After not making it in the NCAA tournament field for landing short of sufficient wins against the best teams on its schedule, Georgia is set to head to the NIT for the third time in the last four seasons.
As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, on Sunday night the Bulldogs (19-14) were given a No. 2 seed in the 32-team tournament and will play Belmont (22-6) on Wednesday in Stegeman Coliseum.
The game will be broadcast on the World Wide Leader in sports, ESPN3.
A second-round matchup with rival Georgia Tech could possibly be next.
“Obviously our team was disappointed that they did not make the NCAA tournament, but at the same they were given the privilege to continue their season and play in the NIT,” coach Mark Fox told the paper.
The Bulldogs were 1-10 against teams that made the NCAA field including Kentucky, who they played twice, Florida, South Carolina and another game with Kentucky.
The national bracket projections did not include the Bulldogs in the NCAA field after they were stomped by Kentucky 71-60 in the SEC tournament on Friday.
The top four seeds in the NIT were the first four out of the NCAA field, which included California, Illinois State, Iowa and Syracuse for those just on the outside of the last at-large picks.
Georgia was No. 52 in the RPI, five spots ahead of Kansas State, but the team has the highest RPI of any power conference team not to make the NCAA field. The strength of schedule for the Bulldogs was 14.
“It’s a little frustrating because strength of schedule is something that our league has really demanded but yet does it bear the fruit that we want it to bear?” Fox said. “I think we have to look at that. If indeed the seeding is what it is and there are teams ahead of us that were far weaker than we have to evaluate is that the right thing to do to schedule like we’re scheduling.”
Georgia has two NCAA appearances in Fox’s eight seasons - 2015 and 2011. Last year it was the No. 3 seed in the NIT and in 2014 it was No. 2 when it also had 19 wins heading into the NIT.
This is Georgia’s 14th appearance in the NIT, with the Bulldogs making it to the final four in 1982 and 1988.
The NIT semifinals and finals are scheduled for March 28 and 30 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
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