Buffs Visit Athens

The Georgia Bulldogs will be tested on Tuesday night as they play host to the Colorado Buffaloes in Athens, GA.

Tad Boyle inherited a nice crop of talent in his first year as the head coach of the Buffs, who are currently receiving votes (seven to be exact) for the AP Top 25 Poll.

Colorado’s guard tandem of sophomore Alec Burks and senior Cory Higgins gives the Buffs one of the best backcourts in the country.  Higgins was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, and Burks was given an Honorable Mention.  Oh yeah, and they were both named to the Preseason Wooden Award Top 50 List, college basketball’s most prestigious award.

In his freshman season, the 6’6″ Alec Burks averaged 17.1 points and 5 rebounds per game en route to earning the Big 12 Freshman of the Year award.  This guy is a bona-fide scorer at the shooting guard position, and he is currently project to go 7th in the latest “Mock Draft” on NBADraft.net.

Cory Higgins led the Buffs with 18.9 points per contest last year.

This dynamic duo accounted for 48% of Colorado’s scoring last season.

The main knock on the Buffs last season was their lack of scoring and rebounding on the inside.  In their first game against Idaho State, Colorado was out-rebounded 29-28 in a 88-80 win – so the verdict is still out on whether their frontcourt has improved or not.

With Trey Thompkins most likely sitting again due to a high ankle sprain, the Dawgs will have to look elsewhere for an inside presence.  Mark Fox is going to need strong play out of Jeremy Price and the other bigs.

I am looking for Price to build off his 20-point performance in the MVSU game, and for him to continue attacking the basket on offense.

Last year, Georgia was a very good rebounding team, finishing second in the SEC with a +4.4 rebounding margin.

In the first game of the year against Mississippi Valley State, the Dawgs were out-rebounded 37-28.

Against Colorado, Georgia must take back control of the paint.  Senior Chris Barnes has got to step up and be a leader for this team in the rebounding department in Trey’s absence.  Barnes is 6’8″ and built like an NFL defensive lineman – yet against MVSU, he finished with 1 rebound in 13 minutes, which is inexcusable.

Defensively, I think that Georgia could have some mismatch problems with Burks and Higgins in the half-court set.  It might be a good idea for Fox to apply some full-court pressure to dictate the tempo of the Buffs’ offense.

This is a very big game for both teams – Georgia and Colorado will both be in the RPI Top 50 this season – and the winner will add to its NCAA Tournament Resume.

Not to state the obvious, but the Dawgs are going to have to play much better defense than they did last Thursday night if they want to win this one.  Colorado may have a more talented starting five than Georgia, so the Bulldogs are going to need some guys to step up and contribute.

Georgia has one player on the Preseason Wooden Award Top 50 List – Trey Thompkins – and he won’t be playing.

Who is going to make plays for Coach Fox on Tuesday night?