A Desperate Georgia Basketball Squad Travels to Tuscaloosa


Georgia must beat Alabama Saturday in Tuscaloosa to regain its spot inside the NCAA tournament bubble. 

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It could be coincidence that the Tide is winless in the NCAA Tournament since Nick Saban came to Alabama. The last time Alabama won an NCAA game was actually in the first round of 2006 when the Tide beat Marquette. In fact, Alabama has reached the NCAA Tourney only once since 2006 – in 2012.

On the other hand, Georgia’s basketball record since the arrival of Mark Richt is less than noteworthy.

On Saturday, football powers Georgia and Alabama will play basketball and the question is as much who will care as who will win.

This Georgia basketball team better care, and play for 40 minutes like they care, as there is no doubt the benefits of three months of excellent basketball are about to be sent to the curb with the trash.

Head Coach Anthony Grant became Alabama head coach in 2009. Grant previously served as head coach at VCU in 2006-2009, and as an assistant on Billy Donovan’s Florida staff from 1996 – 2006. Grant played collegiately career at the University of Dayton from 1983-87.

Grant has won his fair share of games at Alabama including three straight 20-win seasons and with a record of 86-52 (.623) during his four years with the Tide.

But this year, Alabama is playing for an NIT berth and pride – just like Auburn and South Carolina.

The Bulldog Cagers should take note of Coach Grant’s comments to Natalie Pierre of AL.com  following the Tide’s win against arch-rival Auburn in Auburn.

“I thought they really battled, showed a lot of heart and determination. Really happy for our seniors – Levi (Randolph) and Rodney Cooper being able to get the sweep of our in-state rival their last game here. To be able to come out with the win I thought our guys really rallied; got a lot of great efforts out of a lot of people.”

The Dawgs lacked opening half fight and determination against two lesser teams – South Carolina and Auburn.  If the Bulldogs do not regain their trade resilience, an NCAA Tournament bid will be lost.

Levi Randolph, a 6’5” senior guard, leads the Tide. Randolph scores 15 points a game shooting 50% from the field. Junior Guard Ricky Tarrant, 6’2”, scores 13 a night.

The Alabama RPI is 67 and the Tide is a tough draw for the Dawgs. But despite the failures of the last two opening halves, the Dawgs still defend better than Alabama 39.3% to 41.6% field goal percentage defense, and score more than Alabama 69 points per game to 67.3 points per game, against a tougher schedule, Georgia SOS 35, Alabama SOS 51.

The advantage for Alabama will be the home court and Big Mo.  With the Tide coming off a big rivalry win on the road, momentum will wear home whites at the tip. But these Bulldogs have it in them to win this road game and get back in the good good graces of the NCAA Tourney Committee.

Winning will take resilience and determination – something the Dawgs had in ample supply  to weeks ago.