The Measurables

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The 2023 NFL Draft is later this month. Let’s take a look at the top quarterback prospects.

Bryce Young, Alabama: In his two seasons as the starter in Tuscaloosa his record is 23 – 4.

In 2021 he won just about every accolade you can imagine. He won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Manning Award, AP College Football Player of the Year, Sporting News College Football Player of the Year, Consensus All-American, SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Championship Game MVP.

He’s thrown for 8,356 yards, 80 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and he completed 65.8% of his passes in his career. Young is 5’10, 204 pounds so he does not have the prototypical height for the position.

At his pro day he threw 50 passes and completed 44 of them. Four of the incomplete passes were not his fault. He has exceptionally good accuracy and he’s expected to be the top pick, going to Carolina.

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State: I think he’s the best prospect in the draft. Stroud is 21 – 4 in his two seasons as a starter. He’s 6’3, 214 pounds so he has the height to see over defenders and offensive lineman in the pocket.

In his career he passed for 7,775 yards, 81 TD’s, 12 picks with a 69.3% completion rate. He played the best game of his career in his final game in the College Football Playoff against Georgia.

It says a lot about his character that he was able to play his best on a national stage against the best team in the nation. He should be picked No. 2 by the Houston Texans.

Will Levies, Kentucky: After the first two quarterbacks I think there’s a precipitous drop off in talent. Levis started his career at Penn State from 2018 to 2020.

He redshirted his first year, then spent the next two as Sean Clifford’s backup. He transferred to Kentucky in 2021, after graduating that May with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business.

In his two season’s starting in Lexington his record is 18 – 8, which is impressive for Kentucky. He’s thrown for 5,876 yards, 46 scores, 25 interceptions and he completed 64.9% of his passes.

He’s thrown double digit interceptions in both seasons so he does turn the ball over. Some people make the argument that the Wildcats lacked talent so he had to force some throws.

He is 6’4, 232 lbs. so he has good size. He’s now projected to go later in the first round, possibly as late as the No. 19 pick to Tampa Bay.

Anthony Richardson, Florida: He’s the example of possessing all of the measurables but the film does not match that. He’s 6’4, 244 pounds so scouts fell in love with his size. Then he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and had a 40.5 inch vertical jump.

Now for what he’s done on the field. He’s only started 13 games, with a 6 – 7 record.

He’s passed for 3,105 yards, 24 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and completed 54.7% of his passes. He did rush for 1,116 yards and 12 scores.

He struggles with accuracy and turning the ball over. He also does not have much playing experience. He’s going to be drafted high based on his potential.

He has been projected to be drafted as high as No. 4. I think he will be picked in the top 10 by a desperate franchise, even though he is expected to be a backup as a rookie.


On The Clock

By: Robert Craft news services

The Atlanta Falcons have the eighth pick in the NFL Draft. Round 1 begins on April 27 in Kansas City. The Falcons own eight total picks in the draft.

Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot had some roster rebuilding to do in their first two seasons, starting with shedding expensive salaries.

Weathering that stretch came with back-to-back 7-10 seasons, but they had money to spend this offseason for the first time.

They first used it on safety Jessie Bates III, defensive tackle David Onyemata, linebacker Kaden Elliss, cornerback Mike Hughes, wide receiver Mack Hollins and quarterback Taylor Heinicke; then, they traded for former Titans and Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith.

Casey Hayward will be entering his 12th season this year, and he’s coming off a torn pectoral muscle. The Falcons need an heir similar to Hayward, who they can pair with A.J. Terrell into the future.

Bates addresses the immediate need in the starting lineup, and 2021 second-round pick Richie Grant will man the other spot, but the Falcons need depth and could use special teams bodies as well.

Hollins’ signing takes care of the No. 2 receiver position, but the modern NFL rewards teams who have a lot of targets. Atlanta needs at least one more wide receiver.

The one position everyone was sure the Falcons would address in free agency was edge rusher. The Falcons were 31st in the NFL last season in pressure rate (25.8 percent), which was an improvement over dead last in 2021 (24.1 percent).

Atlanta’s 39 sacks over the last two seasons rank last in the NFL by a wide margin. The 31st-place Raiders have had 62 in that span. Sixteen teams have at least doubled the Falcons’ total.

None of that changes the fact that the Falcons need a pass rusher, and at this point it’s going to have to come with the No. 8 pick in the draft.

So here I go with three pass rushers who the Falcons should be looking at in Rounds 1.

Tyree Wilson, edge, Texas Tech: It feels like Wilson moves up one spot in all the mock drafts every week, and he might not be available at No. 8.

The Falcons might be able to get the No. 6 pick from Detroit by swapping this year’s Nos. 8 and 75 for it.

That would be contingent on two things, the Lions not loving Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson and the Falcons really loving Wilson.

There’s a lot to love about the 6-foot-6, 271-pounder, who has an 86-inch wingspan. He will make an immediate impact as a pass rusher, but Wilson needs to be a better run defender (the lesser of Atlanta’s concerns).

Myles Murphy, edge, Clemson: If Wilson is off the board, then Murphy is the next best thing. At the moment, Murphy is mid- to low-first round in most mock drafts, but that could change on April 4, when he holds a private workout.

A tweaked hamstring kept him from doing much of anything at the combine or at Clemson’s pro day. A lot of people will be comparing the numbers from Murphy’s workout against the numbers Wilson puts up at the Red Raiders’ pro day Wednesday. Murphy has pedigree (five-star high school prospect) and production (more than 10 tackles for loss each season).

Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia: Atlanta will be tempted to end the consecutive Georgia guys in the first round to 4, but four consecutive Bulldogs on defense, they might be tempted to extend it.

That’s never a bad strategy when drafting a Georgia defensive player. Smith has the sixth-best relative athletic score (RAS) among defensive ends in this year’s class and ran a blazing 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the combine. Four. Point. Three. Nine. Seconds.

With the 8th pick in the NFL Draft the Atlanta Falcons select….

Final Four

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The state of Florida is known for talented football players. It’s very surprising that two teams from Florida made an improbable run to the Final Four.

The teams in the Final Four are Florida Atlantic, U Conn, Miami and San Diego State. The highest remaining see, U Conn is a four seed.

For the first time since 1970, the Final Four will have three first-time participants. And though Connecticut is gunning for its fifth championship since 1999 (under its third different coach), the Huskies began their run with only one tournament victory since their last title in 2014.

No. 5 Miami (29 – 7) beat No. 2 Texas (29 – 9) 88 – 81 in the Elite Eight. The Hurricanes were down at halftime, 45 – 37. They outscored the Longhorns in the second half, 51 – 36. This is the first Final Four appearance in program history.

Jordan Miller finished with 27 points, going 7 of 7 from the field and 13 of 13 from the foul line, while Wong scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half against the Longhorns, who had been the top remaining seed in a topsy-turvy NCAA Tournament.

“How hard we fought to come back in this game, especially on a stage like this, it’s an amazing feeling,” said Nijel Pack, one of Miami’s newcomers. “I know how much these guys wanted to win this game, especially being here last year and losing the Elite Eight, and now being able to take it to the Final Four is something special.”

The Hurricanes are led by junior guard Isiah Wong, the ACC player of the year.

Miami plays No. 4 U Conn (29 – 8) in the night game Saturday, April 1 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

FAU (35 – 3) plays its home games in cozy 2,900-seat Baldwin Arena, a generously named gym. The Owls nickname is derived from their Boca Raton, Fla. campus being designated a burrowing owl sanctuary in 1971.

In the first round against Memphis, there was a tied-up ball after the Tigers were denied a timeout, which led to a floater by Nick Boyd with 2.5 seconds left that gave the Owls a 1-point victory. They then rallied late to beat Fairleigh Dickinson, Tennessee and Kansas State.

No. 9 Florida Atlantic beat No. 3 Kansas State (26 – 10) 79 – 76 to advance to their first Final Four. Alijah Martin set the tone early in the game with a hard one-handed dunk. This game was played at Madison Square Garden.

“They’re going to label us whatever, but we’re some pit bulls and Rottweilers,” Martin said.

This is Florida Atlantic’s second NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2002. They are the first No. 9 seed to advance to the Final Four since Wichita State in 2013.

“I expect the prognosticators to pick us fifth in the Final Four,” fifth-year FAU coach Dusty May said.

The Owls play No. 5 San Diego State (31 – 6) in the first game of the Final Four. I think this will be a close game so I’m not sure who to pick. I do believe the U Conn Huskies will win the national championship though.


By: Kipp Branch news services

Spring is in the air as the best in the world head to the Augusta National Golf Club for the 87th playing of the Masters Tournament.

Blooming dogwoods, azaleas, and the beautiful golf sanctuary of Augusta National tell you that Spring has officially arrived on the calendar.

Patrons will choose between two Masters favorites on the low priced food menu, the Pimento Cheese or Egg Salad Sandwich. No cell phones are allowed, limited commercials if you happen to watch on TV, and finally my favorite, tradition, the rough is referred to as the “second cut.”

Up until 1983 players had to use local caddies provided by Augusta National. Players are allowed to use their own caddies now, but they have to wear the Augusta uniform, which is a green hat and white jumpsuit.

The Masters has always been the crown jewel of Georgia based sporting events, and in 2023 the event will be completed on Easter Sunday.

2023 Masters odds:

Jon Rahm 15-2: Rahm is the betting favorite coming into the 2023. Rahm has never won the Masters but always seems to be near the top of leaderboards during the big events.

This guy is mentally tough and has every shot in his arsenal to win multiple Masters over his career.

He is the 21 US Open winner, and has top 5 finishes in the other 3 majors.

Scottie Scheffler 8-1: The defending champion is the best player in the world currently.

Scheffler is coming off a win at the Players Championship, and he has won a lot of golf tournaments (6) since the start of 2022. A win in 2023 puts him in the club of repeat winners that includes Nicklaus, Woods, and Faldo.

Rory McIlroy 17-2: Rory shot a final round 64 in 2022 to finish second three shots behind Scheffler.

He is only 32 years old so there is still plenty of time. He has six top-10 finishes to his name at The Masters and has only missed the cut twice. From 2014 to 2020 he finished outside the top-10 only once. Rory plays well at Augusta. The career Grand Slam is in his sights.

Cameron Smith 12-1: Smith can putt. He is the current holder of the Open Championship. He currently plays on the LIV Golf League. With all the drama going on between LIV and the PGA tour will this be a distraction for Smith?

Jordan Spieth 15-1: Can Spieth get back to the status of a few years ago? I think he is close to another breakthrough win.

Justin Thomas 16-1: Thomas has that ‘it’ factor now. Multiple major winner that can compete at every major moving forward.

Xander Schauffele 18-1: Talent is there. Zander just needs a break to go his way at Augusta.

Tony Finau 20-1: Tony has it all. Some tag him as the best player to never win a major. I dislike that tag. Finau’s time will come.

Will Zalatoris 20-1: Will has been very close at majors. Lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas at Southern Hills for the 2022 PGA Championship. Another player who seems to play his best in the majors.

Collin Morikawa 22-1: Two time major winner has the game to win at Augusta. Can win on any type of golf course. Solid all around player.

Will Tiger be in the field? If he is then I will watch every shot from Thursday to Sunday and make the wife upset.

Hopefully she understands by now that if Tiger is on the tube then count Kipp Branch out of everything. Tiger brings massive TV ratings.

Winner Prediction: Rory gets it done and completes the career grand slam and cements his place as one of the all-time greats.

Winner Score: 276 (-12)



Falling Apart?

By: Robert Craft news services

Many talent evaluators around the NFL believe Jalen Carter is the best player available in the NFL draft.

Whether he goes first or fifth or somewhere significantly south in the draft depends in large part on whether: 1) He has a significant turnaround from his current physical and mental state , or 2) a team locks onto his raw talent only.

The best version of Jalen Carter was not on display at Georgia’s Pro Day. NFL personnel officials, coaches and media members in attendance saw an overweight Carter huffing and puffing through drills that were set up for defensive linemen. He did not participate in any other skills tests, nor the 40-yard dash.

Carter weighed 323 pounds, that’s 13 pounds heavier than he was listed at during Georgia’s season. It’s also nine pounds heavier than the 314 he weighed at the scouting combine two weeks ago. It was clearly not nine pounds of muscle. He looked flabby. He looked like a risk for any team that decides to hand him a $20 million-plus signing bonus.

After arriving in Indianapolis to undergo physical exams and meet with teams (Carter had already opted out of workouts), the arrest warrant was issued in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia. Carter left Indianapolis, turned himself in and was booked and released within hours. Then he returned to the combine and resumed interviews with teams.

No, Carter shouldn’t get brownie points for having to leave the combine in the first place. Yet, he returned when others might have stayed away. Which is an additional point for teams to consider in assessing one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft.

Carter is the most dominant defensive lineman in this draft, who had a viral moment in the SEC Championship Game when he lifted LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels with one arm while throwing up the No. 1 sign with his other hand.

Putting aside Carter’s two misdemeanors, the main questions about Carter that have been out there among pro scouts since during the season related to his consistency and work ethic.

Carter’s Pro Day was not a good look. There already were lingering questions about where Carter might be psychologically after the accident, and how he had handled himself in the suddenly negative spotlight.

All 32 NFL teams attended the Georgia pro day, including Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith, Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus and General Manager Ryan Poles and Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and GM Omar Khan.

Carter helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships and played at a dominant level despite dealing with knee and ankle injuries.

He has a month before the draft to get into shape and ease concerns. He has a month to realize he is in the midst of a job interview.

Fighting Owls

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The Kennesaw State Owls men’s basketball team made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history in 2023.

The Owls (26 – 9) were the No. 14 seed in the Midwest Region. They got there by winning the Atlantic Sun regular season and conference tournament. They faced No. 3 Xavier (26 – 9), who finished second in the Big East.

KSU played well early on, going into halftime with a 43 – 36 lead. They looked like they were to pull the upset. They led by as many as 13 points in the second half.

The Musketeers had a 68 – 67 lead in the final seconds of the game. Kennesaw State point guard Terrell Burden got a shoulder past his defender and drove to the paint. He stumbled and Xavier’s Jack Nunge blocked his shot.

The 7-footer’s block was part of the reason the Owls shot 2-for-15 over the final 9 1/2 minutes, reversing the momentum of the game.

Souley Boum hit four clinching free throws in the final 2.6 seconds for the Musketeers, who ran off 15 unanswered points as part of a game-ending 24-6 run. The final score was 72 – 67.

“In the timeout, we were supposed to switch everything,” Nunge said, adding: “He’s a really good driver at getting to the rim and I just came over and blocked it.”

Burden said everything with the play ran as designed until Nunge’s arrival.

“It was a great play by him to meet me at the rim,” Burden said.

Jerome Hunter scored a career-best 24 points to lead the Musketeers, while Boum had 17. Nunge had 10 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Burden and Chris Youngblood each scored 14 points to lead Kennesaw State, which appeared on the verge of a signature March moment.

“We did some things early on both ends of the court that helped build that 13-point lead,” Kennesaw State coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said. “But if anybody in that building thought that was going to be how the game stayed, you hadn’t watched much basketball in March — and you probably haven’t watched much basketball in general.”

Amir is the younger brother of NBA All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim. They both attended Joseph Wheeler High School in Marietta Georgia.

Abdur-Rahim has been the head coach at KSU for four seasons. Things looked terrible in his first season (2019-20) when they went 1 – 28. They were also winless in conference play. Things gradually improved his second year with a 5 – 19 record. Last season they were 13 – 18.

This performance might propel Abdur-Rahim into the conversation for any head-coach openings this hiring cycle. This season was the Owls’ first winning season in the program’s 18-year history as a Division I school.

It looks like the Owls have a bright future. They did have three senior starters this season.

Playing in the NCAA Tournament should help raise the recruiting profile. I also believe higher profile players from the transfer portal will take a look at going to KSU.

I hope they can sustain the progress they made this season.


At The End Of The Rainbow

By: Garrison Ryfun news services

Just before Saint Patrick’s Day, Florida State and Georgia Tech announced they would play their 2024 season opener in Ireland as a part of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

This will be the 9th college football game played in Ireland, and one of the few times neither school playing in Ireland has had an Irish/catholic connection.

The Aer Lingus College Football Classic started in 2016 with a contest between Georgia Tech and Boston College, where the Yellow Jackets prevailed 17-14.

The Classic then took a five-season break and finally returned in Fall of 2022, with a matchup between Nebraska and Northwestern last season.

Now, The Classic seems serious about bringing a week 0 college football game to Ireland, with games set up to begin the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

Notre Dame, a more fitting brand for Ireland, is set to take on Navy to start the 2023 season at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland for The Classic.

There are pros and cons to the more increasingly common, neutral-site season openers – even ones that take place outside of the United States.

The biggest pros are for the student athletes and brand of college football in general.

The student athletes get to go and experience a different country and different culture, something many of which likely have never done in their lives.

The brand of college football also gets to be put onto display for Irish citizens, who have likely never experienced American college football in their lives.

The cons for a college football brand is losing a home game and the revenue that the local businesses around your school usually get with a home game.

In this case, the home team would have been Georgia Tech, and the game would have been played in Atlanta, Georgia.

This is one case where I do not think local businesses will be as hurt with a neutral-site game. Though there is said to be a large alumni base of Florida State graduates in the Atlanta area.

This kind of classic abroad is also done in the National Football League with five games already set to be played out of the United States in the 2023 season: with the Bills, Titans, and Jaguars playing in London and the Chiefs and Patriots both hosting games in Germany.

This is all done in an attempt to grow the brand of American Football abroad.

Something that may wind up failing, but as long as the governments of these countries continue to advocate for it – American football will be there to show off in all its glory.

Greener Grass

By: Robert Craft news services

In a talk that generated headlines across the ACC, Florida State Seminole athletic director Michael Alford pointed out the difference in projected conference revenue between the ACC, the Big Ten, and SEC once their new media rights deals begin.

It’s true, FSU does not have a viable escape route anytime soon. In the Texas/OU and USC/UCLA cases, the schools waited to leave until their leagues’ Grant of Rights were up. (Two Big 12 schools have since negotiated an early exit.)

The ACC’s deal goes another 13 years. In that board meeting, FSU’s general counsel threw out $120 million as a cost to leave the ACC, but as best I can tell, that’s just the league’s exit fee.

The cost to buy back more than a decade’s worth of your own TV rights from the conference would be exponentially more.

It’s been suggested that FSU and Clemson (or others) could challenge the Grant of Rights in court, but contracts that deal with millions of dollars tend to be pretty ironclad. If they weren’t, someone would have challenged one already.

FSU, as well as Clemson, are posturing for unequal revenue sharing, under the premise they bring more value than the other 12 schools, the implicit threat is lingering: if you don’t pay us, we’ll leave eventually.

This story is similar to USC’s decade of largely behind-the-scenes grumbling, but this time the other schools have no short-term incentive to agree to it. The best case the pair could make might be,

“We’re your conference’s best hope of winning a national championship in football. The 12-team Playoff Model is expected to be more performance-based than presently, if a big money team like Clemson or FSU wins three games in the playoffs en route to the 2026 national title, everyone reaps benefits.”

I don’t think anyone wants to take in less money than they are currently making. The question is one of leverage. Do Florida State, Clemson and others have actual leverage in today’s negotiations?

They’re locked into a deal with the ACC through 2036 that could cost more than $300 million to break between just exit fees and the grant of rights.

If those schools do not have offers in hand to join the Big Ten or the SEC, can they really force the rest of the conference to acquiesce on this?

For what it’s worth, I’m not sure shuffling around a few million dollars per year actually closes the revenue gaps Alford was talking about with his board.

If FSU gets, say, $5 million more per year than it does now, does that actually close the gap it’s staring down with powerhouses like Georgia? Or is this more of a philosophical conversation?

The ACC should be thinking externally, not internally, and figuring a way to generate more revenue, because soon their schools are going to be sharing it with their athletes

I see the anxiety and hear the chatter from FSU fans every day. Everyone’s worried about revenue, stratification and falling behind. So it may help fans to hear your leaders fighting for more. But I’m also not sure there’s going to be enough of a force to force real change.

My two cents: Though I do recommend making some effort to keep your marquee programs happy, FSU does not have much leverage here. You’re talking about a “threat” that might not come to fruition for more than a decade, by which point the sport’s traditional conference model could be abandoned entirely.

Who knows what will happen in 13 years’ time, programs can only plan for the near future.

The Madness

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The NCAA basketball tournament begins this week. Let’s take a look at teams around the Southeast and predict how they will do.

Alabama (29 – 5) is the number one overall seed in the tournament. They are the top seed in the South region. They will play the winner of No. 16 Texas A&M CC and No. 16 SE Missouri State. They will steamroll whoever they face in the first round.

The Crimson Tide have been making headlines off the court, unfortunately. Star freshman small forward Brandon Miller is accused by police of giving now-former teammate Darius Miles the gun that was allegedly used by another man to kill a woman near the school’s campus in mid-January, according to multiple news reports.

He’s still currently playing but I think the pressure will grow the further they advance. Miller is a projected lottery pick.

The second-round matchup will either be No. 8 Maryland or No. 9 West Virginia. Expect Bama to get to the Sweet Sixteen with ease.

Virginia is the No. 4 team in the region and the first-round game is against No. 13 Furman. They will likely face No. 5 San Diego State in the second round, which will be tough.

Auburn is No. 9 in the Midwest region and they play against No. 8 Iowa. That’s a fairly even matchup. If the Tigers win the next round should be against No. 1 Houston.

No. 5 Miami faces No. 12 Drake. Upsets typically occur in the 12 versus 5 seed games so this should be interesting. The Hurricanes are a very solid team so I expect them to advance and play the winner of No. 4 Indiana or No. 13 Kent State. I think Miami has a real shot of getting to the Sweet Sixteen.

Kennesaw State (26 – 8) is the fourteenth seed in the Midwest. The Owls won the Atlantic Sun tournament and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. They face No. 3 Xavier in Greensboro, North Carolina. As a KSU alum I hope they can pull off the upset.

I think the East is a very interesting region because they have some lower seeds that are dangerous. No. 5 Duke will play No. 12 Oral Roberts in round one. The Blue Devils won the ACC Tournament, beating Virginia in the championship game. They will face the winner of No. 4 Tennessee or No. 13 Louisiana.

I think Duke is a Final Four team loaded with talent. They’re led by freshman power forward/center Kyle Filipowski. He’s a 7 footer that can handle the ball and he plays hard on both ends.

No. 6 Kentucky plays No. 11 Providence. The Wildcats are led by freshman guard Cason Wallace.

Kentucky recruits well so they have a lot of talent. They have underachieved all season though. If they win, they will more than likely play No. 3 Kansas State in the next round.

No. 8 Memphis (26 – 8) won the AAC Tournament. They upset No. 1 Houston in the championship game. I think the Tigers will beat No. 9 FAU and face No. 1 Purdue next.

Hardwood Shambles

By: Steve Norris news services

The date was March 16, 1996.

Tubby Smith, Georgia’s head basketball coach in his first year at the school, had just beaten Gene Keady’s number one seeded Purdue Boilermakers 76-69 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

This was rare air for the Bulldogs. They hadn’t been this far in the NCAA Tournament since their magical run to the Final Four in 1983.

Unfortunately for Dawg fans, Georgia would lose six days later in overtime to Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orangemen in one of the most exciting tournament games in history. At the time, the loss stung for Georgia fans, but we knew Tubby had the program on the right course.

Unfortunately, in May of 1997, the one school that could lure him away, Kentucky, came calling. Smith accepted the job and immediately led the Wildcats to the National Championship the following year.

As for Georgia, the long NCAA Tournament nightmare was just beginning. Little did Dawg fans know that the upset of Purdue would be the last Tournament victory for at least the next 27 years. A streak that is still active to this day.

Yes…you read that right. The University of Georgia, one of the most powerful schools, not only in the SEC, but in the nation for decades now, has a basketball program that hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since the previous century.

You’ve heard of the NCAA Tournament, right? The one that basically lets just about everyone in?

When other schools in the state of Georgia like Mercer University have more NCAA Tournament victories (2014 over Duke) in the last quarter century than UGA, there is a serious problem in Athens.

You know the University of Georgia, right? The one whose football program has won the last two football national championships, which means they’re basically printing money due to the influx of donations just from their big time donors alone?

You know, the one who’s also getting over $50 million dollars per year in TV rights money from the SEC right now? And that amount is expected to double to over $100 million per school by 2028.

How could a school this powerful, with this many resources, that is an hour down the road from Atlanta, which is one of the most talent-rich high school basketball cities in the nation, possibly be this mediocre at basketball for this long?

One can only come to one conclusion…

The powers-that-be at Butts-Mehre in Athens simply do not care about basketball.

Well, not for at least 20 years, anyway.

In 1999, then athletic director Vince Dooley hired Jim Harrick to be Georgia’s head basketball coach. Harrick came with major accolades, including leading UCLA to the 1995 national championship.

Unfortunately, Harrick, who had been fired from UCLA in 1996 for allegedly falsifying receipts and then covering it up, got in more trouble at Georgia in 2003 due to an academic scandal just before the NCAA Tournament.

Dooley was so incensed with the situation, that he pulled Georgia out of the tournament and vacated all of Georgia’s wins for the 2003 season. Harrick was subsequently fired five days later.

Since then, Georgia’s coaching hires have been underwhelming, at best: Dennis Felton, Mark Fox, Tom Crean, and now Mike White.

The only coach on that list with any real accomplishments coming in was Crean, who had taken Marquette to the Final Four in 2003 and was the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2016 while at Indiana while winning the regular season championship. Even with those accolades, Crean went a very disappointing 47-75 over four seasons at Georgia and was fired a year ago.

Now we have Mike White, who just led Georgia to a 16-16 record in his first year, missing the NCAA Tournament yet again. Unfortunately for Georgia fans, this is considered a banner year! After all, the Dawgs only won six games last year, so a ten-game improvement should be seen as a good sign, right? Don’t bet on it.

According to Dawgs247, White’s first recruiting class (2022) was ranked 50th overall.

His 2023 class isn’t much better as it’s ranked 40th overall. So, unless White suddenly becomes Mike Krzyzewski overnight, I don’t see things improving on the hard court for Georgia anytime soon.

Oh, and speaking of the hard court…Georgia’s is falling apart. Literally.

In what can only be described as a perfect metaphor for Georgia’s basketball program, Stegeman Coliseum was closed down a couple of weeks ago because of hazardous conditions due to pieces of the ceiling breaking off and falling onto the court.

This is the same building that is going on 60-years-old and has been mocked by opposing fans for years for being outdated. While UGA did make improvements to Stegeman in 2017, it’s not the kind of stuff that’s going to impress recruits.

It basically amounted to putting lipstick on a pig. It’s far past time to knock Stegeman down and build a state-of-the-art facility.

Kirby Smart showed when he took over the UGA football program, that you have to be willing to spend a lot of money if you want to win championships. For Smart…mission accomplished.

If the powers-that-be at the University of Georgia are not going to step up and make basketball a priority right now, then when will they? What’s the right time if it’s not now?

I wonder if Kirby can coach basketball.