Georgia Basketball: SEC Tournament up Next, Path to NIT is clear
Just like that, regular season play in college basketball has come to an end. The 2020 SEC Tournament in Nashville kicks off Wednesday. After the Bulldogs' (15-16) regular-season record (5-13 SEC record), Georgia has earned itself the #13 seed and the right to redeem themselves against Ole Miss.
Ole Miss also finished the season at (15-16), winning one more conference game than Georgia. The two teams met back in January, where the Rebels took down the Bulldogs, 70-60 inside Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia shot just 30.9% from the field.
Georgia comes into the matchup as a 2.5 point underdog and has been given a 40% chance to win by ESPN's Basketball Power Index.
(The Bulldogs will be without knockdown shooter, Tyree Crump due to illness.)
The fun in the SEC Tournament for Georgia this year is having the chance to revenge a loss back in the regular season, which Georgia will have an opportunity to do not once, but three times, if they avoid elimination.
Wednesday: vs. #12 Ole Miss
Thursday: vs. #5 Florida (if UGA defeats Ole Miss)
Friday: vs. #4 Mississippi State (if UGA defeats Ole Miss and Florida)
The opportunity for redemption should be enough motivation. The chance to earn a post-season bid should only increase the intensity from Tom Crean's guys.
After going 11-21 in year one under Tom Crean, the Bulldogs increased that win total by 4 in year two. Even with a losing record at the moment, Georgia could still be in play for a bid in the NIT. Yes, there is a small chance the Bulldogs run the table and earn an automatic bid by winning the SEC Tournament. But to keep a more realistic point of view, the Bulldogs could leave Nashville with a few wins, and continue play throughout the month of March, even if it's not in the NCAA Tournament.
Many of the lower-seeded teams in the NIT bracket projections are just above .500. If Georgia could find a way to win in the first two rounds of SEC Tournaments, they would likely be in the 2020 NIT Tournament.
Wins over Ole Miss and Florida would have the Bulldogs finishing at 17-17 on the season, along with two more impressive wins to add to the resume.
Georgia's Resume (prior to SEC Tournament):
Key wins: at Memphis, vs. Tennessee, vs. Auburn, vs. Arkansas
(Given the hypothetical situation, Florida would also be considered a key win.)
That's a pretty impressive resume for a team that finished below .500 in the regular season. And while it's not known whether or not Anthony Edwards would play in the NIT or not, politics could be on Georgia's side if they were to be in consideration for a bid.
Georgia takes on Ole Miss tonight at 7:00 PM EST on SEC Network.
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