Warning: this post contains some illuminating photos of UGA’s perimeter defense

Tom Crean was brought to Athens to fix UGA’s offense. What the administration didn’t know is that he would be helping out opposing offenses as well. The Dawgs allowed Alabama to set an SEC school scoring record this afternoon in Tuscaloosa as the Tide tallied a whopping 115 points (to Georgia’s 82). After today, UGA is really starting to create some separation between themselves and the other worst scoring defenses in the league as the Dawgs are now permitting almost 85 a contest in SEC play (and they are 14th in the league in that category).

Before we get more into the debacle that was the UGA defense, it should be noted that Georgia guards K.D. Johnson and Sahvir Wheeler both turned in impressive offensive performances. Johnson led all UGA scorers with 24 points as he eclipsed the 20-point mark for his second consecutive game. Wheeler was effective as well as he notched 16 points on an array of drives and penetration. The rest of the Georgia offense wasn’t as memorable as the Dawgs shot an abysmal 2 of 19 from beyond the arc.

The real kicker about UGA’s haplessness from the perimeter was just how darn efficient Alabama was from that part of the court. By halftime, the Tide had matched their season SEC average of 11 triples en route to a 51-38 advantage. Bama would end up knocking down 18 three-pointers in this one on an impressive 60% shooting effort from the perimeter. The Tide didn’t just have 5 players finish in double-figures, but they were just 7 collective points shy of having 4 players end up with 20 points or more. I suppose when the SEC’s #1 scoring offense locks horns with the league’s worst scoring defense anything is possible.

It’s no secret that this Georgia team struggles to put up much resistance on the defensive side of the ball. But the manner in which UGA got torched today was fairly astounding considering that everyone knew that this Bama team is the not only the best three-point shooting team in the SEC, but one of the most effective in the nation as well. Yet, Georgia still didn’t close out with a purpose and contest shots. I’ve included screenshots of 6 of the Tide’s first 7 triples. I say this just to let the reader know that these images were not cherry-picked; I could have continued rewatching Bama knock down uncontested three after uncontested three, but that just felt like a waste of my Saturday evening. Anyhow, notice how open the Bama players on are all 6 of these looks; frankly, this is just a microcosm of the entire game:

Maybe 6 feet or more between them?
No UGA player even on that side of the court
Another 6 feet of separation
Garcia is there, but he’s flat footed and providing the Crimson Tide player with an excellent view of the rimi
One extra pass and this dude is WIDE open on the baseline
I would make this three also.

The most sobering realization from today’s game is the reminder of just how far away Georgia is from the SEC’s top programs. The Dawgs have lost to the league’s top 3 teams – Bama, Tennessee and Arkansas – by an average of 24 points, and that number would be more if the Vols hadn’t lost interest in UGA and kept the pedal down. I’m not ready to give up on the Tom Crean experiment yet; he deserves another season. However, if next year does not include a trip to the NCAA tournament, then I feel as though it will be time for the Dawgs and Crean to part ways.

7 thoughts on “Warning: this post contains some illuminating photos of UGA’s perimeter defense

  1. Geezer, we score 82 points and lose by 33. I have been going to UGA games since the 1972-1973 season and I never recall us giving up 115 in regulation and I never recall us scoring over 80 and losing by 30 plus.

    We look so good at times and so bad at times. Fortunately 40% of the starting lineup will be gone next year.

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  2. At one point I saw Camara, Etter, Fagan, Johnson, and Wheeler on the floor. One forward and 4 guards? Who was that lineup going to stop? I get trying to put perimeter defenders on the court, but gee whiz, that lineup wasn’t stopping anything or anyone. I did love Etter’s energy and overall defense this game, but when they weren’t dropping 3’s they had uncontested layups on the paint. All I know is Crean better have some depth next season for bigs. This using all perimeter defenses in these games look atrocious and has no chance of working. On top of having to get shooters for next year, get us some bodies up front man. Can we have at least a 6’10 or 6’11 big who can guard the post and have some athleticism? I get that Alabama is the best in the SEC, but this one was bad…..

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  3. Alabama’s 115 points are the most it has ever scored in an SEC game. It scored 64 points in the second half. 64 points in a half! This game was even more embarrassing than our Arkansas and South Carolina games.
    I like Kier, Horne and Garcia and think they are nice role players, but if we are going to give up 60% shooting from behind the arc and lose by 33 with them on the court we might as well give their playing time to underclassmen to prepare them for next year.

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  4. Also, we simply don’t have good players. We have some nice players, no doubt, but we just don’t have the talent level of by the other top teams. And because of our offensive philosophy and lack of a clue on defense, we will get exposed against really good teams like Alabama. One thing about Mark Fox teams is he was really good at limiting talent gaps. I think Crean deserves more time, but we have to get good players. Michael Foster, anyone?

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    1. If there is a big talent gap between us and Alabama shouldn’t we use a strategy that reduces the possessions in a game rather than try to run with them? What the hell do I know.

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