Georgia Lets Lead Slip Away Against Mississippi State

Michael FoyContributor IJanuary 16, 2010

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 12:  Albert Jackson #34 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes a shot over Jarvis Varnado #32 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament on March 12, 2009 at The St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. Georgia defeated Mississippi State 79-60.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I was really impressed with Georgia for about the first 35 minutes of the game.  They had a game plan and executed it very good.  I had to check their record twice because they didn’t look like a .500 ball club.  Then the last 5 minutes of the game came.  I saw why they’ve lost as many games as they’ve won this year.  Mississippi State turned up the pressure on defense and put on the full court press.  Georgia lost their composure and looked like a middle school basketball team trying to break the press.  Mississippi State erased a 13 point deficit and held on to a 3 point advantage (their largest lead of the game) for the win.

Georgia now has a record of 8-8, but they sure looked like a team that could compete to win the SEC for most of this game.  They played within themselves pounding the basketball inside and scoring with consistency.  Georgia isn’t a strong perimeter shooting team and they know that.  They took high percentage shots and attacked a very good defensive team in Mississippi State.  If they could have figured out how to break a full court press, they would have won this game…rather easily.  Georgia is a fairly young team with their two leading scoring being sophomores (Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie).  They will continue to get better but I see a NIT bid at best for this team.

Mississippi State is a very good defensive team.  This is no secret just check the stats.  They feature the country’s best shot blocker in Jarvis Varnado who finished with 6 blocks to go along with his 14 points and 14 rebounds.  Their defense was really tested by Georgia because Georgia didn’t settle for many outside shots.  They attacked the rim almost every single possession.  Give Mississippi State a lot of credit for battling back in this one after a poor shooting first half.  With a 3-0 SEC record (15-3 overall) I think Mississippi State has the talent to compete with the likes of Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt for the SEC title.  They should be a NCAA tournament team come March.

52 teams to go….59 days until Selection Sunday!