The Georgia Bulldogs(14-6, 3-4) have lost four of their last six games after a 12-2 start. They are currently in last place of the highly competitive SEC East, and most could argue that they would be in first if they were in the West division.
Georgia has had a tough little stretch of games, having to play Tennessee, Florida, and Kentucky in three of their last four games. It doesn’t seem like pressure is getting to Georgia, and in two of the games it wasn’t like they just got manhandled or were seen as just simply being less talented, but it is what it is at this point.
Georgia still controls their future when it comes to making the NCAA tournament. Pulling out six of their last 10 SEC games along with beating Xavier February 8th should put the Bulldogs in a great position prior to the SEC tournament.
Fans look at this Georgia team and see how they could be in first in the division and poised for an easy berth to the tournament though, and it makes it a tad frustrating. There is still huge potential to finish strong this year, and here are five things they can do to improve their play and chances.
Ware(43%) and Robinson(35.5%) are our best three-point shooters. Georgia’s offense is very reliant on the inside game with Trey Thompkins and Jeremy Price, but for them to work to the best of their abilities Ware and Robinson need to stretch out the defense and make shots when the opportunity arises.
Ware in particular has been good for Georgia during this stretch when given a good look off of a pass, and Georgia should continue to run screens to try and free him up so he can let loose a couple more times a game.
Robinson has also been capable throughout the year to hit shots even with a guy in his face, and can create on the dribble more than Ware can. Setting up screens at the just to give him an edge has worked well all year for him.
This particularly hurt Georgia in their two-overtime loss to Florida last Tuesday, as Ware and Robinson were forced to the bench for much of the first half. Thompkins was also on the bench a good bit of the first half against Kentucky, and Georgia was promptly swallowed in the first half.
Georgia is deep to an extent, but having their bench players on the court too much and you can see a setback for the offense and defense. It’s something that is hard to control, but keeping guys on the court instead of sitting on the bench is vital for Georgia down the stretch.
In their last two games, Georgia was down 41-39 against Florida and 39-24 against Kentucky at halftime. The Florida score ended up being close but Georgia struggled early with turnovers and was down 14-7 at one point before getting started. They then got off to a slow start in the second half, as they were down 72-64 with just over three minutes left in regulation. Georgia would end up tying it and going to a second overtime before finally losing 104-91.
Georgia was overwhelmed in the first half against Kentucky, as turnovers and a mixture of great play by Kentucky’s players put Georgia in a big hole. They ended up making it a close game, but still were left on the wrong side of the scoreboard, as they lost 66-60.
If they had been able to get off to a better start, particularly against Kentucky, it could have been a different game. Just a five point swing in the first half in either game and it could have been a completely different outcome.
Georgia dominated the boards against Florida in the first half, which kept them in the game despite some struggles shooting and turning the ball over. That didn’t continue in the second half though, as Florida was able to get some offensive rebounds that really helped give them the lead going into the final few minutes.
Had they continued, they would have picked up the win, as they played a much better game in the second half. Georgia has the size and players in Thompkins and Price, along with Travis Leslie’s ability to grab them as well, a little more consistent boxing out and Georgia will be a very scary team come March.
The Bulldogs are averaging 12.8 turnovers per game over the last six matchups, which includes turning it over 33 in last two games. Turnovers may have cost them a win against Florida and it certainly kept them to getting off to a better start against Kentucky.
Georgia has been struggling recently at the beginning of games, not being very careful with the ball and wasting some possessions. This leaves you trying to gain your opponents momentum the whole first half.
If Georgia can cut down their turnovers, they could realistically win seven or eight games the rest of the way, essentially guaranteeing themselves a spot in the Big Dance.