Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

Legge's Thoughts: This Just Is

This wasn’t a good night for Georgia basketball.

Offense was hard to come by and when the ball did go into the basket it was often ugly during the 67-61 loss to South Carolina. Georgia took a step back in the SEC standings and on their journey to the post-season Wednesday night in Athens.

This night was compounded by Auburn’s, the team UGA had an inspired comeback against a week ago, destruction by Vanderbilt. The Tigers lost by 19 in Nashville… and the score wasn’t indicative of how bad that game was out of hand in the second half. 

Speaking of which, Georgia lost this game coming out of the half. Carolina jumped on the Dawgs, and with the exception of some moments late in the game, the Chickens controlled the game and were the better team. 

They deserved to win. The Dawgs certainly deserved to lose. 

Georgia’s offense was horrible in the second half. Still, the team had a chance to win a second comeback game in a row if not for an out-of-control moment. In the final minute of play and with the Dawgs only down three, guard J.J. Frazier made what can politely be called wild decision - throwing into a double team - that eventually led to the ball going out of bounds to the Cocks. 

That resulting possession for USC ended the game.

That wasn’t the only wild moment from Frazier, but it was the terminal one. The senior, who can be as cold as he can be hot when he’s reckless, shouldn’t be making those sorts of plays this late in his college career. There were times in the second half where UGA’s offense consisted of Frazier dribbling around unnecessarily or taking a poor shot without passing the ball to his teammates. 

As hot as Frazier can get, far too often his decisions with the ball are… concerning. 

He’s got to play better for Georgia’s thin NCAA hopes to stay alive. The consensus was that UGA is “about” 5th or 6th back of being in the NCAAs heading into this game. This result didn’t further their chances of playing in the only post-season tournament that matters. 

Before the game, UGA’s RPI was pretty respectable - 36. But they’ve got no win that matters. Two of the Dawgs’ best wins over over schools with hyphens in their name. Sure, games with the Gators (No. 4), Cats (No. 6) and Hogs (No. 29) remain, but Ken Pom gives the Dawgs no better than a 40% chance to win any of their five games against that group. 

After tonight, frankly, I think 40% is a little high.

If you don’t beat those teams, and you’ve already lost to the Chickens at home… is it time to hover your hand over the panic button? 

Not quite yet, but now each game you “have” to win, like Missouri this Saturday, you really do have to win. The trip to Oxford is now critically important. A 2-2 start in SEC play with the likes of UK, the Gators and Hogs left on the schedule leaves virtually no margin for error. 

Then again, that’s been the name of the game for this program for so long now - a very small margin of error with no widening of that margin of error in sight. We’ve known that for a long time, and it is not going to get better just because the program is now in conference play. Games are going to be tight because of familiarity and travel. 

Georgia (9-5, 1-1 SEC) is going to have to gut out some wins (plural… not just one or two) along the way it shouldn’t normally get. That’s the only way they are going to get to the Big Dance. 

This isn’t going to get better or worse. This just is.

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