Georgia lost 81-56 to Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, but the Lady Bulldogs learned Monday that the NCAA Tournament selection committee didn’t hold it against them. Georgia was seeded No. 3 in the tournament’s Dallas Regional and will play 14th-seeded Belmont on Saturday in Minneapolis. Game time had not been set as of 9:45 p.m. Monday.
“I’m really pleased that we’re a three because when we played against Vandy in the SEC Tournament, I thought we put ourselves, with the way that we played, at the mercy of the committee,” Landers said. “It wouldn’t have surprised me if we’d been a four.”
This will be second straight year and the fifth time overall the Lady Bulldogs have entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed. The first two times – 1995 and 1999 – they advanced to the Final Four. In 2004, they went to the Elite Eight as a three seed. Last year, third-seeded Georgia was knocked out in the Sweet 16.
“I thought (the seed) was pretty generous after our outing in the SEC Tournament,” junior Megan Darrah said.
Belmont, based in Nashville, Tenn., earned an automatic bid to the tournament by winning the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Bruins finished the season 25-6 and 16-2 in the Atlantic Sun. It was Belmont’s first conference title in women’s basketball.
The Bruins played one SEC team this year, coming within one point (52-51) of beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Dec. 20. Alabama finished 0-14 in the SEC this year.
Belmont is led by 5-foot-10 sophomore forward Alysha Clark, who averages 17.2 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. No other Bruin averages more than 10 points or seven rebounds.
“I don’t know anything about them,” All-SEC forward Tasha Humphrey said, “but I probably will know everything I need to know within 24 hours.”
It will be the first meeting between the Lady Bulldogs and Belmont. If Georgia wins Saturday, it will advance to play the winner of the game between No. 5 seed Iowa State and No. 12 seed Washington game on Monday in Minneapolis. The winner of that game will head to Dallas for the Sweet 16.
North Carolina, the nation’s No. 2 team, is the top seed in Georgia’s regional, but Landers isn’t looking that far down the road.
“I know that it’s old and I know that it’s not what you want to hear right now, but I can’t tell you who’s in our region,” he said. “I haven’t looked at the bracket, and I don’t know if I will. If you held a gun to my head right now, I don’t know who the No. 2 in our region is, and it really doesn’t matter. There’s only one thing that we’re certain of. If we don’t beat Belmont, we won’t be playing any more.”
Georgia is 25-6 and ranked No. 14 in the country. It finished second in the SEC’s regular season behind only Tennessee.