Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Reports. It’s like big game hunting in the Sahara. And the hunt is on for Tigers. Awburn Tigers, that is! The Dawgs open up their SEC schedule on the road Thursday in state of Alabama against a squad that appears to be for real. I said before last year’s season that I thought South Cackalacky and Awburn would both be in the top tier of the SEC by season’s end. While I was spot on concerning the Lamecocks, I was a year early on Awburn. However, they’re 10-2 overall and 6-0 at home this year and will be a tough test for the Dawgs. But before we start talking SEC, let’s look back on UGA’s last game vs. Oakland.
The Dawgs hit the road to face Oakland last week. Nope, not the lovely Bay Area Oakland. It was the Oakland in Michigan where the temperature and shoe sizes have been fairly similar the last few weeks. As you could tell from my last couple of Hoop reports, I really didn’t think the Dawgs would win this game and that’s how it played out. Oakland is really good and athletic. They score a lot of points. Yante Maten got in foul trouble and only played 21 minutes. That resulted in him scoring a season low six points on four shots.
The most unfortunate thing is many people will look at this as a bad loss. I assure you it is not but perception is reality as they say. That said, there is a bright side. JJ Frazier poured in 22 points with Maten on the bench half of the game. Plus, Juwan Parker had 15, Derek Ogbeide posted 13, and Turtle Jackson chipped in 10. The fact that we had four guys in double digits and Maten wasn’t one of them is encouraging. Also, that’s back to back double-digits games for Ogbeide. All in all, it’s a loss. But it’s not a bad one and there are some positive takeaways. So let’s move on!
SEC play is here and Mark Fox has problems. I truly believe this is the toughest SEC schedule he’s had since he got to UGA. As you well know, with the new schedule we’ll play eight teams once and five teams twice. The teams we play twice are Kentucky, Florida, Auburn, the Gamecocks, and Bama. To summarize, the teams we play twice are the only three ranked teams in the SEC plus a team that’s 10-2 in the OCC including wins at Oklahoma and UConn. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Good news, Mark Fox probably has his best top-to-bottom team since he’s been at UGA. Bad news, they aren’t playing like it. In the preseason, most all analysts had the Dawgs as the third or fourth best team in the conference. Right now we’re probably fifth or sixth. That’s not good for a coach that needs to make the NCAAs to keep his job, in my opinion. And yes, I am a Mark Fox supporter. I think he’s a great fit for UGA. But the stars haven’t aligned yet. For them to align now, the team must play better. It all begins on the plains. This would be a huge win. I believe to make the tourney the Dawgs need to go 11-7 in the SEC. That means we really need to split with Auburn. Getting one on the road to begin conference play? Mun-nay, as my two year old would say!
So here we go. Christmas is over. The family is out of your house. It’s just you and the leftover turkey. Wild Turkey. And SEC play in beginning. Plus, we’re starting league play in December. That’s nuts! EspnU at 7 pm. That’s a good drinking slot right there. Let’s see if we can drink enough whiskey to turn a battleship around! Go Dawgs!