Matthew Brown: You, go in for Mike

Mar. 1—How long Mike White's tenure will be as the head men's basketball coach at The University of Georgia is anybody's guess outside of the Bulldog athletic department.

If it lasts for another 20 years, and things go like they have in his first two seasons, White may end up with the greatest winning percentage for November and December games in program history. That is, of course, the time when nobody's paying attention to the goings on at Stegeman Coliseum.

Beyond that, when the spotlight halfway goes to hoops, White would then have the absolute worst winning percentage in Southeastern Conference games Georgia has ever seen. And recently, we've seen some doozies.

Almost. Very close. By a razor-thin margin of one point, Georgia men's basketball was denied the sixth SEC win of the season Tuesday at LSU. The game was decided at the foul line with Tiger Will Baker sinking two with 15 seconds remaining.

Now, I trust the radio team of Scott Howard and Chuck Dowdle to be honest in their call of the action. While there was no hesitation on one end to blow a whistle that changed Georgia's one-point lead to a one-point deficit, there was apparent hesitation on the other end. The Bulldogs had two shots labeled as lay-ups, one of which was blocked and, by the broadcast perspective, with a lot of contact against Noah Thomasson.

But, LSU wins 67-66 avenging a 68-66 loss in Athens back on Jan. 24.

It's another situation where you simply can't put the whole outcome on what did or did not happen with two seconds to play. Georgia shot 37 percent from the floor and missed 20 3-pointers. Missing shots isn't a basketball crime; turnovers are. The Bulldogs had 12 of them Tuesday (eight different players had at least one; how's that for spreading the wealth?), which means 12 times you don't even get a shot off. LSU scored 16 points off of turnovers.

I can look at a Georgia College & State University basketball box score (thanks Michael) and see things like when each team had its biggest lead, the number of lead changes and the amount of time each team had the lead. Georgia, at LSU, had to fight back from a 15-point hole, and did so in the second half. If 'time with lead' can also be translated as 'played better,' that was well in the Tigers' favor by what I heard.

In the overall picture of Georgia's season, it's amazing how there's a particular schedule constant between this one and last year, Mike White's first since coming up from Florida. The Bulldogs played their fifth SEC game at Kentucky both seasons. Each time, they went to Rupp Arena 3-1 in the conference. Time and again I wrote how after losing bad at Kentucky last season, Georgia only won three more games.

One year later, the same scenario is playing out except that this season isn't over and UGA hasn't reached three wins post-Lexington loss. Tuesday was a great chance for No. 3, but LSU was the second team Georgia lost a rematch with after beating it the first time (South Carolina is the other). Another point of irony, both LSU and South Carolina beat Kentucky in-between their games with Georgia.

Stegemen Coliseum was sold out for two Saturday afternoon games with Florida and Auburn, both losses (hey, at least nobody got hurt in a celebration mob and the school saved about $200K). The next two games are at home, and both could be labeled as winnable against Texas A&M and Ole Miss.

As for White and his future, you look at the results and kind of start doing what a coach does during a game: looking at the bench to see who he can bring in when somebody makes a bad play. I've seen a lot of high school coaches do that, substituting like crazy, throwing one player after another towards the scorer's table. I wondered if one would get on such a roll that he'd make six at one time. (But there are only five players in a game.) Yes, he'd take somebody out he just put in. That, like I said, is being on a roll.

Just don't sit too close to the bench or you might get thrown into the action.

In this case, the Georgia basketball fan starts looking around the country to see who's doing well at a smaller Division I school who could flourish in the SEC. South Florida, Florida Atlantic, Utah State, hey, Shaka Smart has Marquette ranked high after a so-so tenure at Texas, not that the Big East is mid-major.

You know, the state has been pursuing the best of all time in other areas this year, so Coach K ... ?

Give me another week and we will see how the Atlanta Hawks are doing without the services of All-Star Trae Young in their quest to remain the staple of the NBA Eastern Conference play-in round.

(If at all possible, give pet adoption a try through the Animal Rescue Foundation in Milledgeville. Donations of any kind are also in great need. ARF is a little red building at 711 S. Wilkinson St., and more information is available at