Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Hoops update

Monday December 10, 2007

I was pleasantly surprised to see Georgia have its way with Wake Forest on Saturday. In what I’d consider the Dawgs’ first significant win of the year, they used a run early in the second half keyed by six consecutive points from Terrence Woodbury to open up a close game.

Wake isn’t going to challenge for the ACC title this year, but they are a decent team that beat Iowa and nearly knocked off Vanderbilt in Nashville earlier in the week. Georgia was able to play good defense and pull away from a quality opponent. After surviving a scare from Division II Augusta State a few days ago, it was relieving to see the team play towards the upper end of its abilities. Woodbury in particular had one of those games that reminds us why everyone is so high on his potential, and his level of play will have a lot to do with Georgia’s success this year.

The newcomers continue to impress. Swansey looks more and more comfortable on the court, and he’s a solid sub for either Gaines or Humphrey now. In fact, given Humphrey’s streakiness, Swansey might be considered a steadier option at times. Big Jeremy Price continues to make the most of his minutes. It’s unfortunate that Jeremy Jacob will be out for several weeks with a stress fracture, but the return of Albert Jackson helps keep the frontcourt depth up.

Turnovers remain a problem, and it’s to Georgia’s good fortune that they were able to limit Wake’s ability to convert so many turnovers into points. When Georgia reduced the frequency of turnovers in the second half, Wake lost any opportunity of coming back. 16 of Georgia’s 26 turnovers came from the starting backcourt – these are veteran players who should be better with the ball.

A second area for emphasis is on the defensive glass. Though Georgia outrebounded Wake Forest by a comfortable margin overall, the Deacons managed 19 offensive boards. That’s not a blip – the Dawgs are giving up over 16 offensive rebounds per game over their last four contests. Offensive rebounds mean second-chance points and fewer possessions for Georgia. Fortunately only Wisconsin has proven capable enough to make Georgia pay for such generosity on the glass. Gaines shouldn’t lead the team in rebounding, but he did on Saturday.

After a week off for exams, Georgia at 6-1 will head to Hawaii for the Rainbow Classic. The Dawgs start play on Thursday December 20 against ETSU. Looking over the rest of the Rainbow Classic field, Georgia has as good of a shot as anyone else at winning this event, and we should expect them to have a good showing. It would be interesting if Georgia and Hawaii faced off on the court before the schools meet in the Sugar Bowl. The hometown teams are known for getting every possible break in these Hawaii tournaments.

Lady Dogs

Andy Landers’ team is 9-0 as things begin to wind down for the semester. After a comfortable win over Davidson on Sunday, the Lady Dogs have a single game against Mercer between now and a year-end tournament in Florida.

Though the team is undefeated and in the top ten, they’ve hardly looked dominant. Near-misses against unranked Temple, Southern Cal, and Georgia Tech have raised some questions about Georgia’s ability to challenge better teams for an SEC title. Unlike recent seasons where the team has faced national powers such as Rutgers, Stanford, and Texas, the non-conference fare is relatively light this year, and the Lady Dogs have yet to be tested by a ranked opponent. A game against FSU should be the last significant challenge before the team begins SEC play in January.

The biggest concern so far is bench production. In some of Georgia’s closest contests this season, they’ve gone the entire second half with just a single substitution. One consequence of this development is that some of Georgia’s most explosive scorers are out of the game. Christy Marshall, who proved to be a spark off the bench last year, has struggled so far and only recently showed signs of life with 12 points against Davidson. Heralded freshman Brittany Carter hasn’t seen more than spot duty so far.

We’ve become used to the Lady Dog backcourt being full of playmakers and scorers, but that really hasn’t been the case this year. Ashley Houts is a fine point guard of course but usually doesn’t look for her shot. Senior wing Megan Darrah can be streaky. Landers is starting freshman Angela Puleo as the shooting guard, and her offensive production has been sporadic. As a result, the Lady Dogs have been in a number of tight games where the totals are closer to 60 points than the 80 points that Georgia typically prefers. To their credit, Georgia has won every one of them so far, but the quality of competition hasn’t been close to what they’ll start seeing in a month.

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