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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hoops blog: Xavier

3:59 left in second half, Georgia trails 52-46

It's not looking good for Georgia right now. Xavier has led for awhile, and had an answer after the Bulldogs pulled within one.

Trey Thompkins also has four fouls. He only has two points since midway through the first half, but it's hard to see the Bulldogs rallying without him.

The fans aren't liking the officiating, but the Bulldogs have mainly themselves to blame. There have been careless turnovers, some sloppy boxing out and they still can't create many good shots.

10:51 left in second half, Georgia trails 43-41

Still back-and-forth. But at the moment not trending in Georgia's direction.

For a second there Georgia had its biggest lead of the game, five, after its first 3-pointer. Then Xavier grabbed back control with an 11-2 run.

Xavier is starting to get more rebounds, and more fluid on offense. The Bulldogs have been getting a lot of transition chances, so that's taken away from their offense.

15:48 left in second half: Georgia leads 32-30

You could definitely sense a different energy about the Bulldogs to start the second half. There were two blocks in the first three minutes - the second by Trey Thompkins brought a roar from the crowd.

But the Bulldogs still only lead by two (it was four when Jeremy Price went 1-for-2 from the line). The defense remains solid, but on offense the Bulldogs just aren't getting many open shots.

Oh, and the fan picked out of the crowd to shoot baskets at the just-completed timeout was terrible. I mean just awful. They always are.

Halftime: Georgia leads 27-26

This one has looked like it’s being played between two teams that need this one, but are strangers to each other. The intensity isn’t low, it’s more that both teams are feeling each other out. There have only been six fouls called, combined. How many SEC games have we seen one team reach the bonus well before halftime?

The biggest lead for each team has been four points, with Xavier leading most of the rest of the half. It was 25-21 when Georgia’s Travis Leslie started a run by making big plays on both ends: His blocked shot of a baseline drive forced a turnover, and seconds later he made a driving layup.

Georgia's next 3-pointer will be its first. It's been getting most of its points in transition and by getting it inside. Normally it needs at least some 3-point presence to win, but Georgia's defense has been pretty good, particularly with shot-blocking.

But the Bulldogs probably need to pick up the outside shooting to have a chance here in the second half. Xavier's a good team, and likely to start getting a bit more comfortable with the road rims.

10:43 left in first half, Georgia leads 15-14

It's hard to get a sense for this game so far: Both teams started out a bit cold, especially Xavier, possibly due the unfamiliar environment. Then the Musketeers got going, with guard Mark Lyons making the kind of beautiful drive that should remind people what kind of talent is on that roster.

The Bulldogs are trying to get some points inside: Jeremy Price tried the first two shots, and Chris Barnes has some points. Then there's guard Gerald Robinson, who made a nice slashing layup. The Bulldogs are going to need more of that dribble penetration, I think, to open things up for Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie.

6:30 p.m.: Pregame thought

Greetings from Stegeman Coliseum, where I'm wrapping up (hopefully) a long day that's been filled with suspended tailbacks, newly-hired assistant coaches and now a fairly big basketball game.

How big for Georgia? As far as its NCAA tournament resume' I'd equate this with two SEC games. Basically, if Georgia wins this one - thus giving it a marquee nonconference win over a team currently 24th in the RPI - it could probably be safely in the NCAAs with an 8-8 league record.

But a loss tonight, and Georgia's best nonconference win is over UAB, and its only other high-quality win is over Kentucky. So without a win over Xavier, I'd guesstimate that Georgia would need 10 league wins - including the SEC tournament - in order to make it.

The saving grace is the bubble is so weak, that a win tonight isn't an absolute necessity. But tonight is a good opportunity for the Bulldogs.


Newt said...

I'm getting tired of watching us get killed by dribble penetration game after game. We can not stop a good guard from getting into the lane.

Anonymous said...