Just a few odds and ends to close out your work week and take you into the weekend:
ESPN.com has compiled a list of the ten most underachieving college basketball programs in recent memory. Yeah, you guessed it. We're there. UGA checks in at #8, which I view as a mild victory. ESPN basketball writer Andy Glockner's take:
It's hard to estimate exactly how much damage the Jim Harrick regime did in Athens, but the road back has been slow. Harrick got the Bulldogs to the NCAAs twice, but won only one game there, and the academic scandals under his watch are well documented and crippled the program for a number of years. It doesn't help that Georgia is a football-crazy school in the SEC East, where the Dawgs regularly have to contend with Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. In fairness, it's not like Georgia was doing much before Harrick arrived. The Bulldogs hadn't made the NCAAs since Tubby Smith took them there in 1997 and then left for Kentucky. The good news is that the Bulldogs now have a very good coach in place in Dennis Felton, and his teams have improved by leaps and bounds since he took over in Harrick's aftermath. Last season's club had the look of an NCAA at-large dark horse until losing Mike Mercer to injury down the stretch.
I'd say that is a pretty fair assessment of the state of the basketball Union in Athens. Given the Jirsa and Harrick eras, the ensuing probation, and the history of low institutional support, #8 is not that surprising. Michigan checks in at #1, which is not terribly surprising either given where they were in the days of the Fab Five and where they've been since. Four out of five ESPN-types surveyed said the Wolverines are the biggest disappointment in college hoops. Luckily we didn't top anyone's ballot. You can look at individual ballots here, if you really just have nothing better to do with yourself. . .
Speaking of the mainstream sports media, Kyle has completed an excellent critique of AOL's Fanhouse which is worth your time. Given his turn toward metabloggery, I will henceforth refer to Kyle as the John Barth of the Blogosphere until further notice. . .
On the recruiting front, Jefferson County offensive/defensive lineman A.J. Harmon is favoring Georgia over Clemson. Or Clemson over Georgia. We're not really sure. It looks like the Dawgs also have a strong shot at Clemson legacy wide receiver Tavarres King from Mt. Airy, who could pair with A.J. Green to form the most highly rated pair of WR signees in Coach Richt's tenure in the Classic City. Given the amount of time both prospects have spent in Athens, and the relative situations they'd be walking into, I'm betting both end up Bulldogs. Not to mention that Louisville has to be one of the most rabidly pro-Dawg towns I've ever seen. And that's high praise. But I've been wrong before, so take that for what it's worth. Everyone have a safe and relaxing weekend!