After the dismissals of Takais Brown and Mike Mercer, I felt like this probably wasn't an NCAA Tourney team. However, I did feel like the team needed to show progress in order to maintain any sort of momentum. The NIT seemed like a manageable goal, and not making any sort of post-season this far into a coach's tenure is pretty unthinkable.
To have a season come so completely unglued during January and February was very tough to watch. The hardest thing about watching the problems were that they were the same old problems over and over.
To Felton's enormous credit, he never lost the team. With the exception of the Florida game, they gave solid effort consistently. They had no idea how to finish a game or score points consistently, but the effort was pretty consistent.
What Felton managed to do over the past four days can't be understated. The single biggest thing that he "fixed" at the SEC Tournament was Finishing the Drill. If you're going to "repair" anything at the 11th hour, that's a good thing to focus on.
We didn't blow our opportunities for success when faced with adversity. Some of that is young players like Woodbury, Jackson and Swansey growing up. Some of it is enormously lucky breaks (like not playing UK in front of 20,000 Cat fans at the Dome), and some of it was just a massive case of "The Want Its" by Gaines, Bliss and others.
Whatever the reason, the 2008 Georgia Bulldogs are SEC Tournament Champions after completing their stunning victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks, and the goal of sport is to win championships. The goal isn't to have a pretty offense, wear the right colors or be warm and fuzzy. The goal is to win titles.
Now...that said....if you're not winning titles, you can make your life a hell of a lot easier by doing those other things a little more. But that's neither here nor there.
I thought earlier in the season that the team had the potential to win seven or eight SEC games. Well...they did. They just went about it in the most difficult way imaginable.
This is by far the most significant title that the Dawgs have won since 1990. The Sweet 16 isn't a championship, and an SEC East Co-Divisional Title doesn't hold a candle to a tourney title.
Official T-Shirt Logo (Click to Buy)
Damon Evans has already said that Dennis Felton will be back next year. The amount of the pay raise and the length of the extension will logically be driven based on how far the team goes from here. If I were guessing right now, I'd say Felton probably bought himself a $100k-140k a year pay raise and a two year contract extension.
Two additional years would bring his total to five years remaining on his deal, and it would essentially guarantee him two more years with much less pressure from the administration. It's an extension and pay raise well deserved.
There are absolutely things that need to be addressed in the off season in terms of talent gaps and offensive scheme issues. However, even an offense that is badly flawed can still look pretty solid with better players, and nothing helps bring in talent like titles.
Great opportunities are right in front of Felton. He just has to find a way to continue taking advantage of them as he did over the past four days.
-- Bulldogs Hold Off Razorbacks - AP
-- Photos from the Game - AJC
-- Photos from the game - AP
-- Winning their way In - AJC
-- Finally Secure - AJC
-- Believe It! - ABH
-- Day Not Soon Forgotten - ABH
Merchandise and Premium Tickets:
-- SEC Tournament Championship T-Shirts - Red
-- Premium NCAA Tickets in Washington DC for UGA's Games - Stuhub