Posted: 9:02 am Thursday, February 27th, 2014

ESPN’s ‘bracketologist’ Lunardi calls Georgia ‘the tallest midget in the circus’ 

By Chip Towers

ATHENS – Ever since Georgia’s 71-56 win over Missouri on Tuesday night, I’ve had a lot of people asking if I thought the Bulldogs had a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament. They do, but it’s the longest of long shots.

Georgia is 16-11 overall and 10-5 in the SEC with three regular-season games and the SEC Tournament left to play. In my opinion, there is a chance the Bulldogs could land an at-large selection if they win out and reach the finals of the SEC Tournament, which is in Atlanta this year. That will mean they will have beaten either Florida or Kentucky along the way.

Granted, Georgia is playing very well. The win over Missouri, the nation’s 45th-ranked team in terms of RPI, was impressive. But because the RPI of the SEC as a conference is so low, the Bulldogs moved up only to 82 from 88 in the power ratings. With road games left at Arkansas (Saturday) and LSU (March 8) and a home game against a weak Mississippi State team, they’ll have the same dilemma in terms of the inability to make much headway in the rankings. Never mind the accomplishment that would be beating either Arkansas or LSU on the road.

Turns out that’s not just my opinion. Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s so-called “bracketologist,” sees it the same way. In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, he referred to Georgia as “the tallest midget in the circus.”

“If I said, ‘Let’s spend a lot of time talking about their best wins,’ it would be a fairly short conversation,” Lunardi said. “The league just isn’t good enough where being third or fourth, wherever they’re going to finish, is in and of itself good enough. So I think that they have work to do, especially away from home. Their best road win was probably the first win over Missouri, I guess. Again, we’re talking lots of bad, bad games on the non-conference schedule, which is sinking their RPI. Because of that they have to get all their good work done in the league and the league isn’t good enough to make that work easy to come by. I don’t think they’re there yet. They’re not really even that close yet.”

It’s a shame, but that fact is that Georgia’s poor showing in November (2-4), when it lost to Davidson, Temple, Nebraska and Georgia Tech, is undoing its good work in February (6-2).

But, again, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

“If they win every game and lose in the finals (of the SEC Tournament), they’re going to be minimally on the board for heavy conversation,” Lunardi said. “What will they be at that point, 13-5? Barring significant upsets, they will have beaten Kentucky or Florida to get to the final on a neutral floor. Can they? They’ve won five out of six, six out of seven, something like that. I hate to be this way; I try not to inject my basketball opinions into all of this. I just don’t think they’re good enough to do that.”

Perhaps such talk will motivate the Bulldogs to even greater heights. But even if they don’t make the “Big Dance,” an NIT berth would be a significant accomplishment given the team’s growth in the last year.

And having witnessed firsthand the “Tornado Tournament” of 2008, I know anything’s possible.

27 comments
Chrisxxxxxxxxx
Chrisxxxxxxxxx

Chip I understand that they reached the Elite 8, but every year that seems to be the standard we are happy with, sometimes coaches can only only get you so far and a fresh face is needed, look at Mark Richts record people still call for his head, they even fired the baseball coach, so not saying Andy isnt a great coach its just he continues to get a free pass off his legacy, and I know for a fact of at least a dozen blue chip recruits want look at georgia because of him.

RingtheBell
RingtheBell

The NIT would give them a chance to play and practice more and with the whole team coming back, next year will be the year

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Good Luck to the dawgs in what ever Tournament they make, Pulling for Fox and his guys to perform well,

Chrisxxxxxxxxx
Chrisxxxxxxxxx

Why does Andy Landers continue to get a free pass, I realize his past history and record but the last few years have been underachieved, continually we lose top recruits to out of strate teams, most simply dont wanna play fro him, all other coaches ride the hot seat but Landers continues to ride off his past


displayname101
displayname101

It's a good sign that anti-Georgia nerd boys feel the need to say anything about Georgia basketball.

DawginNY
DawginNY

Getting in the NIT would be a good accomplishment.  I think winning 2 out the last 3 regular season games, plus beating Kentucky in the SEC semis would make a good argument.  That would give us a top 25 win and 3 top 50 wins.


TampGator1
TampGator1

and......you got to love Moist Dawg.  Hey Moist.....remember 72-50?  

TampGator1
TampGator1

It will be big confidence builder for Georgia if they go into Arkansas and LSU and win....for their upcoming attempt to win the tourney, which I think is Georgia's only way in the field.  

CTBigDawg
CTBigDawg

Opinion everybody has one- The Dawgs are playing real well of late and IMHO if they win out they will be 19-11 and then if they win at least 2 games in the SEC tournament that puts them in the NCAA tournament. But it is all conjecture at this point as it depends on them continuing to play up to their abilities. Coach Fox is a good game coach but not a very good recruiter so it would behoove UGA to hire a basketball recruiting coordinator to get some of the highly regarded recruits this state produces to come to Athens then we would see more success in men's basketball. They also need to force Coach Landers to retire as his day has passed as far as taking the Lady Dawgs to a Championship.


Go Dawgs

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

ill take this as a compliment.  the tallest midget is perfectly positioned to hit the tallest giant straight in the testicles.  i say bring it.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Win the tourney dawgs!!! The it won't matter.

TheOldGuy
TheOldGuy

We have a great coach and more talent will eventually be drawn to Athens.

Steve-W
Steve-W

I'm just totally shocked at how well this team is doing. I thought we'd be looking for another coach by now. Instead, we're rolling! Impressed. And I guess most everybody comes back next season

Bubbatavious
Bubbatavious

Aint gonna happen.,.Kinda like football...Fools Gold. The SEC is Florida , Kentucky and the 7 plus Dwarves .

Armydawg
Armydawg

Keep winning and good things will happen.

BostonBullDawg
BostonBullDawg

It's clear that guy has something against midgets.

NCDawg
NCDawg

It's a longshot no matter how you slice it.  I think it would almost require winning the SEC Tournament to get them into the NCAA's.

inoto20
inoto20

@Steve-W  

Yeah so impressive. No shot at the tourney in a lousy league. Now that's impressive!

MikeBuglioli
MikeBuglioli

@ChipTowers @Chrisxxxxxxxxx They reach the Sweet 16 or 8 or less every year but no NC's.  Meanwhile Tenn. marches on and on and on and Landers and Ga had a huge headstart on Tenn long ago and never materialized into NC.  Landers is not the guy for NC's - he's gone as far as he will ever go.