The Georgia Bulldogs (6-9; 0-2) failed their first SEC road test of the season against Florida.
If the Dawgs have not figured out a way to move the ball against a full-court-trap press defense, then they could be in for another drubbing on Wednesday night in Columbia, Missouri when they go up against #16 Mizzou Tigers (12-3; 1-1).
Mizzou caught a tough break last week when senior forward and leading-scorer Laurence Bowers went down with a knee injury. Bowers, who was putting up 16.8 points and 6.9 rebounds a night, missed his team’s game at Ole Miss last Saturday because of the knee, and his Tiger squad went down 64-49 to the Rebel Black Bears.
He is expected to miss Wednesday night’s game as well.
Though Bowers will certainly be sorely missed, Mizzou runs through junior point guard Phil Pressey, a Wooden Award watch-list member who is averaging 13.4 points, 7.4 assists and 3.4 boards per game. Pressey is a tough match-up because of his quickness, and he enjoys getting his teammates around him involved in the offense.
This Mizzou team is extremely deep, and Georgia fans may recognize some of their players from previous UGA basketball games in which they were wearing different uniforms.
Junior wingman Ernest Ross, who is scoring just under 10 points a game, transferred to Missouri from Auburn. Ross averaged over 13 points a contest in his second season at Auburn, including a 30-point effort in an overtime loss in Athens on February 5, 2011.
For anyone that made it to the Steg to watch Georgia play Pepperdine at the tail end of 2009, you may recall senior (then a sophomore) guard Keion Bell, a high-flying athlete who netted nearly 19 points per game as a member of the Waves. Bell has become a starter for Mizzou this year, where he is scoring 8.2 ppg.
So while the Tigers will be playing short-handed on Wednesday against the Dawgs without Bowers, they still have a strong line-up with guys like Ross and Bell, who were both the stars at their respective former schools.
A loss to Missouri would mark the second-straight season in which UGA began the conference basketball schedule 0-3.
The Tigers should be in a feisty mood following the beatdown that they received from Mississippi, and I anticipate that Coach Frank Haith will have his team prepared to play with a lot of intensity.
Georgia is coming off of a pair of losses in Florida and Missy State, but the question remains if the Dawgs have the firepower to play up and down for 40 minutes with a team of Missouri’s calibre.