UGA’s defense hurting without Yante Maten
Since Yante Maten went down several minutes into the Kentucky game last month, Georgia’s J.J. Frazier has amped up his offensive output to the tune of nearly 30 points per game. With Maten averaging almost 18 a night in SEC play, the Dawgs needed more points from somewhere, and a lot of that somewhere was Frazier. UGA went 3-2 over this stretch of games without their best interior player, which is certainly a testament to the will of this team, and they actually averaged slightly more points (73) in league games than before he got hurt (72.4). They head into the SEC tournament next week with the uncertainty of whether they will have Maten or not when they take on Tennessee on Thursday. It seems most likely that Yante will not play, and Georgia will once again need to find a way to make up his missing points. However, UGA’s defense has also been suffering without Maten, and the Dawgs must become stronger on that side of the court if they hope to make any noise in Nashville.
In the 13 conference games prior to Maten’s injury, the Dawgs were holding opponents to a little over 72 points a contest. Over the past 5 games though, that number has ballooned to 76.
UGA’s ability to secure the defensive glass has also taken a big hit recently. Defensive rebounding percentage, when compared total rebounds, is a far more telling statistic of a team’s rebounding prowess as it takes into account the opponent’s offensive rebounds as well. It is essentially the percentage of the missed shots in a game that a team rebounds (Def Rbd / Def Rbd + Opp Off Rbd). Before Yante went down, Georgia’s defensive rebounding percentage was 71%; since, it’s dropped to 64%. That is significant because it means that opponents are getting more second chance opportunities on offense, which most likely has led to the increase in points allowed by the Dawgs.
One final area where Georgia has regressed over the past 5 games has been in team blocks, which has fallen from 3.8 a game to just 2.6.
Yesterday’s defensive collapse in Arkansas, in which UGA let the Hogs scored 48 of their 85 points in the paint, was a consequence of weak interior defense. The Dawgs play a Tennessee team with a big frontcourt that averaged almost 12 offensive boards a night in SEC games. Georgia edged the Vols by a point in Knoxville earlier this season, but getting a similar result on Thursday could prove challenging without Maten anchoring down the defense.