No repeat of Tornado Tourney

Friends and family watch the Kentucky-Georgia basketball game on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta on March 15, 2008. The tournament was moved when high winds damaged the Georgia Dome. (The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 12:11 a.m.
This SEC Tournament marks the fifth anniversary of the Tornado Tournament in Atlanta when the Georgia Bulldogs won it all and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The tournament was moved to Georgia Tech's Alexander Coliseum after a tornado ripped through a corner of the Georgia Dome during the quarterfinals and made it unsafe to continue. For those who were there, it was an unforgettable experience. But don't look for a repeat of the Dream Dawgs in Nashville this week. Here are five reasons why that won't happen.

1. The bottom is bad That Georgia team went 4-12 in SEC play in 2008, so if we're going to quantify which teams could replicate an amazing run, we have to eliminate 11 of the 14 members of the league. That leaves South Carolina, Auburn and Mississippi State. Those three teams, to quote Charles Barkley “are turrrible.” When you look at the SEC and all of the criticism it has received, a lot of it is because of the bottom. South Carolina has six SEC losses of at least 18 points. Auburn won its first two conference game, then lost 15 of 16. Mississippi State ranks 310th in the country in scoring and 311th in field goal percentage. We're talking bad. 2. It's a new tournament Certainly, the 2008 Georgia team overcame amazing odds by winning two games in one day, beating Kentucky in the morning and Mississippi State at night. But for a team from the bottom to win the tournament this year, it would have to win five games in five days. UConn did it two years ago in the Big East Tournament, but that was a ranked team and Kemba Walker isn't walking through that door. 3. Tornado free The weather forecast for Nashville this week is warm and sunny. The chances are not good for a tornado to disrupt the tournament. Now that we have formally jinxed things we can tell you the chances of a major earthquake hitting Nashville in the next 50 years is 0.34 percent. The fact that the games were moved five years ago and only a handful of fans were allowed to watch was a huge factor in Georgia's run. 4. The bubble In 2008, there were four teams who pretty much knew they were in the NCAA Tournament — Tennessee (which ended up as a two seed), Vanderbilt (a four), Arkansas (a nine), Mississippi State (an eight) and Kentucky (an 11). None of the rest of the SEC teams were on the bubble. It's a different story this year. There will be a lot of desperate, hungry teams in Nashville fighting for a bid. 5. Georgia wasn't that bad The Bulldogs didn't have a good record, but they knew they could play with the rest of the conference. They had already beaten Arkansas, the team they beat in the final, by 13 during the season. The losses to Kentucky were by five and six points. Any team with the trio of Sundiata Gaines, Billy Humphrey and Terrance Woodbury is a dangerous team. Dennis Felton didn't get the most of them during the season, but he did in Atlanta.

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