Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report. It’s sort of like knowing what you’re getting for Christmas and not liking it. And that’s kind of how Hoop Dawgs fans feel these days. We’ve beat all the “Second Tier” teams we’ve played but looked bad against all of the decent competition other than maybe George Washington. However, they lost to UAB right after us so it may not be as big a win as we thought.
As far as the losses, we were outclassed by Kansas, out-hustled by Clem(that’s the correct spelling), and outscored by Marquette. We really needed one of those games on our resume as the oft-coveted “quality win”. However, it wasn’t to be. At present, our NCAA Tournament chances are somewhere between thin and non-existent. So all we can do is beat the three remaining sub-par teams left until SEC play and then hope to find a way to beat Oakland on the road as they’re actually a really good team. If we went into January at 9-3, we’d be in the driver’s seat. At 8-4, there’s still plenty of work to do because that means you’ve either not beaten a quality team so far this year, or you’ve got a bad loss. Anything less than that really makes things tough for the Dawgs, and especially Coach Fox. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s focus on the next game.
The Dawgs take on the Ragin’ Cajun’s from LA Lafayette on Wed at 6 p.m. This is not a bad team at all but it’s definitely a game the Dawgs should win. Maten has been as dominant this year as AJ Green was on the football field. However, JJ Frazier has been averaging two less points a game than last year. When you couple that with the fact that we don’t have a third guy to lean on, it presents an offensive hole. Until we get a consistent third scorer, we’re going to underachieve.
Some people may say you can overcome your offensive woes by playing good defense. And that is true. Unfortunately, it’s not what the Dawgs are doing. Through Mark Fox’s career at UGA, the Dawgs give up about 64 points a game on average. This year it’s almost 70. So that number is trending in the wrong direction. While some of the teams we played are very good offensively like Kansas, UNC Asheville is not and their 46 point outburst is firmly counted in our tabulation. So the D must improve. That won’t be a panacea, but it will give us a little margin of error that’s we’ve not enjoyed this year. This is a start of three games in six days, so let get the train moving in the right direction.
So here we are in a place I’m used to with UGA Hoops. We’re not playing up to our talent and things are worrisome. However, if we close the OCC at 3-1 or 4-0, we’ve not played ourselves out quite yet. It’s still 2016 and there’s plenty of time left. While the players shouldn’t get ahead of themselves, I will. This season is not a success if the Dawgs don’t make The Big Dance. We’ve got to start playing better every night. We have to improve every night. We need a third scorer every night. If we get that, we can beat anyone in the SEC and most anyone in the country. I promise you a lot of smart coaches don’t want to see the Dawgs in March. I just hope we want to see them. Go Dawgs!