Georgia basketball: Bulldogs now have to win the SEC to make NCAA Tournament

After a frustrating loss to Texas A&M, Georgia basketball likely lost its chance to make the NCAA Tournament based on regular season wins.

Going into Saturday’s game with Texas A&M, Georgia basketball still had a chance to win its way into a low NCAA Tournament seed. But with a fourth-straight loss, the Dawgs dropped to 12-13 on the year and 2-10 in SEC play.

Georgia still had a chance based on its remaining schedule. The Bulldogs play Auburn (Feb. 19), South Carolina (Feb. 26), Florida (Mar. 4) and LSU (Mar. 7) over the next three weeks. Wins in those four games, as well as against Texas A&M on Saturday (Feb. 15), Vanderbilt (Feb. 22) and Arkansas (Feb. 29) could have lifted the Dawgs into the NCAA Tournament despite having only a decent record.

But the loss to the Aggies dooms Georgia to an 18-13 record at best. Even if Georgia can upset the remaining good teams, those wins likely won’t cancel out the bad losses to Texas A&M, Alabama and Missouri.

What went wrong?

Georgia entered SEC play with a ton of promise and a 10-3 record. In fact, the Dawgs ended non-conference play with a road win over Memphis. Since then, Georgia has only won two games. What happened to that team?

The SEC’s slogan is “it just means more.” That’s what’s wrong with this team. SEC play just means more and this team is too young to shine in the most meaningful games. Another advanced freshman like Anthony Edwards, could have made a difference, but those weren’t the cards dealt to Tom Crean’s team.

Some of those freshmen have stepped up. Sahvir Wheeler and Toumani Camara are players Crean can build around, but the other freshman are yet to make an impact. The experienced players the Bulldogs do have aren’t the leaders the team needs them to be. Rayshaun Hammonds and Jordan Harris have their moments, but a moment isn’t 40 minutes. Georgia lacks a 40-minute leader. It doesn’t help that Edwards has dealt with the flu recently.

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There is still a glimmer of hope. Every conference team plays in the SEC Tournament regardless of record. As long as Georgia has Edwards, it has a chance to at least hang with anyone in the conference. Making the NCAA Tournament is a long shot, a win or two in the tournament will not cut it. Georgia will need to win the SEC Championship.

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