last week someone wrote an article about UGA was the last team to win at Rupp. UGA got blasted by 30.

With the exception of KY, the SEC is pretty awful this year. However, UGA has NO CHANCE at a run…they are horrible!

Bill

March 6th, 2012
7:57 am

Thanks Mark I was all set to pick KU in a number of my pools.I’ll now move on with Kentucky,Ohio St. and Missouri.

GT

March 6th, 2012
8:03 am

Notice how Hewitt still has problems handling the ball.

I saw very steady improvement in Tech this year. Kammeon Holsey has gone from a weak afterthought to a candidate for all conference next year. Daniel Miller, a UGA transfer, who barely got off the bench a year ago is the go to guy this year. It took him most of the season to get use to the attention but this kid will be playing at the next level. I think part of Hewitt’s problem was he never like players that didn’t have street cred. Along with Miller getting little attention, you had Matt Causey sitting on the bench in games he was red hot, in favor of a freshman guard who was clueless. Hewitt’s underground railroad came from the AAU and he feed it over the occasional talent that showed up on his doorstep from outside that system.

I watched Tanner Smith on senior day at Clemson. The people at his high school ,Wesleyan, begged Hewitt to come out and look at this kid who ended up being an academic all conference player. They could gin up no interest from Tech. Not sure that Tech coaching staff could have handled a kid that bright.

I think Tech beats Miami. It is playing at home on it’s home court. I think as always Mark has underestimated this team’s improvement. They are not sexy enough to get attention even from a reporter a block away, but they are arriving. They can’t win the tournament because they are literally playing walk ons that would be managers on any other team and have four games to do it, but this team is really improved so take notice.

Dogs Smell

March 6th, 2012
8:04 am

Good Lord that is a stretch ! Georgia was next to last in the SEC. No chance!

DIT

March 6th, 2012
8:14 am

MSU will not let the UGA beat them this time. I think that tech has a better chance to get through the 1st round than UGA. It’s no knock to UGA, I like CMF, The cupboards were bare this year and the team was young.

Paul in NH

March 6th, 2012
8:16 am

Neither GT nor UGA wins more than 1 game in the conference tourneys.
UK wins the SEC tourney – they are so much better than everyone else.
Duke wins the ACC tourney – K really wants to win it, Ole Roy not so much. Ole Roy has as many NC’s as ACC Tourney titles.
Who knows who will make the Final Four – the tourney is all about match ups and the brackets haven’t been filled yet.

Dogs Smell

March 6th, 2012
8:20 am

cupboards bare for UGA ? When has it been full? Tough to find kids to play at a school with as little history behind it as Uga. Young ? More excuses. Look at the youth of UT first year coach did a LOT more with equal talent.

DC

March 6th, 2012
8:26 am

each time MB backs up UGA they keep on losing…keep up the good work MB..

DIT

March 6th, 2012
8:33 am

Who are the “dark horse” teams that have that outside chance to go a long way in the NCAA’s this year?

GT

March 6th, 2012
8:41 am

Watch Tennessee another vastly different team than the beginning of the year. How do you give weight to a power rating when your best player was not even on the team till January? A team that lost to College of Charleston last year of this season and beats Vanderbilt last weekend to be the second seed. I watch this team through the year and wondered if anybody reporting basketball was awake.

It use to be you put a team in a box and that is where they stayed. This is the era of parity. Good coaching makes the difference. An improved team through a season is a sign of good coaching. Good coaching a difference maker in parity. Reporting on sports is now a moving target. The Big East was the hot thing last year. Blew up my brackets buying into it. What else blows up my brackets is the west teams. Who is strong out there, who is the sleeper? Notice not one west team in Bradley’s top ten. I bet it is not St. Mary but who knows, maybe they don’t play basketball out west, or maybe we just have early bedtimes.

Steve

March 6th, 2012
8:50 am

I didn’t know Tech still had a basketball team, let alone a football team. I thought Georgia State’s football team replaced them?

DIT

March 6th, 2012
8:51 am

@GT

I hear ya. I’m trying to figure out how to fill out my bracket as well. I have not followed as much as I normally do.
I’m just picking you folks brains to see what y’all think will be the sleepers and the pretenders.

ramblingbuzz

March 6th, 2012
9:01 am

Please Mark, get a grip. Neither GT or UGA is going to make any noise in the conference tournament.

DIT

March 6th, 2012
9:03 am

Is UK the real deal this year? I see that they are undefeated in the SEC. However, that was not a real big task this year. SEC was not as strong this year from my viewpoint. What was there Non-Conference schedule like?

NoCoach Blewitt

March 6th, 2012
9:12 am

Nice to see Hewitt is still gonna Hewitt … In two more years George Mason will be thrilled to make the NIT.

BobDawg

March 6th, 2012
9:13 am

DOGSSMELL…. Let’’s see we went to the Big Dance with our 2 studs last year and Fox inherited them like Cuonzo did his team this year… Let’s see how far he gets IF he makes the big dance…all I said is Pearl had the program rocking and he inherited a good situation.

I got one

March 6th, 2012
9:15 am

@Steve: Don’t you get cable/internet/or newspaper delievered to that trailer of yours? Or you must not know how to read. Sorry about that bud!

bubba4dawgs

March 6th, 2012
9:17 am

what are you smokin, Mark?

GT

March 6th, 2012
9:19 am

UK has great talent but don’t they run out of steam every year around the final eight or four. They are always so young. When the pressure picks up they start doing uncoached things like taking long three pointers with 1 second off the play clock. You just never know when the brains will cut off and the street will cut in.

The reason Butler does so well every year is it is a drill team of ordinary athletes that go about their business heads down unselfish. They eventually lose to a team that has a superstar that takes over a game in the finals. I think that team this year is UNC and I think that player is Barnes. He is a second year player that has been there done that and is not blinded by youth. He has a cast of vets on his roster where he is not the sole shoulders. Any RW has proven he can coach at tournament time.

The Big 10 is real. They may be the strongest conference this year. They play, as a whole, good fundamental basketball, good defense and tough as nails. A lot of their success will depend on the kind of game the refs are calling that day. And someone out west who is staring us in the face will show up, we just don’t know who and I will be researching this weekend.

Big Crimson 75

March 6th, 2012
9:23 am

Is that “Pistol” Pete reincarnated @ UT !

Buzz

March 6th, 2012
9:26 am

Jackets and Redneck Criminals – One and Done!

UK2K

March 6th, 2012
9:32 am

@ DIT
UK beat Kansans, UNC, Louisville,& Loyola (MD) – all are tournament teams – in non-conference games. Other non-conference wins were Old Dominion, St. Johns, & Penn State. Only loss was last second prayer @ Indiana. And the team has gotten much better since all of these games at beginning of the year

Dogs Smell

March 6th, 2012
9:38 am

Yes Georgia went to the dance. How often does that happen and who was that that Uga lost to in the first game?

Dogs Smell

March 6th, 2012
9:43 am

Bobdawg- How long has Fox been at GA ? What has Uga gotten out of it? Not much. Yes Pearl did a lot but also hurt UT a lot. (He will return to UT). Georgia on the other hand continues to make excuses. Just like football.

collegeballfan

March 6th, 2012
9:44 am

Tech will not make a run. Nor will Tech have a middle of the pack year next year. But I expect 2013-2014 to be a solid year. If they can recruit a top point guard in the nexy recruiting class they will be even better.

The 2013-2014 team should be:

Reed
Bolden
Poole
Morris
Hunt
Holsey
Royal
Miller
Hicks
Carter
Plus that elusive PG.

That should be a solid experienced team.

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
10:01 am

Look at the ’stache on #13 in that picture. Is there a more perfect player for Tennessee than that?

JackDennis

March 6th, 2012
10:07 am

A reach, Mark. Even for you.

Dogs Smell

March 6th, 2012
10:07 am

George Stein,
Georgia doesnt have a single player as good as the Stache !

A Father

March 6th, 2012
10:24 am

Chip Towers gives in to Georgia AD forces to remove football comments on his articles because they are not nice. Chip Towers, grow a pair, either be a real reporter and stand behind those that read your articles and post or take a job tweeting for espn like a few other weak links.

beanster

March 6th, 2012
10:37 am

@A Father — You presume to know a lot of things. Problem is, you’re wrong. My guess is that due to the sensitive nature of some of the items listed in the top 10, Chip opted to not allow comments just so the numerous sleazebags that post here (I am looking directly at you) aren’t able to take cheap shots at them just to satisfy their desire to rip anything related to UGA.

You’re a father? I feel sorry for your kid.

GT

March 6th, 2012
10:48 am

I really think Tech will win one game in the tournament and be vastly improved next year. I too wish they got a play making point guard and don’t see one on the horizon. Mfon Udofia is improving and may be that man next year. The kid is a good ball handler and drives well, he is just eaten up with the Hewitt and does not see the playing field yet but is getting much better.

Did anyone watch the Davidson game last night. Did you notice the foul shooting percentage. Hewitt never concerned himself about foul shooting. He thought an athletic guy good on defense could make up for horrible foul shooting and he was wrong. Davidson is not very good on defense, not bad but Tech is a better defensive team both this year and last. Lets see how far they go in the tournament on fundamentals. I think they are Butler this year.

Falcaints

March 6th, 2012
10:48 am

Imagine that another “homer” article about the Dawgs.

Kelvin

March 6th, 2012
11:03 am

No, neither GT or UGA will make a run. What have you seen from either team this year that would make you even ask that question?

Mark Bradley

March 6th, 2012
11:05 am

Oh, I don’t know. Probably about the same things I saw from Georgia in 2008.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 6th, 2012
11:14 am

@ beanster, either you have never read a Tech blog, or you’re just stupid. UGA trolls get away with posting anything they want to say on a Tech blog, but there are “sleazebags” who take “cheap shots” on Chip Towers’ blog and get blocked??? Get a life, you homer.

beanster

March 6th, 2012
11:28 am

Cry me a river, Super. My comment had nothing to do with Tech. I don’t think that guy is a Tech fan. In fact, I am pretty sure he is a pseudo Dawg fan. I agree that the Tech blog is inundated with trolls who are just looking to instigate childish diatribe with Tech fans. I don’t condone that as much as I don’t condone the many Tech trolls (e.g. SMART, 5150, Koolaide Bar, etc) who come on Chip’s blog to do the same thing.

You’re pretty sensitive, buddy. Take a deep breath. Why you let childish comments from anonymous posters get under skin, I have no idea.

beanster

March 6th, 2012
11:32 am

Sup, take the time to read Chip’s ten@10. You’ll understand why I think “A Father” should stick it up his rear.

Have a great day!

Supersize that order, mutt

March 6th, 2012
11:34 am

beanster, it sounds like you’re the one who is a little sensitive. After all you defended Chip Towers for blocking what you consider offensive remarks. That would say that both he and you let them get under your skins. All I am saying is that the AJC constantly proves it doesn’t care who says what on a Tech blog, but let anybody say something critical on some of the UGA blogs, and they get blocked or banned.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 6th, 2012
11:35 am

beanster, I never read Chip’s blogs or any other blogs solely devoted to UGA. If there is a blog which more-or-less shares info on both schools (such as this one), then I read it, but I have no interest whatsoever with what happens in Athens or with anybody connected to Athens.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 6th, 2012
11:39 am

Chip Towers apparently banned one poster for pointing out that S Hill is moving up in the draft and tha O Charles is moving down. Why would that be considered a “cheap shot” by a “sleazebag”?

beanster

March 6th, 2012
11:44 am

You mean SMART? Chip bans him because he has absolutely nothing to add to the conversation. His sole purpose in life is to annoy Dawg fans.If you think his comments are as innocent as you say then you are sorely mistaken. Personally, I don’t care about trolls who are merely trying to instigate arguments. I will, however, let my opinion be known to someone who thinks they know everything when in actuality, they know nothing. Believe me, I won’t get too worked up about it though.

Why don’t you appeal to Ken to start blocking the Dawg trolls if it bothers you so much?

Supersize that order, mutt

March 6th, 2012
11:49 am

beanster, Ken says, and I have no reason not to believe him, that he has to turn over requested bans to somebody higher up. Apparently the AJC gives Chip free reins to do whatever he wants to do. I don’t know who “SMART” is, so I have no idea what he posts, but why would a comparison between S Hill and O Charles merit being banned? Another Tech blogger (and a more knowledgeable one than I) said he got blocked for correcting an error that Chip made concerning which conference Memphis is in. How is that being a sleazebag taking cheap shots?