Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Bulldogs basketball’
Coach Mark Fox and his Georgia Bulldogs’ basketball vacation in Italy last week caught the eye of ESPN College Basketball guru Andy Katz, who focused on the Dawgs in one of his segments in his weekly 3-Point-Shot column.
The most exciting news for UGA basketball fans has to be that sophomore Tim Dixon (who was rarely used last season) tallied 9 points and 9 rebounds per game in Italy. If Dixon can put up similar numbers in SEC play this year he would provide much-needed support and depth to a Georgia frontline that will be entering the season with a lot of question marks.
The only portion of the paragraph that might leave Dawgs fans questioning Katz’s knowledge of the team came towards the end of the piece in which he states the following:
“Marcus Thornton, arguably the team’s best player, didn’t play because he hadn’t been cleared since having surgery in the spring.”
I would say that as long as Kentavious-Caldwell Pope is donning the Red and Black that I would have to argue with Mr. Katz that KCP is in fact UGA’s best player.
Next season, Coach Fox is going to need to figure out a way to get offensive production from the guard position after losing his senior backcourt of Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Dustin Ware. I am somewhat concerned that Vincent Williams wasn’t mentioned in this article (or any of CMF’s tweets during his time in Italy) as I think he will be the starting point guard to open up the season.
All and all, it sounds as though this trip provided a lot of good experience for several of Georgia’s players who as of right now haven’t had much of it.
Life on the road continues for Coach Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs (4-2) on Monday night as they travel to Boulder, Colorado to take on the Colorado Buffaloes (3-2). at 8:30pm EST. The Buffaloes are a relatively inexperienced team that is trying to find offense after losing their dynamic guard duo of Alec Burks and Corey Higgins from last season’s team – Burks and Higgins combined to average nearly 37 points per game for the Buffaloes a year ago.
These two teams met in Athens last season, where the Bulldogs topped Colorado 84-74 behind 21 points and 6 assists from Gerald Robinson, Jr.
The Buffaloes start a four-guard lineup that is connecting on 47% of their field goals and nearly 40% of their three-point attempts. Technically, Andre Robertson is listed as a guard – but the 6’7″ sophomore leads the team in rebounding with 11.4 per contest, to go along with 10.4 ppg.
The Buffs’ other leading scorers are seniors Carlon Brown and Austin Default. Brown is a tall guard that is netting a team high 16.2 ppg, and Default is the lone starting forward on Colorado, averaging 13.8 ppg and 6.6 rpg.
The game against Colorado marks the Dawgs’ second true road contest of the young season, with the first one coming last Friday night in a 70-56 loss at #12 Xavier. Coach Mark Fox’s team has been struggling to find an identity so far this year, but poor shooting and rebounding have been hallmarks throughout the first six games (except for the Notre Dame game).
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came into the season with the reputation of being a phenomenal outside shooter, but his 38.6% field goal shooting tells a slightly different story. I realize that KCP is still learning and adjusting to the speed of the college game, but if he could start knocking down a few more shots and free throws his 13.3 ppg would jump to 17 or 18 (he’s making only 55% of his FT attempts).
Coach Fox has clearly been disappointed with Gerald Robinson’s slow start to the season, limiting his senior guard to just 20 minutes per game over the past three contests. In that same span of games, GR2 has committed an unsightly 13 turnovers. Robinson has looked out of control and careless with the basketball, which makes life hard on a Georgia team that was expecting to lean heavily on GR2 for his scoring and play-making ability coming into this season.
I am not sure how I expect this basketball season to unfold for the Georgia Bulldogs – I am optimistically hopeful that they improve as the year progresses. For the Dawgs to show improvement though, they have to start playing to their strengths, which is their guard play. Georgia guards GR2, KCP and Dustin Ware are shooting a combined 37.1% from the floor, and they have more turnovers than assists after 6 games.
If Coach Fox can start getting more consistent play from his backcourt, this Bulldog team could be competitive in most of its games this season.
Georgia Bulldogs basketball coach Mark Fox will be breaking in a lot of new players this season, navigating them through a challenging out-of-conference schedule that should have them prepped and ready for SEC play by the time January rolls around.
Pretty ambitious for a coach who lost nearly 45% of his scoring to the NBA…
ESPN blogger Diamond Leung, of the site’s College Basketball Nation Blog, rated Georgia’s O.O.C. schedule a “7” out of a potential “10”. In his analysis of Georgia’s schedule, Leung comments:
The CBE Classic gives the Bulldogs an opportunity to measure themselves in Kansas City against a veteran Cal team and then either Missouri or Notre Dame. It won’t be easy to pick up road wins against Top-25 Xavier or across the country at USC. Cincinnati is another ranked team and playing in the thin air of Boulder will be a challenge. This schedule gets it done. Will the Dawgs survive?
I am hopeful that Georgia comes out of this slate of games with a 9-5 record, including big home victories over Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. Anything better than that would be cause for some serious optimism heading into conference play, because it would assume wins away from Stegeman against Cal, Missouri or Notre Dame, Xavier, Colorado or Southern Cal.
Any other predictors out there?
From the twitter account of ESPN’s Andy Katz – “Georgia with late possession win over rival Georgia Tech in Atlanta. That’s the type of win road win UGA should have to be taken seriously.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
After sleepwalking through the first half of last night’s game against Georgia Tech (4-4), the Dawgs (6-2) woke up behind a barrage of Dustin Ware three-pointers to secure Georgia‘s first win at Alexander Memorial Colesium in 10 years.
Ware hit 7 of his 9 three-point attempts last night and finished with 21 points along with 6 assists, including the game-winner that put his Dawgs up 73-70 with just 18 seconds remaining.
Georgia Tech had the ball with 11 seconds left and an opportunity to tie the game, but Glen Rice, Jr. elected to take the lay-up instead, cutting the Georgia lead to 73-72 with just 6.8 seconds remaining in the game.
The Dawgs then in-bounded the ball to Gerald Robinson, Jr. – GR2 is so fast with the ball that he nearly got away from the Tech defenders and ran out the clock himself. However, he was fouled with just 4.5 seconds remaining and managed to miss both free throws – the only silver lining here is that there were only 2.8 seconds left after the Jackets were able to run down his second miss and call timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Brian Oliver elected to throw a hail mary pass that was intercepted by Georgia’s Travis Leslie and the game was officially over.
The importance of Georgia‘s sharp perimeter shooting cannot be stated enough. Sherrard Brantley had his best game to date as a Dawg, knocking down three shots from beyond the arc and finishing with 9 points. Brantley hit back-to-back three’s during a crucial stretch in the second half, giving Georgia‘s its first lead at 48-47 with 12:10 remaining. He then answered a Brian Oliver three on the ensuing possession to put the Dawgs back on top 51-50 at the 11:36 mark. With both Travis Leslie and GR2 dealing with foul trouble, Brantley was thrust into the difficult role of guarding Tech’s Iman Shumpert in the second half. Brantley stepped up and did a nice job with Shumpert, limiting him to just 7 points in the second half (and maybe wearing him down – Shumpert had to sit the game’s final minutes dealing with leg cramps).
The Jackets started the game with a 2-3 zone that stymied the Dawgs on offense for a majority of the first half. The Dawgs shot just 40% from the field and turned it over 5 times – Trey had 3 of those first-half turnovers and just 6 points. Thompkins struggled to find offense against the Tech zone, with defenders collapsing on him every time he touched the ball.
The Dawgs had a seven-minute stretch in the first half in which they scored only one field goal, enabling the Jackets to build a 31-21 lead with just 2:17 left before the break.
Fortunately for Georgia, they played pretty tough defense which kept the game within reach – trailing 35-29 at the half.
The second half was a different story.
Ware and Brantley buried a combined six three-point shots, forcing Paul Hewitt to put his team in a man-to-man defense. Georgia Tech’s Paul Oliver and Daniel Miller were no match for Thompkins, as Trey torched the Jackets for 15 second-half points – he finished with 21 points and 6 rebounds.
In the second half, the Dawgs shot an improved 48.4% from the field, and they made 7 of 11 from beyond the arc.
It is also worth noting that Georgia only turned the ball over TWICE in the second half, and just seven times in the game. This shows a lot of maturity from Fox’s team, committing only seven turnovers playing on the road in a hostile environment.
And how about the resiliency of this Dawgs team?
When the Jackets went up 70-65 following a dunk by Daniel Miller with only 2:14 left in the game, it looked as if this one was slipping away.
But Gerald Robinson calmly guided his team’s offense and fed a beautiful entry pass to Trey – Thompkins finished the play plus the free throw to bring Georgia within two. Following a nice Georgia defensive stand, GR2 took the ball to the basket and finished an amazing left-handed finger-roll, tying the game at 70 apiece. And then (as we all are well aware) came the GR2 dish to Ware for the big three that gave Georgia the win.
So in the game’s final two minutes, Robinson led the Dawgs with 2 assists and a field goal.
Gerald Robinson finished the game with 11 points and 6 assists, and at this point, it looks like GR2 might be unguardable off the dribble. When teams show Georgia zone in the future, I’d really like to see GR2 become a little more selfish in attacking the zone himself. It’s obvious that he likes getting his teammates involved in the offense, but I think his penetration will force teams to play more man against Georgia.
This was a great win for Georgia for so many reasons – beating the in-state rival, beating an ACC team, winning on the road, recruiting, etc.
After going 0-11 in true road games last season, Coach Fox’s team is now 2-0 this season in games played at the opponent’s venue.
Watching the Dawgs take this game, and then getting to listen to the Tech fans grumble about Paul Hewitt all the way to the car made this event well worth the $30 I paid for the ticket.
And finally, Coach Mark Fox’s team has now won two in a row against the Jackets.
So I ask you Dawgs fans: Who runs this state?
The Georgia Bulldogs basketball team heads to Knoxville, TN on Wednesday to take on Bruce Pearl’s #20 Tennessee Volunteers (18-6 overall; 6-4 SEC).
Georgia snapped a 10-game losing streak with their thrilling 78-63 blow-out win over the Vols in Athens back in January.
The game on Wednesday will be played at the Thompson-Boling Arena, a place where the Dawgs haven’t won since February 21, 2001.
The road as been anything but kind to Georgia this year, as they are now 0-8 overall and 0-5 in the SEC in true away games. An outside observer would certainly not give the Dawgs much of a chance in this one.
Georgia, however, is coming off a 66-61 comeback victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks, and looking to build a little momentum.
Tennessee has lost two straight road games at Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and surely this team will be excited about getting home in front of their own fans.
With the dismissal of All-SEC forward Tyler Smith back in early January, senior center Wayne Chism has done a marvelous job of leading this team. In SEC play this season, Chism is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game. He is the team’s best inside scorer and certainly the Vols’ “go to” guy in the clutch.
Senior wingman J.P. Prince has been a “do everything” sort of player for Tennessee. In SEC games, he is averaging 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists. Prince is also an excellent defender, who can make it very difficult on the opposing team’s perimeter players with his long body and athleticism.
On the perimeter, the Vols are led by sophomore Scotty Hopson and senior point guard Bobby Maze. Hopson is averaging 11.8 points in conference games, and he has hit 39.2% of his three-point field goals on the season. Maze is scoring 9.8 points a game in SEC play.
Off the bench, Bruce Pearl has gotten solid play from freshman forward Kenny Hall, who is scoring 5.1 points and grabbing 5.5 rebounds in SEC play. Junior guard Melvin Goins has scored 25 points over the last two games against Vandy and Kentucky.
Since the last meeting between these two teams, Pearl has reinstated junior center Brian Williams. Williams has only played a total of 3 minutes in his first two games back, but the 6’10” 267lb Vol is a load inside and could see a significant increase in playing time against the Dawgs’ big frontcourt.
Here is how the Dawgs can pull off an upset in Knoxville on Wednesday: (and yes I understand Georgia hasn’t won a true road game this year)
Tennessee does not shoot the ball well. As a team, the Vols are knocking down 42.1% from the field, and only 29.7% from beyond the arc! In the game in Athens, Fox used a packed-in 1-2-2 zone against Bruce Pearl’s Vols and it frustrated Tennessee into shooting 42.3% on field goals and 18.8% on three-pointers. As long as the Dawgs’ defenders can contest shots by Hopson, and keep track of Chism when he slips out to the perimeter Georgia should be able to hold the Vols offense in check.
Who’s Got the Better Bench?
In the game in Athens, Georgia’s bench outscored Tennessee’s 16-13. This was due in large part to the play from EA and Jeremy Price. In 15 minutes of play, Anyaorah finished the game with 7 points and 4 assists. Price gave Coach Fox 9 points and 3 rebounds in 25 minutes. These two guys (along with Vincent Williams and Chris Barnes) have got to be able to come into the game and contribute.
Outscoring the Vols bench this time around could be more difficult for the Dawgs. Remember that in the last game Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goins were just being eased back into the rotation following their suspensions. Add in the return of reserve center Brian Williams, and it is easy to see how the Vols bench could be up to the challenge on Wednesday.
Play Smart Trey
As evidenced by the Auburn game last week, Georgia becomes a much different team when Trey Thompkins is not on the court (that’s what happens when your leading scorer and rebounder and team-leader leaves the game). I guarantee that Bruce Pearl’s staff took note of this, and I would be willingly to bet that Chism and the other Tennessee frontcourt players attack Trey in the paint on offense. Albert Jackson and Jeremy Price need to give Thompkins help on the inside, and Trey needs to be careful not to pick up silly fouls because as he goes so go the Dawgs.
A Little Bit of Mojo
Everyone knows that Georgia is 0-8 in true road games this season, and on paper they really don’t have much of a shot to pull off the upset at Tennessee (last I checked UGA was an 11.5 point underdog in this one). However, for some reason this team thrives against stout competition, as evidenced by the Dawgs 3-2 record against ranked opponents this year. A lot of Georgia basketball fans thought the Dawgs had a chance of getting their first road win at South Carolina (didn’t happen), and even more thought that Georgia would certainly nab one at Auburn (didn’t come close to happening). Maybe Wednesday night the Dawgs will steal a game that no one expects them to? Before dismissing this possibility, please think back to this season’s SEC opener at Kentucky in which Georgia came very close to shocking the then ranked #3 Wildcats on their own court…
The game tips off at 8PM EST and will be televised on Peachtree TV – channel 7 for Comcast and 802 for Comcast HD.
Anyone else giving Georgia a chance in this game?
The South Carolina Gamecocks (14-9 overall, 5-4 SEC) roll into Athens Saturday afternoon looking to complete their second straight season sweep of the Georgia Bulldogs Men’s Basketball team.
The ‘Cocks are coming off a 77-71 win over the Florida Gators, and are listed as a potential “bubble team” for NCAA tournament. They still have games left against Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, so needless to say, they are really going to want to get this one against the Dawgs.
Carolina won the first match-up between these two teams in Columbia 78-77. It was a game in which Georgia held the lead for the majority of the night (the Dawgs actually had the lead for nearly 14 minutes in the second half), but Devon Downey took over in the game’s final minutes and finished up with 33 points.
Since the win over the Dawgs, Carolina has lost at Tennessee and won at home against the Gators (as mentioned above). Their offense still pretty much revolves around Downey, who is averaging 30.1 points per game in SEC play.
However, Downey has gotten more support on the scoring front from fellow guard Brandis Raley-Ross and forward Sam Muldrow. Over the past two games, Ross and Muldrow are averaging 16.0 and 11.0 points, respectively.
During the Gamecocks’ last two games, this trio has taken nearly 70% of the team’s field goal attempts. Ross has knocked down 7 of 20 three-point attempts over the last two games (his season average is 40.4%). Teams can sometimes lose track of where he is on the court because they get overly concerned with keeping track of Devan Downey.
Carolina is only 1-6 on the road this season, that lone win coming in their SEC opener at Auburn.
Keys to the Game
In the first half of the season Coach Mark Fox had his Bulldogs running an aggressive 1-2-2 zone with Travis Leslie up top, and I loved it. However, I am not as big of a fan of the version I have seen lately (like in the Auburn game). I don’t know if it’s a lack of focus or tired legs, but the Dawgs zone defense has broken down in the half court set and is giving teams way too many wide open looks.
The Dawgs need to come out and play hard-nosed man-to-man defense against the Gamecocks on Saturday. Carolina does not have better athletes than Georgia, so matching up with them should not be a problem. Georgia needs someone (Travis Leslie or EA?) to hound Downey and follow him everywhere he goes on the court.
Maybe mix in some of the zone periodically just to keep the ‘Cocks off-balanced.
The Big Payback
Trey Thompkins is 0-3 against South Carolina so far in his young career. In the last meeting, Thompkins only scored one field goal in the games final 8 minutes (and he missed a reverse lay-up that could have put Georgia ahead). Furthermore, Trey is coming off his worst performance of the year against Auburn, a game in which he fouled out while playing only 13 minutes.
The Dawgs need an All-SEC performance out of Thompkins on Saturday, and they especially need him on the court and scoring in the games closing minutes.
-If Travis Leslie puts up some good numbers against the ‘Cocks, he will probably be the leading candidate for this week’s “SEC Player of the Week” award (considering he already has 19 points & 17 rebounds to his name). Last game against USC, Leslie had 5 dunks…what’s the over/under on how many flushes Leslie gets on Saturday?
-Georgia is 10-3 this season in games played in Athens, GA.
-I’ll be heading up to Athens tomorrow for this one. Tip-off is at 4:00PM, and it would be great to see a packed-out Stegeman Colesium to welcome the team back.
-If you can’t make it, the game will be televised on Peachtree TV (channel 7 for all Comcast customers).
The #18 Vanderbilt Commodores (17-4) come into Athens sporting the reciprocal of Georgia’s 1-6 SEC record (their only loss was at Kentucky).
Vandy has played well on the road this year, winning 5 out of 7 games away from their home court in Nashville, TN.
They are second in the SEC in scoring at 80.4 a game, and they lead the conference in both FG% (50.1%) and 3PT% (42.4%). Their offense is…efficient.
The ‘Dores attack teams with a well-oiled inside/out game. Senior point guard Jermaine Beal is a very tough match-up because he can create off the dribble and shoot it well from the outside. Beal is leading Vandy in scoring, pouring in 14.1 a night and burying 37.1% of his 3PT attempts.
Sophomore shooting guard Brad Tinsley is a nice complement to Beal, giving him someone to kick it to on penetration. Tinsley averages 7.3 points a game, and though he is only hitting 31.3% of his three’s this year you must be aware of where he in on the court because he is a career 38% shooter from beyond the arc.
The key to Vandy’s inside/out game is junior center A.J. Ogilvy, who at 6’11” and 250lbs can create some mismatches down low. Ogilvy is averaging 13.9 points and 6.0 rebounds, and he is the glue that holds it all together. If Ogilvy is able to establish himself and score in the paint, Vandy wins…it’s that simple. In their 4 losses this year, A.J. was held to 13, 8, 8 and 12, respectively. Once he gets going, it frees up everybody else on the perimeter and wing positions.
The rest of Vandy’s scoring comes from forwards Jeffrey Taylor, Andre Walker and guard John Jenkins. Taylor is a native of Sweden, and like the Swedes, he prefers to take it to the rim. He is a good athlete that is giving the ‘Dores 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.
Andre Walker rounds out the starting five, and he is a versatile player that can line up at both forward positions. He handles the ball well, making Vandy difficult to pressure on the perimeter. Walker is chipping in 6.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
Off the bench, the main guy to know on this team is freshman John Jenkins. Jenkins is the most highly decorated recruit to ever sign at Vandy. Jenkins can flat-out shoot it – hitting 49% of his three-point attempts and averaging 10.8 points (he averaged 42.3 points a game his senior year of high school!). He will definitely be one of the premier players in the SEC in the years to come.
Keys to the Game
There are two sides to every story
If the Georgia Bulldogs could have somehow convinced their first 7 SEC opponents into playing only one half, they would be 6-1 in the conference. Unfortunately for the Dawgs, they do not play in a bizzarro-world SEC, and they did have to go out and play those second halves…how unfortunate, indeed. Georgia is out-scoring SEC teams in the first half 38.4 to 33.7. In the second half, the Dawgs are getting outscored by an average of 34.0 to 41.7.
I don’t know if this is because of a lack of depth, focus, experience or all the above. Whatever it is, it has to stop. Georgia is nearly half-way through their SEC schedule, meaning that freshman are now considered sophomores and sophomores are viewed as upperclassmen. Ajax, McPhee, Thompkins, Ware, Leslie, Price, Barnes, etc…some of these guys need to step up and make it clear to everyone on the team that the game doesn’t end at the break. When the opponent comes out of the half and cranks up their defensive intensity, the Dawgs need to match that intensity on both sides of the ball.
Play Loose, Play Loose, Kick Off Your Sunday Shoes
I don’t even like that movie (Footloose), but I couldn’t think of any other good puns. The point is that Georgia is 1-6 in the conference and has lost a handful of close games. They can’t dwell on it though…Vanderbilt is the team with the national ranking and 6-1 SEC record. They are coming into Athens with a bullseye on their back, and the pressure that comes from the fear of losing to the “worst” team in the league. Hopefully Coach Fox has the guys nice and loose and ready to have some fun on Saturday night.
Since I started talking about the Dawgs’ impressive rebounding margin (which is still +4.4 and second in the conference), they have lost three straight games and got out-rebounded in two of them. So this is me “not mentioning” that I think that Georgia could have a rebounding advantage over Vandy. You did not hear it from me.
The game tips-off at 8:00PM, and it will be televised on Fox Sports Network if you can’t make the trip up to Athens, GA.
How is everyone feeling about this game? Hopefully interest has not dropped too much in the midst of this three-game losing streak…The Dawgs have finished with a winning record only once in the past five years, so this isn’t anything new to a Georgia Bulldogs basketball fan…