Georgia basketball's NCAA Tournament hopes may have suffered a fatal blow Saturday at Florida.
The Bulldogs lost to the Gators for the second time this season. The score Saturday was 70-63, a respectable margin especially considering Georgia trailed 30-12 late in the first half and 37-23 at halftime. The loss displayed everything wrong with the 2020-21 Georgia basketball squad.
A lack of size and physicality in the low post led to Florida blocking seven shots and out-rebounding Georgia 40-31. Georgia's over-reliance on three-point shooting proved costly again. The Bulldogs were 4 of 20 on outside shots. Georgia's best SEC games come when it shoots around 40 percent from long range.
Those issues are why Saturday's game was such a must-win for the Bulldogs. Bad or ugly losses and a weak non-conference schedule left Georgia in desperate need of quality wins.
Even in victory, Georgia rarely passes the "eye test." Against Vanderbilt, Georgia committed 21 turnovers and nearly lost to the worst team in the SEC. The Bulldogs needed a buzzer-beater to beat the worst Kentucky team of the last 50 years. They benefited from Ole Miss's poor shooting in both contests.
The Bulldogs had four chances in the last two weeks to stack quality wins, but could only muster the upset over Missouri on Feb. 16. Just one victory over Florida, Alabama or Tennessee could have repaired this team's reputation with the selection committee.
After losing three of its last four games, Georgia is 6-9 in SEC play and in danger of not earning a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs are No. 10 in the SEC standings and just a half-game ahead of Auburn.
Barring another surprise run in the SEC Tournament, Georgia's NCAA Tournament drought will stretch to six years. After taking the head coaching job with a lot of hype and promise in 2018, head coach Tom Crean will enter Year 4 on the hot seat.