It's official: Frank Martin owns UGA

Frank Martin has built a program at South Carolina that regularly features teams that emulate the toughness of their hard-nosed coach. This year’s brand of Gamecocks is no different. From the opening tip, it was painfully obvious just how much more physically imposing this USC squad is compared to the Tom Crean’s Dawgs (12-11, 2-9).

Martin’s team didn’t play any matchup zone last night in Athens. Rather, his bunch strapped it up and played an imposing version of man defense that UGA hasn’t seen yet this year. The Dawgs couldn’t get into any sort of offensive rhythm as they turned the ball over 19 times. All that motion and movement that Tom Crean’s offense is built on was nowhere to be found; South Carolina didn’t allow it. Other than Anthony Edwards, UGA didn’t have anyone that threatened this Gamecock team.

Carolina held the Dawgs to under 35% from the floor and they frustrated Georgia into an abysmal 3 for 24 effort from beyond the arc. Remember when Crean said that UGA was going to shoot the three more in his opening presser? It would be cool if they could start making a few more of them. Georgia is now connecting on just 28% of its attempts from beyond the arc, which puts them at 12th in the league in that category.

Edwards finished with 16 points on a forgettable 4 for 13 shooting night, but to be fair to the Ant Man, he was the only Georgia player that seemed capable of facilitating any sort of offense against Carolina. Rayshaun Hammonds and Sahvir Wheeler combined for 9 points on a 3 for 12 effort from the floor.

To put it bluntly, this game was never fun to watch. Georgia started 1 for 17 from the floor and turned the ball over 9 times in the first 13 minutes. With a little under 7 minutes remaining before the break, the Dawgs trailed 25-5. USC took the air out of Stegeman early, and they never let it back in. UGA finished the first half shooting just 24% from the floor, and they went into the intermission trailing 38-20.

Frank Martin’s South Carolina teams have now won 7 straight games against the Dawgs. Let that sink in. Those types of losing streaks are forgivable against a blueblood like Kentucky. Against South Carolina, though, not so much. Martin’s last two recruiting classes have been ranked 55th and 45th in the nation, yet his team has a NET ranking of 65 and is trending towards an at-large berth to this year’s NCAA tournament. The Gamecocks actually BEAT Kentucky earlier this year.

Based upon what’s transpired thus far, it’s hard to remain hopeful for much that is left on this Georgia team’s slate. I wonder what Edwards’s mindset will be for the final third of the season? He’s in a similar position as Nic Claxton was last year: stuck on a team with 2 conference wins and an NBA Draft just a few months away.

Stats from the South Carolina that jump off the sheet:

  • Points off turnovers: USC 25, UGA 4
  • Points in the paint: USC 40, UGA 22

Up next:

At Texas A&M on Saturday (Yay! One of UGA’s 2 SEC wins)

Postseason projection:

Nada

7 thoughts on “It's official: Frank Martin owns UGA

  1. Claxton would have been the leader we needed.

    What was clear from my seat last night is that the students have abandoned the team, and who can blame them? Crean took it upon himself to raise expectations when he arrived, as he should have done and as the fans of the program, myself included, were thirsty for. But when you raise expectations you also lower the floor of disappointment, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been this down on the state of things. He came across as a bit of a huckster from the start…but as an old friend used to say, college basketball coaches are a different breed. Snake oil. He’s gotta go.

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  2. It’s a damn shame that Claxton jumped ship on the program to basically ride the pine in Brooklyn, and for UGA to honor him with a bobblehead night- really????

    As for Edwards, he may as well “mail it in the rest of the season”.. glad he gave the Dawgs the love for his one and done, but what a total waste of a season-would like to see him stay, but the all mighty $$ is calling just like it did for Claxton… I guess better coaching will benefit him in the NBA

    The UGA Basketball Program can never have success, I guess… :(…

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  3. This is getting embarrassing. It seems like we’ve taken it to the other extreme from Mark Fox. For 10 years, we played fundamentally-sound, but boring basketball. While this made us competitive more often than not, we were never going to be anything greater than what we were – a good, not great, basketball team that was always on the bubble – occasionally got in – of making the NCAA tourney. Which, hey, at least that made late February and early March more fun.

    With Tom Crean, we play an astoundingly undisciplined brand of ball that, when stuff is working, is beautiful to watch. But that rarely happens, especially lately, which is extra concerning because you would expect improvement, not regression, especially not regression so jaw-droppingly precipitous. Crean has never had a reputation of being a fundamentally-sound coach, and, yes, we have a ridiculously young team, so we should expect some struggles with fundamentals. But, wow.

    Under Fox, we had the mantra “wait until next year” for like 10 years. And while I certainly think Crean should be given another year – year 3 seems to be his sweet-spot – we can’t reinvest in that mantra for another 10 years.

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    1. Decatur, it is irrelevant whether I still believe in Crean or not because, absent violation of his contract UGA Athletic Board is giving him after least 1 more year.
      That said, Crean to date has a SEC winning percentage of 14.8% , a lot worse than Rosemond, Jirsa, Felton and Fox. I couldn’t easily find Red Lawson’s SEC winning percentage but since Lawson’s overall winning percentage was 31.7% I do suspect Crean is more successful against SEC foes than Red Lawson.
      If in February 2021 Crean still has a worse SEC winning percentage than every UGA head coach we have fired from 1964 to 2018 for not winning enough then I will think we need to end the Crean experiment. However, even then The J. Reid’s Parker Director of Athletics will bring him back for 2021-2022 season.

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      1. By the way, Crean’s overall winning percentage is 41.1% at Georgia, which means that he is winning at Georgia better than Red Lawson and John Guthrie did, but worse than Ken Rosemond, Ron Jirsa, Dennis Felton and Mark Fox did. And Crean has had an NBA draft pick on every UGA team he has coached, unlike the rest of them.
        That said, making a change now would be counterproductive.

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