Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report. It’s like not finding a prize in your crackerjack box the last week. So, there’s a pattern to our SEC season so far. Lose two, win five, lose two. Now it’s time to win five based on what those standardized tests I took back in the day said. While I did fail most of them, this one’s pretty easy. It starts with Tennessee at home. There’s not much better looking than that lovely shade of orange and their beautiful fan base.
Obviously, I jest. There’s nothing appealing about their colors and most of their fan base are hard to look at. One thing that is attractive though is beating them.[break] [break]
While this game isn’t must win, it’s pretty close. We really need to go 3-1 in our next four to stay on track for an at-large bid to the tourney. While that’s very possible, we have issues at the moment. First, we don’t know whether our leading scorer Marcus Thornton will be available at noon today. Second, we’re not playing real well right now. Our offense is quite frankly offensive right now. We’ve scored 50 and 58 in the last two games. While that may have gotten it done when we played solid defense, it will not now. So we’re struggling on offense,we’re struggling on defense, and we may not have our best player. What do we do to win on Saturday? Stay tuned for the answer. First, let’s talk about the Kentucky game Tuesday night.[break] [break]
Bulldawg Illustrated laid out a simple strategy to beat UK last Tuesday. All the Dawgs needed to do was to hit 50% from the three point line and 90% from the charity stripe. We said if UGA did that, we should have around 70 points and that was enough to beat UK. Well, UGA shot 36% and 65% respectively. Based on the number of shots taken, if we would’ve hit the numbers we said, we would’ve score 70 on the nose. UK scored 69. And don’t think UK was loafing at the end. The Dawgs fought hard in this game. Even though we gave up 16 turnovers and most of them were totally unforced, it was a six point game with four minutes to go. And Nemi Djurisic shot a three to cut it to four with 1:14 left. Also, our three guards that are our best offensive weapons were a combined 5-24 from the floor and totaled 20 points. While I’ll give UK credit for wrapping up and focusing on JJ Fraizer, Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann merely had awful nights. So while the opportunity was there for an upset that would’ve erased the LSU and Arkansas losses, we weren’t able to grab it. That’s another blown opportunity for a great win.[break] [break]
Now on to UT. I thought their team last year was so solid, I had them going to the Final Four in both of my brackets. However, they lost all of their superstars. I’m not at all familiar with this year’s squad. But I can tell you how to beat them. And this has much more to do with UGA than with UT. We’re back to the 10 Turnover Rule. If we commit less than 10 turnovers, I think we’ll win this game. Now obviously the wild card is Marcus Thornton. While he does lead us in scoring, his biggest contribution may be his presence down low. He brings a physicality that no one else on our team has. So we do need him. We also need Mann and Gaines to get back to their old selves. They’re struggling right now and it show’s in the team’s execution. Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention Yante Maten. He had a great game in Lexington and I’m hoping that’s a sign of things to come. He finally looks like he’s comfortable on the floor and realizes he belongs. So let’s hope he continues his maturation process.[break] [break]
We, it’s crunch time now. We’re 5-4 through nine SEC games. I think 9-9 in conference gets us in. However, I’d like 10-8 to be 100% certain. To do that, we really need to go 3-1 in the next four as previously mentioned. That would be a lot easier by getting a win at home. Here’s what I think. We were horrible last Saturday and got blown out by a mediocre team. We were flat on Tuesday and hung tight with the number one team in the land. Different efforts but the same result. Now we’re back home and ticked off. It’s time to get the train back on the tracks. Coach Fox knows he has the talent, but they aren’t performing right now. He’ll have these guys ready to go on Saturday. It’s time for a bounce back game. Grab some bloody marys and cold beers for brunch and head on over to the Stegasaurus. This pig has lipstick now. Get loud and get crazy. That’s what our team needs right now. With a loud home crown and limited number of turnovers, look for our Dawgs tonbring us all a little joy and turn that “pretty” shade of orange to black and blue with a good old fashion beatdown! Go Dawgs!!