Upset of State is not out of the question

ATHENS – For the first time in nearly a month, Georgia's basketball program is coming off a win. A month ago a win over Mississippi State might have seen too hard to believe, but now, after Georgia's win over Auburn on Saturday and State's beating at the hands of Kentucky that night, anything seems possible.

It's not too far fetched to think of Georgia beating the other Bulldogs Wednesday night. State was beaten, excuse me, like a dog by Kentucky and have lost three of their last four (including a loss at Auburn). State also has beaten only one SEC team on the road this season and that was lowly Ole Miss in January. Their NCAA Tournament resume is not sparkling right now – a loss to Georgia might not burst their NCAA bubble, but it would put the needle painfully close for the final few weeks of the season.

State's problem on the road is scoring points. They are averaging only 58 points a game while traveling in the SEC. That means trouble for the Maroon Dogs when they come calling. Georgia might not be able to score, but they have been able to stop people from doing so; the Bulldogs are allowing only 57 points a game in their last five contests.

Yes, this Georgia team is bad, but it's not as bad as some would like to think it is. There has been fight from this team nearly the entire season. That fight shows up on the defensive side of the ball. Is the offense terrible? Yes – they have little talent on that side of the ball. That's where most of the bellyaching from fans has come from this season. Without Levi Stukes and Channing Toney the Bulldogs were hopeless against Clemson and the frustration showed at the end of the game.

The two of them returned Saturday and Georgia was in control most of the second half. It took a steady offensive effort from Steve Newman, but Georgia played its best game since their win over Vanderbilt earlier this season. Newman must continue to score, or at least take shots. He has the ability to score, but seems hesitant to do so most of the time. Dennis Felton spoke with him about that after the Clemson game and that seemed to inspire Newman to his best performance all season.

Meanwhile, State could be without their best player when the pair of dogs tip-off. Star forward Lawrence Roberts is listed as day-to-day because of a bruised and strained right quadricep. "His status is totally up in the air right now," said State head coach Rick Stansbury Monday.

Not good.

Roberts is the SEC's fourth leading scorer (17.4 ppg) and its top rebounder (11 rpg). You saw what happened when Stukes didn't suit up for the Dawgs against Clemson – that's why an upset would not be out of the question Wednesday night. Playing on the road is difficult enough, but doing without your leading scorer is almost too much to ask no matter the opponent.

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