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Post Dawgs return to the NCAA Tournament

Sunday March 13, 2011

The incredible and improbable story of 2008 aside, this is a moment that Georgia basketball fans have been waiting for since 2002.  After Georgia withdrew from the 2003 postseason, it’s been eight years since the Bulldogs have had a team playing at a level worthy of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

We’ve been fairly confident of Georgia’s chances since they took care of LSU, but some would-be upset bids during the conference tournaments made things interesting.  In the end, Georgia was safely in as a #10 seed in the East Region.  At that seed, it’s likely that Georgia wasn’t really even part of the discussion at the end as to which teams to include and exclude.  Pundits and fans of other teams might take shots at Georgia’s inclusion and their seeding, but there’s no taking away what this team and Mark Fox have earned in his second season after some very lean years for the program.  The sun shone on Bulldog hoops for once; don’t spend a minute apologizing for it.

Our regional:

Georgia (#10) vs. Washington (#7).  We’ll play Friday evening at around 9:45 p.m. or roughly 30 minutes after the UNC-LIU game which tips off at 7:15. 

If Georgia wins, we’ll play the UNC-LIU winner on Sunday, and that time is still TBD.


Georgia’s allotment of tickets will be spoken for by season ticket holders.  You already know if you had the opportunity to pre-order NCAA tickets.

For everyone else, tickets are available via TicketMaster.  Yes, you read that right, ticket packages are $231. That does get you tickets for Friday and Sunday’s games in all sessions – six games in all.  $38.50 a game sounds a little better, and you’ll get to see the Dawgs as well as Duke and North Carolina.  As of Sunday night, all that were left were in the upper level.

Another alternative, if you’re up for the risk, is going up without tickets in hand. You’ll have to be there in time for the afternoon session, but Duke, Tennessee, and Michigan fans leaving the afternoon session might be looking to unload evening session tickets. You might also be able to arrange an evening session ticket from one of those fans online before Friday.

A bit about the opponent:

Washington Huskies: 23-10 overall, 11-7 Pac 10 (3rd place)

The Huskies are a tournament-tested team, making a run to the Sweet 16 a year ago.  They lost top scorer Quincy Pondexter but were still preseason favorites to win the conference.

Washington is all over the college hoops news right now for their dramatic upset win over Arizona in the Pac-10 tournament championship game. They have the Gus Johnson cred (“COLD. BLOODED.”), and they have the instantly recognizable name of Isaiah Thomas (though no relation to Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas). Thomas lives up to the famous name as the team’s leading scorer with 16.8 PPG 

As Georgia leads with Thompkins, Leslie, and Robinson, so too does Washington go with a guard, a post, and a wing as their top scorers.  After Thomas, forward and London native Matt Bryan-Amaning gives you 15.5 PPG / 8.1 RPG inside.  6’6” wing  Justin Holiday would be the natural comparison to Leslie and is also one of the best defenders in the conference. You can see the rest of the team’s stats here.  They have nine players averaging at least 5 PPG.

The teams have a common opponent:  Washington lost 67-74 to Kentucky in the Maui Classic back at the beginning of the season.  Of course that was months ago, and Kentucky’s talented freshmen were still freshmen.  Since then Washington has lost promising sophomore PG Abdul Gaddy to a season-ending ACL injury. Thomas has taken up much of the load, but they still lack that true point guard.

Washington’s nonconference schedule doesn’t feature a lot of quality wins, but there also aren’t many bad losses.  They came a point short of knocking off a respectable Texas A&M team after another last-second Thomas shot was blocked.  They played well but lost to Kentucky and Michigan State, and they were able to handle lesser Virginia and Texas Tech teams.  The Huskies had an impressive 4-1 mark against the top two teams in the Pac-10, but they slipped several times against the lower half of the league.

One Response to 'Dawgs return to the NCAA Tournament'

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  • Glad my hubby pulled the trigger on the seats i was tweeting you about earlier tonight. We ended up with lower level section 116 tix for $250/seat. That still feels ridiculously overpriced to me, but as long as the Dawgs don’t implode like they did vs Bama at the SEC Tourney, i’ll be thrilled.

    Questions: a) what do you think are chances are of beating Washington? b) do you think the 10 seed is too high?

    Hope you got tix for Friday as well & thank you so much for all your help Groo!