Thursday, January 27, 2011

Marty and Dawgola's Low Down: Vol. I

Well you know that things are getting interesting around the basketball team when fans are actually distraught after a tough loss at home. At any other point in the last five years, Tuesday night's drama would have been a ho-hum moment in Athens. But this year is different- this year the Dawgs have a good chance to make it to the Big Dance in March and people have taken notice.

So much so that our first weekly installment of M&D's LD has been centered around our newfound beloved basketball barkers. Hopefully we'll get a few more responses next week, but I think I can stretch the two questions posed out long enough to interest some folks.

For our first question:

"Looking at the remainder of the schedule, what is a realistic view of what the bball team's win/loss record will be? What do you predict the RPI to be/will we be in the tournament?"

Good question- and one I feel like most of the Dawg Nation is wondering about right now.

Looking at the rest of the schedule, it looks as though the Dawgs are going to have to win at least 7 of our remaining 11 contests. Considering six of those contests are on the road, we're going to have to win at least two on another team's home floor. Here are the most probable chances (in order of likelihood) to snag a victory on the road:
  1. at Arkansas, 9:00 p.m. February 2
  2. at South Carolina, 7:00 p.m. February 26
  3. at Alabama, 1:30 p.m. March 5
I think we'll need to be 9-7 in a down year in the SEC this year to make it to March. Otherwise we'll have to make a nice run in the SEC Tournament. From the look of it right now, we'll probably get a four or five seed with a 9-7 record in conference. While seeding would probably be a big deal in any other season, I feel like we could be any other team in the conference on a neutral floor this year. Thus, the difference from being a number three or number five seed really isn't that big. Obviously this is considering we don't nosedive after getting donkey-punched in two of our last three games. 

While I think it's possible to knock off UTk, UK, or UF at home, it doesn't look likely at this point. Kentucky has this week off and we just got finished getting dragged up and down the court by Florida for 50 minutes. Add to that we'll be playing Kentucky at home, where the idea of "home cookin'" was incubated, and winning Saturday looks almost impossible (even though I really don't think they're that much better than we are). I think the most likely win out of those three would be UTk, as their offense consists of nothing but Scotty Hopson rolling off screens and throwing up 15-foot shots that should bring rain.

Last night really put us behind the eight ball. We can't lose another game at home- that's the bottom line if we have even a small chance at making the Dance. If we perform up to our ability (yeah, I know this is asking a lot for a team that wears Red and Black) we should end up with about 20 wins. Maybe we'll get to 21 if we can win one of the swing games that I'm not giving the Dawgs much chance in. If we continue to win and end up at say 20-10 or 21-9, our RPI should project to somewhere in the mid-30's and SOS would be right around the same or perhaps a touch better with games still left . Beating UF or UTk on the road would do wonderous things for those metrics, but I don't expect it.

Hope that answered your question. Now on to number two.

"What's the deal with Auburn and LSU's bball teams. How are they so horrible? And yes, I acknowledge that I now have probably jinxed the Dawgs and they will drop both games..."

I think you can chock most of this up to sub-par recruiting and a lot of academic casualties, especially with Auburn. Both Shawn Kemp Jr. and Luke Cothran of last year's class didn't make it to school after they were signed.  I assume Kemp is still at Hargrave, but I don't know and Cothran is now at The University of New Orleans, which is transitioning out of D-1A. There coach also was fired last season, and let's face it, those rednecks on the Plains really don't care a lick about basketball. I don't think Barbee is the answer, but I think most people know that by now.

As far as LSU, well... I just don't think they have great players and I don't think Trent Johnson is that good either. He had a lot of really good players at one time and rode them to a modicum of success. You think those Cajuns give a lick about basketball? Not a chance.

Thanks for the questions folks. We'll look forward to answering a few more next time.

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