I really don’t understand strategies in coaching sometimes. I hate to be that guy, but if Georgia is burning up shooting threes when is the correct time to get out of the garbage 2-3 zone you are running?
After Charles Mann continues to pick apart your stupid zone?
After Georgia hits half of its three-point shots in the first half?
After Georgia builds a nine-point lead?
After Georgia builds an 11-point lead?
That Ole Miss would not get out of a zone - much of the time with Marcus Thornton having to real effect on the game and therefore no necessarily great reason to stay in a zone - is beyond me. It cost the Rebels the game, and they lost it 76-72 in Oxford.
Simply put: Georgia’s first half performance was the best half of basketball they have played all season. The Dawgs were zoned in - they were interested and active. All credit to Mark Fox and the players for being ready to roll during this pivotal game.
But I can not let go of the fact that Ole Miss stayed in that junky zone. It is just bad basketball.
Georgia, on the other hand, just played great. Kenny Gaines played outstanding. Gaines and Charles Mann are nearly impossible to stop in transition. Both attack the basket in transition and jump stop rather than leap towards the basket. I know that’s sort of dorky stuff to point out, but that is great basketball. It allows for body control and cuts downs on getting called for a charge. Again, just outstanding.
In addition, the Rebels helped Georgia’s cause in transition with silly turnovers at the top of the key. Stopping Gaines and particularly Mann is difficult enough to do no matter what, but giving them a head start over the rest of the team… well that’s a recipe for losing a game like this - a game the Rebels didn’t need to lose.
Sure, the game got close, but that’s when Marcus Thornton, who ended the night with a double double and is the Dawgs’ resident big man - came to play. He dumped in a few buckets and had a blocked shot. That was all she wrote.
Neither team was going to take a “bad” loss tonight, but Georgia is clearly better that the Rebels. One has to wonder how pumped up Ole Miss is going to be if Georgia remains the No. 6 seed and the Rebels are the No. 3 in the SEC Tournament.
After the a Thursday night (midnight) game, Georgia very well could get the Rebels again on Friday night, and could take it from there in a very manageable path to at least Saturday in Nashville (Texas A&M is tied with Ole Miss in 3rd place right now. Georgia is 3-0 against those teams).
But that’s OK. This win gets the Bulldogs one step closer to the NCAAs. No dumb losses from here on out - I’m looking at you Missouri - and the Dawgs will be dancing.