Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Road Kill

Thursday January 31, 2008

The Georgia basketball team isn’t hard to figure out. I wrote a week or so ago that "we know that this team is an off-night from Humphrey and/or Gaines away from an ugly loss." You don’t need to look much further into Georgia’s 62-56 loss at South Carolina last night after seeing that Humphrey and Gaines were a combined 4-of-22. Against a South Carolina team that put recent scares into Florida and Kentucky, I’m surprised that Georgia only lost by six with the shooting as it was.

The news doesn’t get better: it looks as if Billy Humphrey is going to have to tough out the rest of this season with a painful injury that seems to be affecting his head as much as does his knee. A struggling perimeter game gives defenses the chance to pack inside the arc and frustrate attempts to penetrate, create space for post players, or get clean looks at entry passes. If the transition game isn’t working, the halfcourt offense will continue to suffer.

The Jekyll and Hyde nature of this team away from home is something else. I don’t know the extent to which this has been done, but Dennis Felton really needs to follow Mark Richt’s lead and see if something drastic needs to be done to shake up the routine that’s clearly not working. We’re all familiar with Richt’s adjustments during the 2007 season after he sensed a problem with intensity at Tennessee. Of course I’m not suggesting that the basketball team all run on the court after the first basket against Kentucky, and it’s a lot easier to turn around a season when you have the players to do so.

It’s just that with results so skewed, some serious introspection needs to be done into this team’s approach on the road. Felton can’t continue to compartmentalize and say that the defense was generally good and that we played with a lot of fight while nothing gets done on offense for minutes at a time. While I commend him for trying to find a positive after losing, that’s a bit of a red flag to me that the urgency for change isn’t really there. Even if South Carolina was just a case of shots not falling, the offense has been equally inept in other road games at Mississippi State and Tennessee.

Saturday’s game against Kentucky seems like a great chance to get back into the win column. Georgia has yet to lose in Stegeman Coliseum this year, and Kentucky is 0-5 away from Rupp Arena. The Dawgs took one in overtime against the Wildcats last year, and holding serve at home seems to be the only way that the team can keep its head above water this year.

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