It goes without saying that job one for the Georgia Bulldogs is to keep winning. Because the Fox Hounds are solidly on the bubble, however, the Red and Black could use a little help to cement their standing and improve their seeding. Along those lines, here are the games in which Bulldog Nation has a rooting interest this weekend:
Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks (7:00 Thursday on ESPN): I’m mildly torn on this one. On the one hand, the Vols now stand at 7-7 in SEC play, and we want the Big Orange to remain in fifth place in the East. On the other hand, we want Georgia’s victory over Tennessee in Knoxville to continue to count as a quality win. I think I’m going to split the difference by rooting for Tennessee to win this one and lose the Big Orange’s weekend matchup. Go Vols . . . for now.
Mississippi Rebels v. South Carolina Gamecocks (7:30 Thursday on FSN): Wait . . . how exactly are the Palmetto State Poultry playing two overlapping games in two different venues? Relax; this is actually a first-round game in the SEC women’s basketball tournament, pitting twelfth-seeded Ole Miss against fifth-seeded USC. The winner will face Andy Landers’s fourth-seeded Lady Dogs at 7:30 Friday night. Since the Rebels are the lower-seeded squad, it would be preferable for them to pull off the upset. Go Rebs!
UCLA Bruins at Washington Huskies (9:00 Thursday on ESPN): The Huskies, who began the week as a projected ten seed in a marked decline after the sort of loss that can get a fellow fired, are among the teams standing between the Bulldogs and a more secure handle on a ten seed, so we need U-Dub to lose. (Also, they call themselves "Dawgs," even though they don’t even talk that way in the Pacific Northwest, so there’s that.) Go Bruins!
Lipscomb Bisons at Mercer Bears (9:00 Thursday on A-Sun IPTV): The Atlantic Sun is a one-bid league, so we don’t have to worry that an upset would allow an extra upstart in the door. That being the case, it’s best to root for Mercer, a conference tourney dark horse playing on its home court and a team the Bulldogs beat on the road. Also, Bisons? Really? Go Bears! (As an aside, I have to offer my compliments to the person who had the chutzpah to line up General Shale Brick as the title sponsor of a basketball tournament. That ranks right up there with the NASCAR race sponsored by Cracker Barrel and the LPGA event sponsored by Chick-fil-A on the list of unintentionally hilarious title sponsorships.)
Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers (7:00 Saturday on FSN): With both clubs tied for the division cellar at 3-12 in conference play, this is the game that will settle fifth place in the SEC West, which is relevant because, if Georgia finishes fourth in the East, the Red and Black will face the winner of this contest in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Honestly, I’d rather see the Fox Hounds play Auburn, because I hate Auburn. Go Tigers! Um, you know what I mean. . . .
Kentucky Wildcats at Tennessee Volunteers (noon Sunday on CBS): Not a tough call. Go ‘Cats! Unless, of course, Tennessee loses on Thursday, in which case, go Vols! All right, basically, I want whatever outcome will produce the highest possible finish in the East for the Athenians. We’ll know that by tip-off time.
The game that matters most, of course, is the Bulldogs’ date with the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Attention also should be paid to these other contests of note, however, so cast an occasional glance at the scores scrolling across the bottom of your screen as you focus on the roundball fortunes of the Red and Black.