The UGA basketball season is currently on a mini-hiatus as the team works through final exams before returning to Stegeman next Saturday to play host to in-state rival Georgia Tech.
Although Georgia’s 4-3 start to the 2015-2016 season has felt somewhat slow and underwhelming, the Dawgs are actually positioned pretty well in regards to their RPI, which at the moment is a respectable 43. Granted, we are not even halfway through December, so any RPI talk at this point is probably still a bit premature.
However, Coach Mark Fox and his team are being rewarded for playing a strong out of conference schedule thus far, and ESPN’s RPI analysis deems Georgia’s schedule the 4th hardest in the nation. More importantly, it appears that UGA has avoided the dreaded “bad losses” that have plagued this program in the past under Fox. Even though Georgia dropped games to Chattanooga (56), Seton Hall (32) and Kansas State (52), all three of those teams should go on to win more than they lose this season – especially, Chattanooga, who just might take the SoCon this year.
But, Georgia is not without its issues, particularly on offense, where the Dawgs rank 249th in the nation in scoring at 70 points per game. Fox has to hope that his team’s inability to put the ball in the basket is merely just some early season kinks that need to be worked out, or else the Dawgs could struggle to remain above .500 this year.
UGA is shooting a lowly 42% from the floor as a team, which puts them at 227 in the country in that category. If Georgia is going to continue to miss this many shots, than they must get better on the offensive glass, where the Dawgs are averaging less than 10 boards a night (265th), so that they can at least get a few more second chances.
Georgia needs to look no further than guards Charles Mann and J.J. Frazier for the answer to the team’s low field goal percentage. Yante Maten, Kenny Gaines, Mann and Frazier take the lion’s share of the Dawgs’ shots from the floor, nearly 75% to be exact. Unfortunately for UGA, Mann and Fraizer are making under 33% of their attempts (Maten and Gaines are connecting on over 49% of theirs). Georgia’s primary ball handlers must become more efficient on the offensive side of the ball.
While the Dawgs have been hard to watch at times when they’ve possessed the ball, Georgia has been playing really strong defense. Coach Fox’s team has limited the opposition to under 38% from the floor this year, which is 28th best in the nation. Additionally, UGA has held every opponent this season to a lower field goal percentage than what that team is averaging on the season.
Until the ball starts going in the hoop more often, Georgia will have to continue to ride its team defense to keep them in games.