Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report: Georgia vs Mississippi State! It’s like finding out you have the Noro virus after eating your second burrito. And that’s about what happen to the Dawgs Tuesday night.
They rolled into Lexington expecting to make a meal out of the ‘Cats and left with an awful case of indigestion as UK throttled us by 34. We were the Tuesday night prime-time game and had important eyeballs focused solely on us. This is the time of the year when people that actually make tournament selections start paying attention to bubble teams that they don’t see a lot. I’m sure that most of the people watching the Dawgs Tuesday night didn’t think we should be invited to the Big Dance. Heck, they probably think we shouldn’t be invited to the prom. Based on how we looked, I’d probably have to agree with them.
However, we have something going for us. UK still counts as just one loss. We have seven SEC games left and the conference tourney. We control our destiny. If we go 7-0 or 6-1, we’re in. If we went 5-2, we’d probably need at least one, maybe two, SEC tournament wins. And every game we have left is winnable. However, we need to address some deficiencies.
To be a good team, consistency is almost always a, if not “the”, leading characteristic. Good teams generally show up every game and rarely get blown out. Mark Fox only got blown out in the past in games where he had no chance due to talent discrepancies. This year, the Dawgs have been shellacked twice in games where the talent levels were quite similar. And this team isn’t even consistent in single games. Most of the season, each game has been a tale of two halves. We usually play good in one and then look like a totally different team in the other half. Plus, consistency in college athletics usually starts with your leaders. Most importantly, your senior leaders. UGA has two four year players in Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines that have not been consistent this year and that has been difficult to overcome. JJ Frazier and Yante Maten have been our leaders by example so far. So this has to change as well. If Mann and Gaines step up and deliver this last month of the season, I like our chances. If not, it will be a year of underachieving.
Either way, Saturday at 8 p.m. is the first game of the rest of their lives. Miss. St. in Starkvegas! It is must win. I’ll be watching. I hope you will too. Go Dawgs!