- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia needs a minor miracle to reach the NCAA tournament, but the Bulldogs are still in play for a postseason berth of some sort.
Georgia (12-13, 3-8 SEC) would have to win the SEC tournament next month to sneak into the NCAA tournament field, but if it finishes at or around .500, earning a spot in the NIT or CBI is possible.
Not that Bulldogs coach Mark Fox is focusing on those postseason possibilities just yet.
“What I think is important for this team is that we continue to develop the experience and focus on winning the next game and realize that there’s still a lot for them to learn,” said Fox, whose team hosts Vanderbilt (18-8, 7-4) at 1 p.m. ET Sunday. “We’re not worried about the month of March yet -- we’re not there -- but that’s the same approach we had last year. Just concentrate on winning the next game and getting better every day. That’s what we’re going to focus on.”
That is a sensible approach for a Georgia team that will do well to finish at .500, following Wednesday’s one-point loss to South Carolina -- the team with the league’s worst record -- and with games against Vanderbilt, Florida and Kentucky still to play.
Vandy, in particular, is finally beginning to live up to its lofty preseason expectations after getting center Festus Ezeli back from a knee injury that hampered his play early in the season.
The Commodores ripped Ole Miss 102-76 on Thursday, so Fox knows things won’t be easy Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum.
“I think that was as dominating a performance as any team’s had in college basketball this year,” Fox said. “They have a great team. They have experience, they have shooting, they have post play and they’re finally healthy and in a rhythm together.
“That’s what’s so hard, that even with an experienced team, you look at Vandy, they lose Festus for six or eight games or whatever and how that disjointed their team who returned everybody from last year [played]. That threw a wrench in things,” he continued. “That’s why when Marcus [Thornton] got hurt for us it was so difficult. But they’re playing really, really well and that performance the other night was impressive.”
4dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough