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Wednesday December 27, 2006

After a break for Christmas, it’s time to catch up.

The Dawgs are heavy into Chick-fil-A Bowl preparations. So far, the big stories are Seth Watts joining Ian Smith in the Suspended Linemen Club, leaving the Dawgs with only six OL for this game, and the news that Brandon Coutu will be available to kick. More on this game tomorrow.

Men’s hoops
The loss to Tech was disappointing on several levels. I know that they were without Gaines, but no one really stepped up into that void. The team was incapable of getting into the offense at times, and the shot selection wasn’t what it needed to be. Though a lot of people are dwelling on the absence of Gaines, I was also a bit surprised by how poorly Georgia played on defense. Young and Dickey had it far too easy from the opening possession. The help defense was also missing inside as Tech time after time penetrated and dished for an open dunk.

Gaines should be good to go this week, and we’ll need him against Clemson and Wisconsin. Clemson is undefeated as they were last year when Georgia won in Athens. They really haven’t played any top teams so far, but they have some very capable players. James Mays will be a handful inside, and K.C. Rivers will be another challenge for the wing defense as a 6’5″ guard.

Then it’s Wisconsin. The Badgers are looking like one of the nation’s best teams so far, and it will be as big of a challenge as #2 Pitt coming in to Athens in 2002. All-American candidate Alando Tucker leads the Badgers, and the 6’6″ forward will be the best test yet for Georgia’s frontcourt defense. Tucker can go inside or outside. Ideally you’d want someone with Woodbury’s build and speed to defend Tucker, but so far Woodbury’s defense hasn’t caught up with the offensive glimpses he’s shown. Of course a team with the ranking of Wisconsin has to have some other elements, and they do. Kammron Taylor is capable of putting up big numbers from the guard spot, and 6’11” Brian Butch prevents interior defenses from focusing solely on Tucker.

That New Year’s Eve clash with Wisconsin will be big, but Georgia won’t have much time to either enjoy or recover from that game – next week it’s off to Florida to open the SEC season.

Women’s hoops
The Lady Dogs had a relatively uneventful tour of Virginia last week beating James Madison and Richmond easily. Along the way, Andy Landers won the 750th game of his career and also beat protegee Michael Shafer at Richmond. If there has been a concern lately it is slow starts. Against both Richmond and TCU, Georgia was punchless for the first eight minutes. Cori Chambers shot them out of the funk in both games, but they’ll need to hit the court harder in future games. They’ll also need more production from the other guard spot. Ashley Houts hasn’t had a double-figure game since the Georgia Tech game in early December.

They head out to the west coast this week for a tournament in San Diego. They’ll play George Washington and then likely tournament host San Diego State. Georgia should win both games before opening the SEC slate with Florida next Thursday.

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