Assessing some of Georgia’s most glaring weaknesses

Free throws

The Bulldogs are shooting under 68% as a team from the free throw line this season, which is just good enough to be 254th in the nation in that category.  The Dawgs have already lost four games this season by less than 5 points.  While all those losses cannot be attributed to ineptness from the charity stripe, it is safe to say that UGA’s record would be better than 11-8 if they could make more shots when the clock is stopped.

Georgia’s inability to hit free shots should not be that surprising, though, considering that this team doesn’t have that many shooters.  Actually, they have two shooters: Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier.  So, why would should anyone expect them to hit a high percentage of free throws as a team?

The concerning thing about UGA’s free throw issues is that under Mark Fox, Georgia has never really shot the ball well from the line.  Only once in the last six years has a Mark Fox team finished above 70% from the stripe.  The one time it happened was in Fox’s first year, back in the 2009-2010 season.

Disappointing second halves

Last night, Georgia got pummeled by Baylor coming out of the locker room. The Bears went on a 17-2 run after the break, erasing UGA’s three-point halftime lead before most fans had a chance to return to their seats.

Georgia’s poor performance in the final 20 minutes of last night’s game was in line with what is becoming a trend this season.  Put simply: UGA hasn’t been getting it done in the scoring column after halftime.  On the season, the Dawgs rank 182 in the country in 2nd half scoring, with an average margin of -0.3.  Georgia is actually scoring more than their opponents at home after the break, sporting a positive margin of 2.3. But on the road, things have unraveled for UGA following the intermission, with opponents averaging nearly 6 more points per second half.  Interestingly, the Dawgs do average more points on the road than their opposition during the first twenty minutes; it’s those final twenty that have been doing Georgia in.

Serious depth issues

At the start of the season, Mark Fox was pleased with his team’s depth.

I wonder how he feels about it now?

Last night was the second time this week that UGA’s second leading scorer, Yante Maten, had to sit for an extended portion of the game due to foul trouble.  And when Yante sits, Georgia becomes very easy to defend, since without him they have virtually zero presence in the paint.

Prior to the start of the season, I said that Fox would need one of his freshman to step up immediately and fill the role vacated by Neme Djurisic. UGA needed someone to provide consistent scoring and rebounding at the fifth spot in the lineup.

So far, that hasn’t happened.

Collectively, Derek Ogbeide and Michael Edwards have replaced Djurisic’s rebounding and then some. Last year, Neme grabbed 5 boards a night; this season, the two frosh together are bringing in nearly 8 rebounds per game.

They haven’t filled Neme’s role as a scorer, though.  Djurisc netted 11 points a contest for Fox in his senior season, yet Ogbeide and Edwards are combining for just 6.5 a game.

I understand that they are both still young, but one of them needs to become more of a scoring threat sooner rather than later because right now Georgia is just too easy to guard, especially so when Maten in on the bench.

Ogbeide has shown flashes offensively, scoring a season-high 10 points at Ole Miss in January.  Last night in Waco, he had two nice post moves in the first half. However, he only played 16 minutes.  Ogbeide is either not fully-conditioned to play bigger minutes, or Fox doesn’t have the confidence in him yet to give him more time on the court.  If it’s the latter, I hope that Fox loosens the reigns as the season progresses because I think Ogbeide is ready for more.

 

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