Mercer comes to Athens for a pre-noon tip

The Georgia Bulldogs (2-7) will look to avoid their second four-game losing streak of the season when they play host to the Mercer Bears (6-5) in Athens on Tuesday in a contest with a bizarre 11:30am tip-off. I, for one, will be working and unable to attend – hopefully we can rely on the analysis from a commentor or two that will be making the trip to Stegeman for the Brunch Time start?

Mercer’s 6-5 record is a bit misleading, considering they were playing without their star player – Langston Hall – for the team’s first six games (two of which were wins over Division III opponents Sewannee and Oglethorpe). Hughes, a junior guard from Atlanta, is regarded as the best all-around player in the conference, notching 9 points, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals in five contests this season. When Hall was sidelined, Mercer won just 1 of its 4 games against Division I teams; since Hall’s return, the Bears are 3-2, including a 61-56 road win at Florida State on December 2nd.

Several weeks ago I presented a report on the efficiency of the UGA basketball roster, player by player. Just to recap, efficiency is a statistic that rewards players for points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals, while penalizing them for missed field goals and free throws as well as turnovers. To be fair, I stretched each player’s efficiency-per-minute over a period of 40 minutes (as if they had played the entire game). Here is what the Bulldogs’ efficiency numbers look like through 9 games:

KCP 21.4
D. Williams 17.5
Cannon 17.4
Morris 16.7
Dixon 15.9
Thornton 11.1
Mann 9.8
Djurisic 8.5
Florveus 6.2
Brantley 5.5
V. Williams 4.8
Gaines 2.5

Coach Mark Fox’s “most efficient” starting five (assuming two guards, two forwards and a center), according to these numbers, should be:

PG – Charles Mann; SG – KCP; SF – Brandon Morris; PF – Donte Williams; C – John Cannon

Georgia fans can point to the Bulldogs’ success so far this year against the Atlantic Sun (Jacksonville and ETSU) for a minutia of silver lining going into this match-up.

The Dawgs have already lost to Georgia Tech this season, so Tuesday’s game gives UGA an opportunity to avoid being third-best in the state.