Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Gators present big turning point for Georgia

Tuesday January 25, 2011

Following Tuesday’s loss, we wrote that “if something good can come from a game like that, maybe our guys saw what’s possible if they come into a game with a little more energy and determination.” We found out just what was possible on Saturday against Mississippi State. Georgia came out with purpose, focused, and, well, pissed off. The visitors from Starkville never had a chance.

It’s tough to call one game at this point in the season a turning point, but tonight’s matchup with Florida fits the bill. Even with last week’s loss to Tennessee, momentum is still building behind the program. The prospect of another sellout brings back memories of that incredible winter of 2003 before it all came crashing down. Georgia reeled off home win after home win against the likes of #2 Pitt, #25 LSU, #22 Mississippi State, Tennessee, and of course that epic slugfest with #3 Florida. Sellouts became the norm, and the crowd for that win over Florida was as good as it gets in college hoops. The program still isn’t to that point, but anyone who was around then can start to sense things getting close.

Recalling those home wins is central to the bigger point of tonight’s game. It’s not just a chance to knock Florida from first place and keep pace at the top of the division. Georgia is also at the tail end of a 3-game homestand. After this game, they’re off on consecutive road trips to two of the conference’s toughest venues. A 1-2 record in these three home games wouldn’t necessarily sink the Dawgs, but it would take a good bit of momentum from the program and might even mean that they’d have to win some tough road games in order to recover.

Beat Florida, and Georgia’s tied at the top of the competitive East division at 4-2. Lose, and they’re 3-3 with trips to Kentucky and Arkansas ahead. Completing the first half of the conference season over .500 with Kentucky out of the picture would be huge for Georgia’s chances to finish strong and keep this positive buzz going.

We come back to the energy level of the team. For whatever reason, it was down against Tennessee. The Vols did a ton to frustrate Georgia, especially inside. The crowd should be great tonight as it was for last season’s upset of Florida, and it’s always intense when the Dawgs and Gators play. The difference in approach between the Tennessee and Mississippi State games was an important lesson for this team still learning how to win and play at a high level every night, and we’ll see how well they’ve taken that lesson to heart.

If you want a barometer to how well Georgia will do, watch the production of Ware and Price. We almost take the points from the Big 3 for granted, but Georgia is so much better when they get points from the 1 and 5 spots. If they can add production off the bench (as they did from Brantley and Thornton on Saturday), Georgia can play with anyone.

Comments are closed.