Lost in what will be the euphoria of Georgia's 73-72 win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night will be they way in which Georgia performed in the first half – not impressively. Unfortunately this has become a trend.
The problems were obvious for anyone to see. On the offensive side of the ball Georgia still seems confused or perplexed by the zone – Dustin Ware's hot seven-of-nine shooting saved Georgia against the Jackets.
The Bulldogs were also lazy to the glass – they are not going to be able to challenge in the SEC with lackadaisical rebounding. They didn't move their feet well on defense during the first half, which made it possible for Tech, which seemed like an inferior opponent to be sure, have a lead heading into the locker room.
"But Travis Leslie wasn't playing because he had two fouls." He got the fouls because he wasn't moving the way he should. When Robinson, Leslie, Thompkins and the rest of the rotation are in the ball game together – not just physically but mentally, too – I can envision this team making its way to the Sweet 16. When the parts are not working together – as was the case Tuesday night – I can envision the Dawgs missing the Big Dance entirely.
This team is too good not to play better during stretches. The free throw shooting – 7 for 15 – is beyond pathetic and is a straight up mental problem that can and needs to be fixed. The Bulldogs are not good enough to play the way they have played during much of this season and get to the NCAAs.
You can see the flashes – the middle part of the second half was an impressive showing from Georgia. But Georgia's good play seems to be for a flash, and then it seems to be gone. Some of that is the nature of basketball – some of that is the willingness of players to play to their ability at all times.
If Dustin Ware shoots seven for nine from the arc Georgia will not loose this season. But Ware probably won't shoot like that again soon. He shouldn't have to for Georgia to win. The Bulldogs run an offense that allows them to attack in a diverse manner – they need to take advantage of it. Passing the ball around the perimeter – as was done in the first half – accomplishes nothing. The threat of the drive, and therefore the score, is what makes a defense move.
Either the mental or physical effort was lacking at times during the first half of the game, and it nearly cost the Bulldogs the entire contest. Georgia will have to be ready to play a 40-minute game soon, because in the brutal SEC East no win will be an easy one. And if Georgia Tech, a team that would likely finish dead last in the East, is giving Georgia this much trouble then there is much work left to be done.