The year was 1976…A hot, young actor by the name of Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the classic western, The Outlaw Josey Wales. A band by the name of Hall & Oates was climbing the Billboard charts with their new hit single, “Sara Smile”. Yours truly had not quite been born yet…
Do you know another reason why 1976 was a significant year in American history? It marked the last time that the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-4) won a basketball game in Athens, Georgia.
The Georgia Bulldogs (4-4) have not experienced a ton of success on the hard courts over the past thirty-something years, but one thing has remained a constant during that same time period – the Dawgs do not lose to their in-state rivals inside of Stegeman Coliseum.
Tonight’s game features two teams teetering on the brink of .500, in a state that is brimming over with high school basketball talent. If Coach Mark Fox and Brian Gregory want to stick around at their respective programs, they are going to have to do a better job of keeping the local talent in state.
The Dawgs are looking to stop a three-game losing streak, with the most recent loss coming at home last Friday night to the Cincinnati Bearcats. Tech is on a little two-game skid of their own, following back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Tulane.
The strength of the Jackets’ lineup resides in its backcourt, where they are led by juniors Glen Rice, Jr. and Mfon Udofia. Rice and Udofia lead the team in scoring with 14.8 ppg and 11.9 ppg, respectively. Both players can hurt opposing defenses off the dribble, or from the outside where they are each connecting on over 33% of their three-point attempts.
Slowing down the Georgia Tech guards is certainly a must for the Bulldogs if they hope to be successful tonight.
However, defense has not been what’s been ailing the Dawgs so far this season. UGA’s Achilles heel this year has been its atrocious second-half play. Coach Mark Fox must find a way to keep his team focused after the intermission so that they can avoid the second-half offensive droughts that have plagued his team this season.
In Georgia’s four losses to Cal, Xavier, Colorado and Cincinnati, the Bulldogs were outscored in the first 10 minutes of these game’s second halves by a grand tally of 84-31. Frankly, that statistic is embarrassing.
I think that there is a great chance that the Bulldogs could head into the break of tonight’s game leading the Yellow Jackets. The question, however, is can they bring any intensity out of the locker room to finish out the game?