For NCAA tournament aspirants, and Georgia is one again, the non-conference season is always about one thing: Building a good resume’ for the selection committee. The Bulldogs have a solid one through nine games, though missing two critical pieces:
A road win. And a win over a top-50 RPI team.
It so happens that Florida, which Georgia visits on Saturday to open SEC play, offers up a chance to check both boxes.
The Gators may or may not remain a top-50 team, but right now they rank No. 19 in the RPI, the formula commonly used and cited by the selection committee. (A reminder: The Ratings Percentage Index is a combination of a team’s own record, the winning percentage of its opponents, and the winning percentage of its opponents’ opponents.)
Georgia’s RPI rank is 51, per CBSsports.com, a decent number that’s the result of a well-crafted schedule.
The Bulldogs’ three losses are all to teams currently in the top 50: Chattanooga (31), Seton Hall (33), and Kansas State (47).
The seven wins only include two over teams even n the top 100 (No. 68 Georgia Tech and No. 93 Oakland), but many of the teams are expected to be among the best in their conference, thus helping Georgia’s numbers as they presumably rack up wins over the next few months.
Still, ultimately the best thing the Bulldogs can do for themselves is rack up good wins of their own, especially on the road.
“Well, our team continues to get better,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox, whose team has won four in a row, including double digit wins over Georgia Tech and Clemson. “We’re becoming more and more efficient offensively and i think that defensively we’re becoming more consistent. And there’s a lot of room for growth still on this team. I think we’re not where we will be at the end of the year.”
The return to health of freshman post player Derek Ogbeide has been big in the team’s recent play. He missed the first month of the season and still isn’t playing many minutes – he only had 13 against Robert Morris on Tuesday. But he did have a team-high seven rebounds.
“We all need to rebound the ball,” Ogbeide said after the game. “You know, box out, me included. Everybody tried. We have to try harder to do it and finish up.”
Fox was asked what he felt his team needed to work on the most entering conference play.
“I can probably list a hundred,” he said. “You know, I’m going to be critical of our team because I know that I think there’s a higher ceiling for this group. Could I list one specific thing? Probably not. But there’s several I’d like to be better in A, B, or C. We need to rebound the ball better. I’m not pleased with how we rebounded the ball. We do it at times, we just haven’t done it consistently.”