Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post The best they could do?

Monday February 27, 2006

OK – I know Mississippi State had a nice frontcourt advantage on Georgia. They drew fouls at a staggering rate and dunked like they were playing on an 8-foot goal.

I am still pretty – no…VERY – disappointed in Georgia’s defensive response. The strategy seemed to be to rely on turnovers to stop Mississippi State’s offense. That worked more or less during the first half, and the “other” Bulldogs helped out by shooting from outside and staying away from their advantage. Georgia was also lighting it up from outside.

But as the strategy broke down and Mississippi State got dunk after layup inside, there was no Georgia adjustment. They didn’t pack a zone into the box and surround the entry pass with four players. They didn’t force the midrange jumpshot. I can’t really identify what, if anything, they did to make some other player beat them. This wasn’t a team like Florida that would bury you from outside if you played a sagging zone. This was Mississippi State – a team at the bottom of the SEC West with a good post player or two and nothing special at guard.

I contrast that with the Lady Dog strategy I saw yesterday that matched a lineup of 6-7, 6-5, and 6-4 with 6-2, 6-1, 5-11 and no depth behind that. I saw double-teams and fundamental positioning that made entry passes and rebounds more difficult for the taller player. In short, I saw them try something despite a serious size disadvantage. It doesn’t matter that the bigger player scored anyway – the disruptions were effective enough times to prevent complete domination and create turnovers, and the rebounding margin was close enough not to be a deciding factor.

I’m not disappointed nor surprised that Georgia’s men lost to a better frontcourt. I am disappointed that we think it’s a foregone conclusion that Georgia should just shrug its shoulders and accept another career-high when facing a good frontcourt. Even with lesser talent, there are strategic ways to frustrate and deny an inside game. They might require you getting out of man-to-man or some other comfort zone, but they are there. At the very least, let’s see some urgency and desperation and strategy.

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