Feeble offense hurting Dawgs

Ever since Georgia exploded for 97 points in their last conference win over South Carolina, the UGA offense has looked extremely inept, resulting in three straight losses.

While it should be noted that UGA played two of those games without Kenny Gaines – Kentucky and Vandy – they did have Gaines in the lineup yesterday against perennial SEC bottom-feeder Auburn and the Dawgs still failed to put the ball in the basket consistently.

Sophomore Charles Mann has been averaging nearly 16 points per game during the current skid, which is more than his SEC average of 14.5 ppg. The problem, however, is not Charles Mann. Rather, it’s the rest of the Bulldogs.

Opposing teams are starting to discover that if they sit in a zone they can provide more help on Mann’s drives to the basket. In addition, since UGA doesn’t have a legitimate perimeter threat, defenses can key on Mann without much fear of giving up too many open shots.

A look at Georgia’s offensive statistics in conference play is quite staggering, so brace yourself.

UGA is dead-last in the SEC in field goal percentage (37%), assists (9.4), assist-to-turnover ration (0.7) and three-pointers made (4.9).

The poor shooting has landed Georgia 11th in the league in scoring at just under 66 points per game.

Unfortunately, the Dawgs have been pretty careless with the ball as well in SEC games, committing over 14 turnovers per contests, which is second to last in the conference.

About the only thing Georgia is doing well consistently in league play is rebounding – UGA is tied with LSU for first in the league at nearly 40 boards a night.

Georgia leads the conference in offensive boards with over 15 per game; however, that’s probably just because they are getting so many opportunities with all the missed shots.

The Dawgs’ low output of assists can be directly attributed to a lack of talent. Assists were a hallmark of Mark Fox’s first two years where he saw his team lead the SEC in team assists for both the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons.

But that kind of makes sense when you think about the players that Fox had at the time to run his offense, which relies heavily on passing and spacing – both of which work better when you have players like Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie and Gerald Robinson, Jr. Defenses had to respect those player’s abilities to score, which created passing lanes and open routes to the basket.

In the last three years, however, Georgia has found itself in the lower-half of the conference in team assists, leaving fans to wonder if Fox’s offense is feasible without two NBA players on the roster.

After a disappointing preseason, the Dawgs offered fans a glimmer of hope by starting out 2-0 in SEC play. At one point in January, it appeared as if UGA may have been locked in for at least an NIT trip this year.

However, Georgia’s ineptitude on offense has taken their conference record to 4-4, and the idea of postseason play is beginning to seem more abstract.