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Post Back in action

Friday December 15, 2006

Exams are over, many Georgia student-athletes are graduating (congratulations!), and it’s time to catch up with the three sports getting back into action this week.


The big stories:

Coutu kicking is pretty significant. We need Ely-Kelso to focus on punting which was sub-par against Georgia Tech and has been shaky for much of the season to be honest. Virginia Tech is known for nothing if not special teams, so any advantage we can get in that area is meaningful. It’s likely to be a ball-control field position kind of game, so we need Ely-Kelso 1) getting the punts off in the first place and 2) hitting them well enough to be a strategic weapon in that style of game.

Men’s basketball

The Dawgs aren’t messing around – Gonzaga is their first opponent after the exam week break. The problem with Gonzaga is that you can’t really talk about one player. You might mention point guard Derek Raivio. Freshman Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin have contributed right away, and Bouldin is a matchup nightmare for a Georgia defense that has been very generous to opposing wings. Those are just the guards. Forward Josh Heytvelt is versatile and quick and will severely test Georgia’s young interior defense.

The game at the Gwinnett Center will be a homecoming of sorts for Mike Mercer and Billy Humphrey. The two guards are among Georgia’s top three scorers, and they’ll need big games to beat Gonzaga. The key is consistency from Stukes, Mercer, and Humphrey. All are capable of getting hot, but all are equally capable of disappearing for long stretches. The Dawgs will have to get the right ones in the game when they’re hot and get steady contributions from Bliss, Brown, and Singleton inside.

They should have a relatively easy game against Jacksonville next week, and then they’ll face Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Friday. Tech is loaded with some good young talent, but they’ve dropped a few games lately. The series has been pretty even since it went home-and-home over ten years ago, and Georgia’s 75-70 win in Atlanta in 2000 was the sole road win by either team.

Women’s basketball

The Lady Dogs have had to stew over their first loss of the season for over a week. They are essentially starting over by trying to work Tasha Humphrey and some other players back into the rotation. A team that was only six deep a few weeks ago and learned how to prosper in that situation now has eight or nine players to deal with.

Georgia will have a painfully easy game against Savannah State in Savannah on the 15th and then they’ll have a bit of a test against TCU on the 17th in Athens. TCU rose to become a moderately strong team a few seasons ago when they had star center Sandora Irvin, and they’re trying to sustain something in her wake. They have a quality squad this year that just knocked off Florida. With the exception of a rout of a bad Memphis team a few weeks ago, Georgia has been pushed pretty hard recently by teams like Davidson, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, and of course MTSU. How they handle a challenge from TCU will say a lot about their progress and cohesion since the return of Humphrey.

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