Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Weekend hoops

Monday February 26, 2007


Talk about night and day.

As poorly as Georgia played in every part of the game at Ole Miss, they responded with a strong performance at home on Saturday against Mississippi State. It started on the inside as Takais Brown scored eight of Georgia first twelve points, and then Levi Stukes took over to bury the other Bulldogs from behind the arc. Most everyone played well. Woodbury hit some timely shots. Humphrey continues to grow and develop a game inside the arc. Newman shut down the MSU offensive glass.

Most impressive was the defensive job inside. Though Georgia gave up six three-pointers to Reginald Delk and saw MSU shoot 43% from outside, they held Charles Rhodes and Jamont Gordon to a combined 15 points. Last year in Starkville, Rhodes had a career-high 27 points and dominated Georgia inside. Gordon had 13 points and 12 rebounds. MSU outrebounded Georgia 48-31 in that game. What a difference a year makes: Georgia owned the boards 38-27 in Saturday’s win. That loss in Starkville last year more than any other game made Georgia look helpless inside. This weekend’s win is occasion to reflect just how much Takais Brown has brought to the team and how much the returning cast has grown and developed in the past year.

The play of the game to me was a Sundiata Gaines (who else?) steal with about 12:30 remaining. MSU had closed to within six points for the second time in the final half and had the ball. Georgia was on its heels a bit, and MSU had scored four straight. Gaines made a play on a pass near halfcourt that reminded you of your favorite pick-six by Georgia defensive back. He intercepted the pass and took it the other way for an easy layup, and Georgia had righted the ship. MSU never seriously challenged again.

As the Georgia Sports Blog noted, the assist numbers were eye-popping. 23 assists on 33 field goals. That tells us that the shots came from within the offense. Though Georgia (Stukes especially) was effective from the outside, the team only attempted 19 three-pointers. That’s an efficient offense that looked inside more often than not and was able to create open looks from outside through penetration and ball movement. Consider that the team had only nine assists in Oxford on Wednesday.

Georgia still has to show that they can play like a quality team away from home. They’ll have that chance Wednesday night against a reeling Kentucky team. A lot of SEC teams are in a similar boat. Several are hovering around .500 in the league, and they can’t buy a win on the road. Tennessee hasn’t beaten much of anyone away from home (and we pray that continues through this weekend), and they were drubbed in Columbia not too long ago. Ole Miss looked unstoppable against Georgia last week, and they lost at South Carolina on Saturday. Georgia has also had its struggles on the road, but damn…at least they won at South Carolina.


The Lady Dogs struggled with shooting and perimeter defense for the first ten minutes before coming to life and beating Arkansas 69-51 in the regular season finale. Once Cori Chambers got going and the outside shots stopped falling for Arkansas, it was over. It didn’t help Arkansas that they had a tough overtime loss to Tennessee during the week and that Georgia was fresh from a full week of rest.

The Lady Dogs finish the regular season with a 24-5 record (11-3 in the SEC). All of their losses came against ranked opponents (Tennessee (x2), LSU, George Washington, and Middle Tenn.), and their wins include LSU, Stanford, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss. For the second straight season, Georgia’s only SEC losses came against Tennessee and LSU.

On the strength of that record and the ability to beat the other SEC teams head-to-head, Georgia earned the #2 seed in this week’s SEC Tournament in Duluth. This should be an incredible tournament. Georgia’s #2 seed by no means assures them of a spot in the finals; they will be tested right away in Friday’s quarterfinals. They’ll either play #7 seed Kentucky or #10 seed Arkansas. Kentucky took the Lady Dogs to overtime just a few weeks ago, and Arkansas had Georgia in a big hole yesterday. It’s a testament to the strength of the conference that Arkansas at the #10 seed was once ranked and even forced overtime against top-seeded Tennessee last week.

I’ll have a much more thorough preview of the women’s tournament tomorrow, and I’ll be on-site in Duluth starting on Thursday. There’s nothing better than postseason basketball.

Comments are closed.