The Georgia basketball team is preparing for the upcoming 2023 SEC Tournament. Can the Dawgs use it to pad their NCAA Tournament resume?
It’s been a season of rebuilding for the Georgia basketball program, and first-year head coach Mike White should be applauded for the results he’s been able to get this year.
A year ago, the Dawgs were dead last in the SEC, only amassing six total wins and only one in SEC play. They were absolutely the worst Power-5 team in the entire nation.
Just one year later, Georgia has 16 total wins, six conference wins (including a couple of pretty big upsets), and has an outside shot at possibly getting an NCAA Tournament invitation with three regular-season games remaining. The Dawgs should most certainly be in the NIT if they aren’t at the Big Dance.
So what can the upcoming SEC Tournament do to help (or hurt) the Bulldogs’ chances at some postseason tournament play?
A shot at a 20-win regular season went out the door with the 97-65 blowout loss to Arkansas. It was the second straight game the Bulldogs were beaten by more than 30 points. Not exactly a good resume builder for tournament time.
However, if the Dawgs can win the remaining games over Missouri, Florida, and South Carolina (yes, that’s a tall order) they’ll have an overall winning record and a .500 conference record in what is a very deep SEC.
But let’s face it. The chances of a 10th-place team getting an invite to the NCAA Tournament are very slim indeed. A deep run in the SEC Tournament could enhance Georgia’s profile, but probably still wouldn’t be enough to warrant a ticket to the Dance.
An appearance and a good showing in the SEC Championship Game? That might help a lot, but probably still would only increase Georgia’s seeding in the NIT.
No, for Georgia to find themselves as part of their first NCAA Tournament since 2015, the Bulldogs will likely have to find that 2008 magic and pull off a miracle championship run in the SEC Tournament.
Can that happen? Hey, anything is possible. Certainly, this is a more talented team than the “Dream Dawgs” of 2008, and while it’s a small sample size, Mike White appears to be a better coach than was Dennis Felton. But those miracles are rare, and the SEC field is much more talented in 2023 than it was in 2008.
The conference tournaments generally crystallize what we already know about the good teams, but they also give longshots a chance at grabbing some glory. Maybe White’s Bulldogs can find a way to shock the world in Nashville this year.
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