Georgia Sports Blog FanShop

November 17, 2008

Georgia Basketball Preview -- Geez I hope not


Tonight, the Bulldogs lost to Loyola-Chicago by a staggering score of 74-53. For those of you unfamiliar with the Loyola Ramblers, they are a middle of the road Horizon League team who lost their home opener to Rockhurst. Georgia plays Eastern Michigan in the next round of the tourney.

The AJC has the details on the loss. Here's the punchline:
The Bulldogs finished with five assists and 18 turnovers. They shot 18-for-53 from the field (34 percent) and 1-for-12 from behond the arc (8.3 percent). here's my preview for the 2008-2009 Bulldogs.

    Guard: Georgia lacks a proven point guard or shooting guard. With the untimely departure of Billy Humphrey, the team really lacks any sort of three point threat. This problem was on full display tonight as the Dawgs went 1-12 from behind the line. Freshman Dustin Ware has the handle and natural quickness to become an SEC Caliber Point Guard down the road. It's a question of time. But shooting? I don't see Troy Brewer (soph) or Rickie McPhee (walkon) as much of an option here when we get into legitimate SEC play.

    Wing: The picture is brighter at small forward where Woodbury and Travis Leslie, a true freshman who scored 23 tonight, both look promising. If Leslie rolls to shooting guard, we still won't have an outside shooter. BUT, we'll have an exciting athlete. Woody is one of the streakiest Bulldogs since Derek Dukes in the mid-90s. Super recruit Trey Thompkins could also get minutes here.

    Front Court -- When Trey Thompkins' ankles heal, this could be the most raw talent along the front line assembled at Georgia in many, many years. Jeremy Price, Albert Jackson, Thompkins, Chris Barnes and Drazen Zlovaric make an interesting group of players. They combined to go 3-16 tonight, but they'll get better.
Style of Play and Big Picture Issues:
  • Must Win on the Road - Under Coach Felton Georgia has struggled mightily to win outside of Clarke, Gwinnett and Fulton counties. In fact, the Dawgs are roughly 11-50 outside of the State of Georgia. I say "roughly" because I may have miscounted when reviewing the media guide, but I'm close enough.

  • Must Improve Player and Ball Movement - This will be difficult with a new, unproven point guard and extremely limited options for outside shooters. If Brewer were to emerge as a legit bomber and not just a kid standing at the 3 point elbow waiting to shoot unguarded, then we could make progress here. The assists to turnover ratio has never been strong under Felton. Young guards don't generally strengthen this weakness. Ball and player movement has been the weakest area under Felton for his entire tenure in Athens.

  • Must Stay out of Trouble - The Dawgs haven't had any trouble since Billy left.

  • The Schedule - Felton ramped up the schedule this year anticipating a healthier, more Billy Humphrey oriented roster. With games against Missouri, Virginia Tech, WKU (road), GT (road), Illinois (road) and 4 preseason NIT games, this is a tough draw. When we lose games against teams like Loyola, we have to make those up against SEC teams. That's not a good trade.
The Outlook:
The pundits have Georgia ranked around 10th or 11th in the SEC overall and 5th or 6th in the East. Auburn is sort of the consensus bottom of the toilet, and the Gamecocks are our other cellar peer.

If you had asked me before tonight, I would've said that Georgia would be doing good to finish at 10-4 non-conference and 6-10 in SEC play. That record combined with a 1-1 mark in the SEC Tourney would've stuck us right on the NIT Bubble.

An NIT bid without inking all-universe recruit Derek Favors would in my opinion result in Felton's departure due to his contract situation. His contract wasn't extended following the SEC Tournament Championship. He'll only have two years remaining on his deal at the end of the upcoming SEC Tournament. A two year deal would mean that he would enter the Nov. 2009 early signing period with only 1 year left on his deal to show kids who were considering inking for 2010 enrollment. That is an unworkable situation.

Felton not only has to win this season to keep his job for one more year. He actually has to win enough to warrant a 4-5 year commitment from Georgia. I'm not calling for heads, and I'm not "demanding" anything. I'm simply pointing out a contract situation.

The four games in Atlanta last March were awesome, but the other 140 games that he's coached matter, too. More importantly, the next 30 games matter even more. Six years is six years. It's time to show that Dennis Felton can build a sustainable product with upward trajectory that doesn't embarrass itself on or off the court. That's not too much to ask for in year six.

The season is not over just because we lost to a team you've likely never heard of. But the climb is uphill from here. It is my opinion only, but Georgia needs either Dennis Felton or Anthony Grant of Virginia Commonwealth to have a huge year.



Anonymous said...

Favors would be nuts to come here.

Anonymous said...

Can anything good really come of posts reminding us that the University of Georgia continues to field a basketball team?

Anonymous said...

Felton winning the SEC Tourney is akin to Ray Goff beating Gtu every year. We whould have fired him last season, but the goodwill created at the end was too much to overcome.

He has clearly been in over his head from the get-go and only has one crazy fluke 3 day period to point to as "success."

I admire the way he treats kids as student-athletes, but I also think that he uses that as a crutch to defend poor on-court performance.

I will just be curious to see if Damon will man up and get a legit replacement.

Anonymous said...

I think we're a clear #6 in the East this year. UT, UF and Vandy are obviously better. UK will recover from the loss to VMI and make the NCAA tourney - Patterson and Meeks will mesh with their younger players and be a good team by year end. South Carolina has already shown that they are ahead of UGA at this point - they scored the first 19 points of the game vs a decent Winthrop team the other night....while UGA struggled just to score 19 points in a half vs a Loyola team that went 6-12 in the Horizon league last year. SC has good guard play, led by Devan Downey, and that can take you a long way in college hoops.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who devalues last year's SEC Tournament Championship (the line of the night on the Vent last night was that it was "meaningless") should turn in their Dawg membership and push off. We've won all of two. Ever. And the other one was with 'Nique.

It was one of the best Cinderella stories in SEC history, and an amazing feat of guts, all things considered (crummy team, no depth, etc.). You may think that the title means little in the longview, and you're right. But to trash it is to trash the kids who gave 1000% when no one was willing to give them an inch. Lame.

With that being said, I'm thinking it's NIT or bust for Felton. The Harrick stigma is dead and buried. It's time to win some freakin games. Felton's been a win away from the NCAA twice, and actually got there last year, but there's a lot of suck in the middle. All indications from last night is that we're still a work in, sadly, we always seem to be.

All I want is to be competitive this year. And if Felton leaves, regardless of the actual games- he restored a lot of the program's good name, and gave us half of all the tournament titles in our history. I'll miss him, but move on anyway.

TKAthens said...

I am waiting to make any solid predictions on the season until I can see what Thomnpkins can do. If he is "as advertised" and can provide a legitimate post scoring threat - then I think that really opens up a much better range of possibilities for this squad. For those that have not seen him yet - Travis Leslie is an athletic stud. If Woodbury can continue to contribute and we just get steady play from point...then I certainly don't think 6-10/7-9 in the SEC is out of the question. Let's give the team and Felton a chance before burying the season.

Mr. Bulldawg said...

Georgia basketball team's what they do.

Anonymous said...

I've had it with Felton. This team looks a lot like almost every team he has good.

FrankDG said...

Bad, bad sign. We better get better in a hurry. I like Felton as a person but we've been a poor shooting and ball movement team during his time here. Don't see that improving.

BTW-Dawgs won the tournament in 83-- the year after Nique left. The same year they made the final four.

Anonymous said...

Fire Felton now. We should have fired him last year just after the NCAA tournament. He can not win here. The team is an embarassment 9 times out of 10 with him at the helm. I don't want to hear about incremental improvement. There is none. One player won't make us a better program. We need an actual coach who knows what he's doing instead. Depressing but true - IMO.

Anonymous said...

I agree with hunkering hank. Winning the SEC Championship last year was nothing short of a miracle.

That score last night is an embarassment.

We need to find another coach.

Anonymous said...

If you cant win on the road then you will never make the NCAA tourny. For whatever reason we act like we have never played the game of basketball on the road.

Anonymous said...

I long ago gave up on UGA basketball. Of course I was spoiled in the early 80s with a trip to the Final Four.

Even last year's miraculous run could not get me to come around.

Anonymous said...

I'm standing where I was last year - it's time for a coaching change.

Anonymous said...

I graduated in 1972. Except for a few years under Rosemond, one under Guthrie, almost hiring Babe McCarthy, Durham's run, and Tubby's two, basketball has never been an attraction. Felton has done his best to keep it that way.

tim duncan said...

things are not going to change until they get Felton out of there!!!

hire anthony grant (VCU)!

Copyright 2009 Georgia Sports Blog. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan