Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Bulldogs’
The Georgia Bulldogs’ RPI received a small jolt on Sunday, moving from 21 to 18 in ESPN’s latest update, following Stony Brook’s upset of #13 Washington in Seattle. The Dawgs coasted by Stony Brook 80-70 back on November 18th in Athens. As the nonconference schedule winds down this week, UGA fans need to dust off their pom poms and start cheering for some of Georgia’s previous competition – even, ahem, Georgia Tech, who is currently 8-3 and boasting an RPI of 38. The Dawgs’ RPI is being bolstered by their strong strength of schedule, which at the moment is listed as the 9th most difficult in the country, thanks in part to the two impending games that Georgia has coming up with #1 Kentucky. While Georgia obviously needs to keep winning more than it loses if they hope to be in the NCAA tournament discussion, UGA can also benefit from solid seasons by teams like Gonzaga, Colorado, Minnesota and Seton Hall.
Another factor that is supporting Georgia’s RPI position is the fact that they do not have any “bad losses” – yet. Had UGA not succeeded in getting by Mercer last week in three overtimes, Coach Mark Fox’s team would be lamenting a loss to the Bears, who are all the way down to 268 on the RPI scale. This week, the Dawgs have games against Kansas State and Norfolk State, who have RPI’s of 168 and 183, respectively. Going into Manhattan on Wednesday will be a tough test for the Dawgs, and it almost seems unfair to UGA that they would be penalized for a road loss at KSU – but, such might be the case in the fickle world of college basketball should the Dawgs drop Wednesday’s contest. Even though K-State is a Big 12 team, losing to an opponent with an RPI over 150 might be difficult for the NCAA selection committee to stomach come March.
One of Georgia’s biggest unknowns coming into this season was freshman Yante Maten, who Coach Fox inserted into the lineup immediately this season with the hopes that he might provide some scoring in the frontcourt. However, Maten’s biggest contribution thus far has been on the defensive side of the ball, where he is blocking 2.2 shots per game, which is tied for 47th in the country. The freshman has already tallied 4 or more blocks in three games this year, coming against Stoney Brook, Chattanooga and Seton Hall.
Georgia, though, has been getting it done as a team defensively this season as well. The Dawgs are blocking nearly 6 shots per contest as a team, which is 18th best in the nation. On the boards, Georgia is hauling in 41 rebounds a night, which is 21st in the country; and more importantly, the Dawgs are controlling the defensive glass, where they are grabbing a over 29 boards per game, putting them at 6th in the country in that category.
Oh, and Georgia got 2 votes in this week’s Coaches Poll.
While the Georgia Men’s Basketball team navigates final exams in Athens, the rest of us are left to sit around and bide our time through an incredibly slow sports week. In fact, UGA basketball fans will have to wait another week on top of this one before getting to see their team return to action.
However, here are a few things came across/thought about this afternoon:
1. Georgia’s 64-57 win over Colorado last Sunday did not just earn them praise locally. Jay Bilas, who has sort of become the “Kirk Herbstreit” of college basketball, threw the Dawgs this little nugget following the game:
2. Speaking of Twitter, here is the latest update on Kenny Gaines’s injured shoulder, per Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph:
3. Thankfully for UGA and the rest of the teams in the SEC not named Kentucky, the AP and Coaches Poll rankings do not carry nearly the same amount of weight in college basketball as they do in football. This week, Kentucky was unanimously voted #1 in the AP, and they received all but two of the #1 votes in the Coaches Poll, with Duke and Arizona getting one apiece. However, the Cats are the lone representative from the Southeastern Conference in both of these polls. The Florida Gators began the season at #7, but after a rocky start that has them at 4-4, Billy Donovan’s team is currently on the outside looking in. The national media’s perception of SEC basketball remains weak my friends.
The good news, though, is that the league has 5 teams in the RPI Top 50, a poll that is much more indicative of a team’s NCAA Tournament chances. Currently, Kentucky, LSU, Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss all have RPI’s under 50. Georgia plays all of the aforementioned teams (Kentucky and Ole Miss twice), along with #26 Seton Hall, giving Mark Fox’s team plenty of chances to improve upon their 2-7 record against the RPI Top 50 from a year ago. The Dawgs RPI currently sits at 64, which kind of pleasantly surprised me considering the 5-3 record.
If only the Georgia Bulldogs could have just pressed the reset on the first half of today’s game with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, maybe they would have avoided their second loss in the preseason NIT.
Before the break, UGA committed 15 of its season-high 18 turnovers, which allowed the Gophers to take a 37-25 lead into the intermission. Georgia was flustered early with Minnesota’s full court pressure, and they looked like they were rushing on offense for much of the game’s first 20 minutes.
There wasn’t any reset button though, and the Dawgs spent the entire second half trying to dig themselves out of the hole that they had created – which they nearly did. Despite the fact that Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines combined for only 4 points on the night, UGA trimmed the Minnesota advantage to 65-62 following a three-pointer from J.J. Frazier. But a free throw on the other end for the Gophers coupled with a missed three from Juwan Parker resulted in Minnesota sealing the 66-62 win.
Charles Mann had a really tough game, scoring zero points and committing 4 turnovers in the first half. He must have gotten in the doghouse with Coach Fox at the half because he only saw the floor for 4 minutes after the break, and that was only because Kenny Gaines went out for a spell with a neck injury.
With Mann out, J.J. Frazier stepped up and played admirably, scoring 12 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Even more importantly, the sophomore point guard did not give the ball away once.
Marcus Thornton recorded another double-double, scoring 14 points and snagging 10 rebounds, and freshman Yante Maten chipped in another 12 points.
Other than the turnovers, another major difference in this contest came from the perimeter, where Minnesota knocked down 10 three-pointers to Georgia’s 3. The Dawgs connected on only 21% of their shots from the outside today, and they are now barely above 25% from beyond the arc as a team this season. If UGA cannot locate its three-point shot, they are going to have some serious trouble putting up points this season.
While it definitely stings for Georgia to leave New York completely empty-handed, it should be noted that this is a descent Minnesota team, picked by many to finish 7th in the Big Ten this year – a team that could very well sneak into this season’s NCAA Tournament.
Coach Mark Fox’s team must regroup quickly before embarking on a road trip to Chattanooga next Tuesday to play the Mocks, a team that Fox Sports suggested could challenge for the SoCon title this year.
Georgia appeared dead in the water after Sandro Carissimo – who led Vermont with 11 points – hit a jumper to put his Vermont team up 52-45 with just 6:30 left in the game.
The Dawgs had relinquished a 29-20 halftime advantage, and they looked as if they had no interest in defending the perimeter.
Charles Mann, however, had other plans, scoring 11 of his career-high 29 points in the game’s final minutes, helping his Bulldog team finish the game on an 18-4 run en route to the 63-56 victory.
Vermont could not handle Mann, allowing the sophomore to get to the rim at will.
Marcus Thornton chipped in 16 points, which gave him and Mann a combined 45 of the team’s 63 points on the night.
UGA’s biggest problem in this game was itself as the Dawgs committed 22 turnovers against the Catamounts. Charles Mann may have netted 29 points this evening, but he also carried the turnover load as well by giving the ball to Vermont a team-high 7 times.
Georgia escaped tonight’s game against Vermont by mostly relying on its athleticism.
Unfortunately for UGA, Georgia’s next opponent in the NIT – 3-seed Louisiana Tech – is far more athletic than Vermont and the other Bulldogs tend to play the game at a more uptempo pace.
The Dawgs will need to be less careless with the ball against LaTech of they hope to keep playing in this tournament.
It appears that the Georgia Bulldogs (19-13) basketball season will continue as the Dawgs were selected to play in this year’s National Invitational Tournament (N.I.T.).
UGA received the 2-seed and the Dawgs should host (since they are the higher seed) Wednesday’s game against the Vermont Catamounts, a team that finished the year 22-10 overall and 15-1 in the American East Conference. Vermont was the top seed in its conference tournament, but the Catamounts were ousted in the semifinals by Albany.
Other than Donte Williams and Marcus Thornton, Wednesday’s game will be the first postseason experience for this young Georgia team.
The Georgia Bulldogs begin their SEC tournament tonight with a rematch against Mississippi.
Ole Miss utilized 42 combined points from guards Jarvis Summers and Marshall Henderson on Thursday night to power the Rebels past its in-state rival Mississippi State for a 78-66 tournament victory.
Last night’s win was by no means a cakewalk for Ole Miss as they trailed the Maroon Dogs 44-35 at the half.
The fact that Henderson and Summers tallied over half of the team’s points should not come as much of a surprise since this duo averaged 50% of the Rebels’ scoring in conference play this season.
UGA won the first meeting between these two teams in thrilling fashion in Athens when Charles Mann hit a free throw with just a second remaining to put his team up 61-60. In that game, the Dawgs’ Kenny Gaines notched 21 points and played pretty solid defense on Henderson, particularly in the game’s second half. In addition, Georgia completely dominated Ole Miss on the glass, out-rebounding the Rebels 49-34.
The Dawgs, in my opinion, come into this game at a slight disadvantage since they have yet to play a game in the Dome. The Rebels could be a little more comfortable shooting the ball to start this contest since they already have a game under their belt.
Consensus among college basketball media and just about everyone who reads this blog is that UGA needs to win two games in this tournament to be considered for the NCAA tourney.
Tonight marks Georgia’s first opportunity to make its case.
The Georgia Bulldogs started slow in tonight’s regular season home finale against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, trailing 12-6 after over 8 minutes of play.
Coach Mark Fox called timeout with 11:50 left before the break and appeared to light into his team for their lack of effort.
Whatever Fox said certainly worked as UGA outscored Missy State 31-12 over the next 11 minutes, giving them a commanding 37-24 halftime lead.
During that stretch, Kenny Gaines, Charles Mann and Marcus Thornton combined for 24 of the Dawgs’ first half points.
After the intermission, Georgia continued to open up its advantage over the other Bulldogs. With just under 8 minutes remaining, Kenny Paul Geno (KPG) buried a three from the corner that gave UGA a 61-37 lead.
The Dawgs coasted to the 66-45 victory, holding the Maroon Dogs to a season-low 45 points. Missy State has now lost 12 consecutive SEC games, and a large part of tonight’s loss can be attributed to the team’s atrocious shooting. MSU finished tonight’s contest connecting on only 34% of its field goal attempts, and the Maroonies shot an ugly 0 for 15 from beyond the arc.
Georgia was led offensively by the trio of Gaines, Thornton and Mann, who scored 14, 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Marcus Thornton’s point total tonight was bolstered from a pair of three’s, and the junior finished a perfect 2 for 2 from the perimeter. Thornton is now 5 for 9 on the season from beyond the arc, giving him the best three-point percentage on the team.
Tonight’s win puts UGA at 17-12 on the year and 11-6 in the SEC.
At this point, Georgia controls its own destiny in regards to the 3-seed in the SEC tournament. If UGA can win in Baton Rouge on Saturday then they will be the 3-seed regardless of what either the Vols or Hogs do this weekend.
However, should the Dawgs lose to LSU they could find themselves in either the 4- or 5-seed, where they would most likely face Florida (should they both win) in the semifinal round.
I know that I have harped on this point already, but Georgia looks like a team that could run to the finals of the conference tournament if it could avoid seeing Florida before that point. Kentucky appears extremely vulnerable right now, getting a sloppy home win over Alabama last night to end a two-game skid.
I believe UGA could still sneak into the NCAA tournament with a win at LSU and two SEC tournament wins. Tonight’s win should drop the Dawgs RPI into the high 70s, and a road win at LSU could get Georgia’s RPI very close to the upper 60s.
The lowest-rated teams to receive at-large bids to the NCAA tournament are as follows: #67 Southern Cal and #64 Marquette (2011), #63 N.C. State (2005) and #63 Stanford (2007).
If Georgia wins the next three games, I think they have a decent chance of sneaking into the recently expanded 68-team NCAA tournament this year.