Dean Legge/Dawg Post

Maten a Star; UGA Sluggish

ATHENS - Its hard to know if I’m expecting too much, but Georgia seems like it ate too much turkey after the trip to Kansas.

Lethargic and plodding, UGA took nearly a half to get going against a team that was picked 4th in the Big South and has a current (but it is very early) RPI of 298. Georgia, meanwhile, was sitting at No. 86 in the RPI heading into this game.

Georgia won, but it was not impressive - particularly at the start. The Bulldogs were out rebounded the first half against a team that doesn’t use a player above 6-7. That’s not encouraging considering this team has out rebounded everyone it has played - including Kansas, Clemson and George Washington. This team has to play hard every night to win - getting out rebounded by this bunch was losing a battle this group should win against pretty much everyone not named Kentucky. 

Meanwhile, one has to continue to monitor Yante Maten’s play. It feels like there’s no stopping him. At what point will he be considered one of the top players in the nation by folks other than those of us who work at “Dawg Post”? 

Soon I hope. Him being UGA’s first All-American since Alec Kessler did it in 1990 is not out of the question. SEC Player of the Year? Maten is going to be in serious consideration for that honor. That has only happened twice in UGA history - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in 2013 and Dominique Wilkins in 1981. 

Neither of those two players played on unreal teams those years, and Maten doesn’t appear to play on one, either. Wilkins’ 1981 group ended up 19-12 with a loss in the SEC title game; KCP’s group was 15-17.

Georgia is going to end up in that win-total range if it doesn’t get more consistency from players beyond its big man. J.J. Fraizer, pretty much each game, does his part. But who else on this team is going to blossom into something more that we can’t see right now?

I’m not sure, but its time for them to get going. 

Only five games are between this team and the start of SEC play. Games against Marquette (Dec 4.) and at Georgia Tech (Dec. 20) seem vital to having a good year. Both appear very winnable (Marquette is 3-2 with losses to Pitt and Michigan with a win over Vanderbilt; Tech has a first-year head coach and is 3-1 having played no one of consequence). 

Getting everything smoothed out has to occur over the next five weeks. The SEC opener, at Auburn, won’t be easy. Mark Fox’s teams are 1-4 on the Plains. This team can play well. We’ve seen that. The first ten minutes against the Jayhawks was the best UGA has played this season, so it can happen for sure. 

But this group needs to see more performances like that and fewer performances like we’ve seen at home.


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