Schedule flip gives Georgia SEC’s best team in final game

Georgia forward Toumani Camara (10) and the Bulldogs found the going tough against Alabama and Herb Jones when they played on Feb. 13, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide won 115-82. (Photo from UA Athletics)
Georgia forward Toumani Camara (10) and the Bulldogs found the going tough against Alabama and Herb Jones when they played on Feb. 13, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide won 115-82. (Photo from UA Athletics)

Credit: Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

Credit: Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

ATHENS -- Be careful what you wish for.

Behind the scenes, the Georgia Bulldogs were hoping they would draw a tough, Quadrant 1 replacement opponent if their final regular-season game against Texas A&M was canceled. Well, that’s exactly what happened -- and then some.

After Texas A&M canceled its eighth game in a row Thursday, the Bulldogs picked up No. 7 Alabama, the highest-ranked team in the SEC. The Crimson Tide (18-6, 3-2) will come to Stegeman Coliseum for each team’s final regular-season game March 6. They’ll tip off at 2 p.m., and CBS has picked up the game for television.

Bama promises to be exponentially tougher than what Georgia (14-9, 7-9 SEC) was facing in A&M. Before COVID-19 protocol issues derailed their season, the Aggies stood 13th in the standings for the 14-team SEC. Technically, they’re 12th at 8-7 overall and 2-6 in league play.

UGA was scheduled to play A&M on Feb. 10 in College Station. But that game – which would have represented a homecoming of sorts for sophomore guard Sahvir Wheeler – was postponed. The Bulldogs instead played Tennessee on the road, a trip originally slated as the last game of the season. Georgia lost 89-81.

Now, here comes the high-scoring Tide. Though it is coming off an 81-66 loss at Arkansas earlier this week, Alabama remains the SEC’s best team. In case you missed it, they beat Georgia 115-82 on Feb. 13 in Tuscaloosa.

Currently, Georgia is fighting to get into position for a postseason bid. After beating LSU 91-78 on Tuesday in Athens, the Bulldogs improved to 14-9 overall and 7-9 in the SEC. Ideally, if they could win out against South Carolina on Saturday and Bama next week, the Bulldogs would finish with 16 wins and .500 in conference play. With a couple of more wins in the SEC Tournament on March 10-14 in Nashville and the Bulldogs would be well-positioned for a postseason bid.

Should Georgia fall short of an NCAA Tournament bid in Year 3 of the Tom Crean era, the NIT would be a gratifying conciliation prize for a program that hasn’t participated in postseason play since 2017. The tournament is slated to start March 16.

The Bulldogs actually have an impressive ledger of SEC wins. They have home and away victories over Ole Miss, a split with Auburn and single victories over Kentucky, LSU, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

In the meantime, Georgia desperately needs to take care of business at home Saturday against South Carolina (5-12, 3-10), a team that humiliated the Bulldogs 83-59 on Jan. 27 in Columbia.

Several other SEC teams had to rearrange their schedules with A&M’s shutdown. Tip times and TV are still being worked out, but here’s the new slate of games:

SEC BASKETBALL

March 6

  • Alabama at Georgia -- 2 p.m. (CBS)
  • LSU at Missouri – originally scheduled for January 9
  • Mississippi State at Auburn – originally scheduled for February 16
  • Texas A&M at Arkansas – originally scheduled for February 6
  • South Carolina at Kentucky – originally scheduled for December 29
  • Vanderbilt at Ole Miss

March 7

  • Florida at Tennessee – originally scheduled for February 10

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