ATHENS – The Georgia basketball team has a game that it says counts on Wednesday night. The opponent says it’s an exhibition game.
They’re both right, which is a quirk of scheduling and the all-important RPI ratings.
Morehouse, which visits Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday night, is a Division II team, and the NCAA tournament selection committee does not count games against Div. II teams. It does not figure into the RPI, win or loss.
But Georgia is counting the game towards its overall record, and the SEC says it is recognizing it as well. Morehouse is officially referring to the game as an exhibition, so it won’t count against its official record.
Still, why play a game that won’t help Georgia’s RPI, rather than a Division I game that would help?
The Bulldogs tried to find such a game for this date, but couldn’t, at least not against a mid-major that would be good enough to help in schedule strength. So head coach Mark Fox decided to play this game, rather than against a weak low-major Division I team.
“Really we had a choice of playing a 300-level team and hurting our RPI numbers, or playing a Division II team,” Fox said. “So this is why we went the Division II route.”
Several other SEC and Power 5 conferences have gone the same route in scheduling Division II games during the regular season.
So Wednesday’s game counts, though not come March. At least it shouldn’t, but if Georgia were to stumble in this game, it’s hard to see committee members forgetting it.
But if things go right for the Bulldogs, it means another game to not only at least count as a win, but also get more seasoning before Sunday’s home against Marquette – which very much will count, and very much will matter to the NCAA selection committee.