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.