Georgia needs more wins to join NCAA tournament bubble watch - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Georgia needs more wins to join NCAA tournament bubble watch

Posted: Updated:
Georgia, which plays Missouri on Tuesday night, has a firm hold on third place in the Southeastern Conference at 9-5. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle) Georgia, which plays Missouri on Tuesday night, has a firm hold on third place in the Southeastern Conference at 9-5. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

ATLANTA (AP) — The SEC standings make Georgia look like a team worthy of NCAA tournament consideration.

The RPI tells a different story.

Georgia, which plays Missouri on Tuesday night, has a firm hold on third place in the Southeastern Conference at 9-5. The Bulldogs are two games ahead of a pack of seven teams tied for fourth, including Missouri.

A poor start to the season has Georgia only 15-11 overall and, with a RPI of 89, excluded from most NCAA bubble watch talk.

The Bulldogs need a strong finish in their final four regular-season games, including wins this week over Missouri (19-8, 7-7 SEC) and Arkansas (18-9, 7-7), to earn more NCAA credibility.

"I always believed in this group," junior forward Marcus Thornton said Monday. "For us to get there we had to believe in each other. For us to go further we have to continue to believe the same thing."

Led by sophomore guards Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines, Georgia has won five of six to trail only No. 1 Florida and No. 17 Kentucky in the conference.

The bad news: Eight SEC teams are ahead of Georgia in the RPI. Unless it wins the March 12-16 SEC tournament in Atlanta, Georgia might be a fit for the NIT.

Any postseason talk seemed far-fetched when Georgia started the season 1-4 as it adjusted to the loss of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the No. 8 overall pick by Detroit in the 2013 draft.

Coach Mark Fox said his players worked in the offseason to replace Caldwell-Pope's scoring, but struggled to fill other voids left by his departure.

"Kentavious was also our leading rebounder and our best defender," Fox said Monday. "Our guys in the offseason worked hard figuring out ways to score because they knew that was going to be an issue. I think early in the year we were not a very good defensive or rebounding team because we didn't adjust to that part of Kentavious' departure.

"So I think in December the big adjustment we made was to replace that, and the offensive adjustment has been kind of a steady thing all year."

Even with Caldwell-Pope scoring 18.5 points per game, Georgia finished only 15-17 last season. This team has better balance. Gaines scored a career-high 27 points in the Bulldogs' 73-56 win at South Carolina on Saturday. Mann leads the team with 13.2 points per game.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin said Georgia has more experience this season.

"Last year all those guys, Mann and Gaines, were puppies," Martin said Monday.

"But now they're rolling. I think Georgia is playing real good basketball right now. Mann is a real hard matchup because he's so good off the dribble and Gaines is shooting.

"Obviously he did it against us, just anytime you lose him it's a 3. They're a very good basketball team. ... I can tell you this. I'm happy we don't play them anymore."

Gaines has led Georgia in scoring in three straight games.

"I've just been making shots," Gaines said. "I feel like I've been taking some of the same shots I was taking earlier. They just seem to be falling late in the season."

Missouri was No. 21 when Georgia took a 70-64 overtime win on Jan. 8. It is Georgia's only win over a Top 25 team.

Fox said he hasn't talked with his players about how many more wins might be needed to enter the NCAA tournament picture.

"We don't talk about it," Fox said. "We just talk about Missouri. It's one game at a time and the rest of it will take care of itself. We can't manage much more than taking care of one game at a time. That's no disrespect to our players or our coaches. That's probably the only way I can function."

Follow Charles Odum on Twitter @CharlesOdum

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:38:39 GMT
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
  • Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Friday, July 18 2014 5:11 PM EDT2014-07-18 21:11:55 GMT
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.More >>
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.
    More >>
  • JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    Friday, July 18 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-07-18 20:08:13 GMT
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.More >>
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

    Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:55:19 GMT
    Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that wounded the suspect, two federal marshals and a police officer.More >>
    A fugitive task force and a sex-assault suspect got into a shootout Monday in Greenwich Village, leaving the suspect dead and two federal marshals and a police detective wounded, authorities said.More >>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:19:17 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
  • Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B

    Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:04 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:04:34 GMT
    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records...More >>
    A bipartisan deal to improve veterans' health care would authorize at least $17 billion to fix the health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays, the bill's chief...More >>
  • Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:28 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:28:15 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
  • Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:39 GMT
    David PittsDavid Pitts
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
  • Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Sunday, July 27 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:04:38 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
  • A triple shooting leaves one person dead

    A triple shooting leaves one person dead

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-27 15:51:55 GMT
    One person is dead and two others in juried in an early morning shooting in Ensley. Birmingham Police report incident occurred in the 1600 Block of Avenue I. Around 2:30 a.m. police were called to the location and found the victim lying face down in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Birmingham Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene. The name of the victim has not yet been released pending notification of relatives. Ther...More >>
    One person is dead and two others in juried in an early morning shooting in Ensley. Birmingham Police report incident occurred in the 1600 Block of Avenue I. Around 2:30 a.m. police were called to the location and found the victim lying face down in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Birmingham Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene. The name of the victim has not yet been released pending notification of relatives. Ther...More >>