Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report. It’s like smelling roses in late December. While a good part of the Bulldawg Nation will be doing that in LA, the Dawgs will open their SEC schedule Sunday night in Lexington where we have a lifetime winning percentage around 8%.
Basically, that means I’m saying there’s a chance! Also, this game is very critical in UGA’s post-season chances. The last five years I’ve predicted UGA’s conference record within a game or two if not dead the number. This year, however, I’m at a loss. I thought 10-8 at the first of the year and immediately checked our opener vs. UK as a loss. However, this game now appears more winnable than a couple of others.
I still think 10-8 is possible, but the SEC appears stronger from top to bottom than it’s been in years. Nothing will be easy. Arkansas, Auburn, A&M, and Tennessee are all vastly improved and are in or currently receiving votes for the Top 25. Mississippi State has some big wins. And we know what UF and UK are. So there aren’t many cupcakes on this year’s schedule. This will be the second year in a row where UGA’s SEC schedule is significantly tougher than most people are aware of. Last year it was because of an unlucky draw and this year it’s due to competition. If we get to 9-9 or 10-8, we’ll make the tournament.
Speaking of making the tournament, you need a solid resume to get in especially when your a program the usually enters on the bubble. After an embarrassing loss on the road to UMass, the Dawgs have blown out Tek and Temple now in back to back games. Both were at home but they were still impressive. The Dawgs need to find a way to bottle the offensive efficiency they showed in those two games and take it to Lexington.
The Dawgs won’t be given much of a chance to win as they’re probably catching 11 points or so in Vegas, but I think these two teams are closer than that. Yante Maten is probably better than anyone UK has. If Turtle Jackson can continue to put up double digits and a third scorer steps up, I honestly think we have a chance. We need Tyree Crump, Jordan Harris, Rayshaun Hammonds or someone else to put up 13 to 15 points every game. If we get that, then we’ve got a good chance to beat anyone in the SEC. There’s plenty of potential but someone has step up and do it.
So, let’s address some off the court going ons. As you most likely already know, UGA has the number one recruiting class in the country in basketball for 2019. That ain’t bad for a coach I’m repeatedly told can’t recruit. Does anyone think it’s coincidental that when the FBI gets involved in ties between coaches, AAU, Adidas, and piles of cash that UGA’s recruiting picks up? Maybe so, but I’m not buying it. I think Coach Fox has been running a clean program and stayed away from the seedy underbelly of AAU’s apparent corruption. I think now programs like UGA are back that did things right on an even playing field. We’ll see how things shake out going forward. I may be totally off base as this is merely an assumption on my part. But I hope I’m right.
We’re 9-2. We’re on a mini roll. And we’re playing Big Blue on the Road. Calipari has scorched as much earth as Sherman when you look how he’s left previous programs under his reign, but he can coach his rear off. He does a great job of in-game matchups and play calling. He’s also a genius at working refs. Add that in with the fact the Dawgs haven’t gotten a call in Lexington since the Stone Age, and it’s a tough game to win. But for some reason, this game feels getable. So let’s go get it! Go Dawgs!!
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