Games pitting conference foes pose a special challenge where rooting is concerned. We want SEC East teams to beat SEC West teams because it helps the Georgia Bulldogs’ RPI for teams the Fox Hounds play twice to beat teams the Red and Black play only once, but we want SEC West teams to beat SEC East teams because it helps the Classic City Canines’ division standing for their SEC East rivals to lose.
Likewise, Georgia boasts quality wins over the Kentucky Wildcats and the Tennessee Volunteers, so we want those teams to win to increase the value of the Bulldogs’ victories over them, but we also want those teams to lose to aid the Red and Black in securing a top four finish in the division.
No such conflicting interests arise regarding out-of-conference opponents, though; aside from enjoying it when the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets absorb a good old-fashioned drubbing, we want the Hoop Hounds’ non-conference opponents to win, as it makes Georgia’s wins over such teams more valuable and renders the Bulldogs’ losses to such teams less harmful.
Accordingly, tonight is a huge night for the Red and Black’s non-league slate, starting at 7:00, when the Duke Blue Devils host the Temple Owls on ESPN2 and the Providence Friars host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in
Big East Network Regional/ESPN3/Full Court coverage a game that will not be televised in any meaningful sense. Then, at 7:30, the Texas Tech Red Raiders welcome the Colorado Buffaloes for a game that will be broadcast on TT Sports Network/ESPN3/Full Court also will not be on any sort of TV you will be able to get. (All times are Eastern, incidentally. I don’t just mean for tonight, I mean whenever I am making reference to a time. The percentage of my life that has been spent outside the Eastern time zone is so tiny that, frankly, I frequently forget that time zones other than Eastern even exist.)
Back in November, the Bulldogs beat the Buffaloes but lost to the Irish and to the Owls, so we will be pulling for Colorado, Notre Dame, and Temple to win this evening. (Yes, I realize that some of you have been known, on occasion, to root for Duke. You objectively need to quit that, but, even if cheering for the Blue Devils was socially acceptable under ordinary circumstances---and, seriously, no fooling, it isn’t; Duke is to college basketball what Notre Dame is to college football, the Cowboys are to the NFL, and the Yankees are to major league baseball: the team you are morally obligated to despise if you wish to be counted a good American---it is your duty as a Bulldog fan to support Temple in this instance.)