Panthers come to Georgia at 1:00 today

Are the Hoopdawgs for real?<br> Let's ask ourselves some questions:<br> *Have the Hoopdawgs bounced back from not having Steve Thomas and losing 3 games while not at full strength?<br> *Are the Hoopdawgs a bunch of preseason hype?<br> *Can the Hoopdawgs make a run deep into March this year?<br> *With a VERY TOUGH SEC schedule on tap, will Georgia be able to make a run for the East?

Today's game will be the first time a team ranked as high as Pitt has visited Stegeman since 1997 when Vince Carter and Co. brought the #1 ranked UNC Tarheels to Athens. By the way, we had a five point lead and the ball with less than two minutes left in that one.  How in the world……..  I digress. 

The game today when the 9-0 Pitt Panthers visit the 7-3 Georgia Bulldogs will answer a lot of the questions I posed above.  This is a Georgia team that was a prayer away from starting the season 1-4.  That prayer was a last second shot by Jonas Hayes against Colorado.  It turns out that prayer was what was needed to turn the Dawgs around and has propelled them to a six game winning streak. 

If you are a fan of pure basketball, the Dawgs have been REALLY fun to watch lately.  They have put on offensive clinics against Gonzaga, South Alabama, Appalachian State, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  If you have any future point guards out there, have them pay attention to the way that Rashad Wright and Damien Wilkins run the offense.  I tell you that it is a thing of beauty.  If our offensive roll continues today, Pittsburgh will become the next victim. 

Pitt is a VERY good team who is off to their best start in fifteen years.  They have also blown out everyone that they have played.  Georgia is undoubtedly the best team that they will have faced thus far this season.

Pitt has one of the top point guards in the country in Brandin Knight.  On the season, he is averaging 12 points and close to 7 assists.  On the wings they have a couple of good shooters in Julius Page and Donatas Zavackous.  Down low they have a 6-10 285 center in Toree Morris.  They like to rotate players down low by bringing in the 6-6 Ontario Lett and the 6-7 Chevron Troutman.  Pitt is a very solid team; Georgia will have to be on their P's and Q's today. 

Byoungjr's keys to the game: 

  1. Rashad Wright vs. Brandin Knight – Contrary to popular belief, Rashad doesn't have to average double figures to be a good point guard.  Heck, it doesn't even matter if he scores at all.  We have better scoring options than Wright and he is only supposed to score when the opportunity presents itself….kinda like he does.  I digress, but it upsets me that he catches flak for going 1-4 or 2-5.  HE ISN'T A SCORER!  One thing he is is a very good on the ball defender.  Brandin Knight is the type of player that can control the game with his playmaking ability.  It is Rashad Wright's job to contain him and take him out of this.  No matter what, WE CAN'T LET PITT DICTATE THE TEMPO!  I don't think that Knight will be able to dominate this matchup. 
  1. Georgia has to keep their offense rolling – The past 4 games have been a clinic on how to run the high post offense.  There have been a couple of times that I have seen a zone work against us, but not since Steve Thomas has been back.  Let's hope that Pittsburgh tries to match up with us man to man to wear us down.  That plays right into our hands because all of our wings can create off the dribble.  It is also the double whammy against Pitt because if Ezra or Jarvis gets a clean look at the hoop, it is lights out.  Pitt will have to do something like a box and two or half court pressure to try to take us out of our offense.  If they don't they are in for a long afternoon.  When we are on a roll we are hard to stop.  Over the past couple of years, it has been our defense that has cost us games not the offense.
  1. We have to keep the Texas and Tech games in mind as games where we were in control at one point or another and let it whittle away.  We will have to keep focus for 40 minutes and play our game not theirs.  If we do that, you very well could see an upset in Athens today.   

Will the questions I posed be answered?  We will find out at 1:00 this afternoon.






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