The Battle for 3rd Place at the CBE Classic

Any fans who happen to show up for the undercard game tonight between the Georgia Bulldogs (3-1) and the Notre Dame (4-1) Fighting Irish will be treated to a matchup of two teams coming off sound drubbings from Monday night’s opening round.  The Bulldogs were smacked by Cal 70-46, while the Irish got run off the court 87-58 by the #21 Missouri Tigers.

The Dawgs actually played Notre Dame early last season in the Old Spice Classic, losing a heart-breaker in double overtime.

Since that game last year, UGA has lost its best two players to the NBA, while the Irish return preseason All-Big East Second Team power forward Tim Abromaitis.  Abromaitis leads Notre Dame in scoring with 22 points per contest, and he’s bringing down 8 boards a game as well.  The versatile 6’8″ big scored 25 points in last season’s win over the Dawgs, knocking down 4 of his 5 three-point attempts.

As a team, the Irish are very strong from beyond the perimeter, where they are hitting over 40% of their three-point shots.  Notre Dame coach Mike Brey has been getting extremely balanced scoring so far this year, with five players averaging in double-figures.  The Irish play with a rather big lineup, starting four players that stand at 6’5″ or taller (two 6’8″ and one 6’9″).

All of Notre Dame’s strengths – shooting, rebounding, experience – have been major weaknesses for the Bulldogs so far this season.  The Dawgs are hitting only 38.4% of their field goal attempts, and the picture doesn’t get any prettier for Georgia from the three-point line where they have made below 24% of their shots.  The Bulldogs’ rebounding margin, which has been historically positive in the Mark Fox era, sits at -4.2 through four games this year.

Even though the back-up guard position at Georgia does not garner much attention nationally, I’d like to take a look at the current situation in regards to the Dawgs’ backcourt reserves.  I realize that Sherrard Brantley transferred to UGA with the reputation of being a “sharp shooter”, but at this point I think it’s safe to say that the young man has completely lost his touch.  Brantley is making less than 18% of his shots from beyond the arc so far this year, connecting on just 3 of 17 attempts – he has taken one less three-pointer than starter Dustin Ware, who is averaging more than 10 minutes per game than Brantley.

At this point, I’d much rather see Vincent Williams playing more minutes than Brantley in the reserve guard role.  Williams isn’t a great shooter, knocking down only 20% of his field goals.  But guess what?  Neither is Brantley, who sports a field goal percentage that resides in the mid-teens.  Williams at least gives Coach Mark Fox an intense defensive effort, and he’s averaging 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in just 9.5 minutes of play.

Georgia is beginning to establish itself as a team that struggles from both the inside and outside, which leaves one to wonder how they might possibly beat a team from a major conference.

Prior to the Cal game, I let foolish UGA optimism lead me to predict that Georgia might actually be able to hang with the Bears for 40 minutes.

After last night shellacking, I am not as confident about Georgia’s chances against a bigger, more experienced Notre Dame team.  Even though the Irish were handled by Missouri on Monday, something tells me that they have the personnel to correct their mistakes and respond with a much better performance tonight.

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8 thoughts on “The Battle for 3rd Place at the CBE Classic

  1. Bobbie Knight criticized ND for being slow as molassas–a team Missouri just overwhelmed with quickness. Maybe we ought to try to do the same–another argument for playing VW much more than Brantley.

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    1. If I’m CMF, VWill is the first guard off the bench. At this point, Brantley’s three-point attempts are the same as turnovers at the rate they are going in (or not I should say).

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  2. A few thoughts:
    I wish KCP would force the issue a little more! Start taking the deep three. He needs to be putting up anywhere from 15-20 shots per game. Kids got game he just has to let it loose!!!
    Djursivic-is going to be good! Guy has some good ball skills and is heady. If he was a little quicker he would be tough! You can tell he plays with a little flare too!
    GR2-slow down and stay out foul trouble!!! He is the reason we got in trouble last night. If he pulls the ball out on the break we prob run 20 sec off the shot clock and poss go up by 5 w/ under 4. He HAS got to play 35-40 minutes a night. Cal went on the run late and really put the game away at that point.
    Williams-looked good at times, got to stay out foul trouble. He will have some really good games and will improve through out the year.
    Ware-is still Ware. he will hit some 3s and possibly win a game b/c of it this year. pretty consistent
    Thorton-Wow has he been a disappointment, he looks slow, no shot and just not very good on offense.

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    1. Thornton has been worse than disappointing, I guess we are seeing why Clemson was not upset that he backed out. I would start Djursivic (at least he can score). It is becoming apparent that if this team does not shoot 40 percent from 3 point land, we are going to struggle the whole year. We have been destroyed inside in every game so far.

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  3. Thorton has not shown any improvement during his career. I don’t understand how he was putting up stats in high school.

    Notre Dame looked slow last night. If we can make it an up-tempo game we have a chance.

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    1. It’s hard to say what the Dawgs strategy should be at this point since they are flopping in just about every facet of the game.

      I’m almost inclined to implore them to hold the ball for 30 seconds every possession so they can at least shorten the game.

      Running up-tempo could be good except that GR2 seems to be the only guy that can get down the court to finish quickly.

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  4. I would also suggest that Dustin Ware needs to take more 3’s- his average from three land has been pretty good, but yet he is not taking very many shots. I remember when he drained seven treys against Tech last year. We need something, at this point I just hope we are 8-5 at the beginning of the conference.

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