BY MATT EDGAR
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Mediocrity. It is defined as of only mediocre quality; not very good. That certainly sums up our two local college hoop programs on The Flats and up in Athens. The Dawgs got thumped in Tuscaloosa by over thirty points on Saturday while the Jackets split their weekend pair with a tough luck loss at Clemson on Friday and a win verse Pittsburgh at McCamish on Sunday. If Selection Sunday was today neither team would be dancing….yet again.
College basketball has been trending down nationally for a decade now and probably longer than that in Atlanta. Can you blame anyone in town for not paying much attention? Since we all survived Y2K and we entered the 2000’s the Yellow Jackets have gone dancing five times. Yes, five times. The Bulldogs have participated in March Madness a paltry five times as well. The Jackets last appearance was 2010 while the Dawgs were last seen in the tournament in 2015. It really is almost hard to believe. All told in this century there have been a combined 42 opportunities for GT and UGA to be in the field of 64. The teams have combined for….ten total appearances. Ten! I’ll do the math for you. That is less than 25%! Seriously, that doesn’t seem possible.
I’m not here to call for coaching changes or anything like that, but I am asking that both programs evaluate what they are doing to get to that next level. The whole “we’re a football school!” argument you hear from Georgia fans is stupid. Have you looked at the Top 25 lately? The football power house of power houses Alabama is currently ranked No. 8 and has been inside the top ten some this season. Ohio State, the runner up to the Crimson Tide back in January’s College Football Playoff National Championship is currently ranked No. 4 and has fourteen appearances in March Madness since 2000. Other ranked teams include USC, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State, Iowa, West Virginia and Tennessee to name a few. They all fancy themselves “football schools” but don’t seem to be having trouble with the basketball thing. Georgia basketball should absolutely be in those same conversations. And oh, by the way, the SEC stinks and the door is completely open for UGA to become a top three program in the conference behind Kentucky! On The Flats, it’s time to maximize the unbelievable resources at their fingertips. They have an amazing facility with McCamish Pavilion, play in one of the World’s greatest cities, and belong to the best college hoop conference in the history of the sport. It makes zero sense to fail more than you succeed with these advantages.
I’m putting the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology on the clock. That goes for the ADs, the coaches, and you the fans! Let’s make college hoop matter again locally! Football season wrapped up last week with the Super Bowl. The Braves regular season is still six weeks away. The Hawks are being the Hawks. It sure would be nice to turn our attention to college basketball that mattered, wouldn’t it?