Georgia/Arkansas HoopDawg preview

Is it just me or does it seem like Georgia has only twice since Christmas. Well, I am exaggerating, but we are getting ready to play our third league game this year in a place that we have never won before. The HoopDawgs take on the Razorbacks tomorrow at Bud Walton Arena in Arkansas.

To Georgia's credit, the team that we are taking to Bud Walton arena is probably the best team that has traveled there since the '97 team with Derrick Dukes (Why didn't Ron Jirsa play him more?), Lorenzo Hall (Why did Jirsa bench him his last year in favor of Badi Oliver?), and Mike Chadwick.  

Just like Kentucky last year, we have a shot to make history by winning at a place that we have never won at before.  Over the past couple of years, we have had problems beating the teams we were supposed to beat on the road (i.e. Auburn, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina last year) and we win at the tough places (i.e. Miss State, Florida, Kentucky).  Let's hope that trend doesn't continue on to this season.  

This will be a big boost to Arkansas if they beat us.  I hope that we can stay focused and not be a part of Stan Heath's postseason things to build on speech. 

In the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word inexperienced is defined as this:

Main Entry: in·ex·pe·ri·ence
Pronunciation: "i-nik-'spir-E-&n(t)s
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French, from Late Latin inexperientia, from Latin in- + experientia experience
Date: 1598
1 : lack of practical experience
2 : lack of knowledge of the ways of the world
3 :
2002-2003 Arkansas Razorbacks 

Well, ok I added #3 but the point is the same.  Arkansas has everything from an inexperienced coach in Stan Heath to their starting backcourt where they have two freshmen in Kendrick Davis and Eric Fergueson.  To top it off their three leading scorers are all freshmen in Davis, Ferguson, and Jonathon Modica.  

The Razorbacks are last in the SEC in:  Field Goal %, Free Throw %, 3pt Field Goal %, Assists, and Turnover Margin.  Ouch!  What they do well is rebound.  Heath comes from the Tom Izzo school of basketball which means that they play tough defense and rebound well.  He is night and day from Nolan Richardson where Richardson's teams played an up-tempo style of ball.  

Personally, I think that they should have retained Mike Anderson as the head coach, but I guess they wanted to go in a different direction.  In my opinion, Stan Heath doesn't give you anything more than the more experienced Anderson did.  I guess that is why my name isn't Frank Broyles.  

For Arkansas to beat us, they will have to play tough defense, make us miss, and out rebound us.  If they try to dictate the tempo, they will be in for a hard time because that is a tough thing to do against us.  Non one has been successful in doing it this season. The key to controlling the tempo of the game is the point guard and it is a hard task for a freshman point guard to deal with a veteran like Rashad Wright .  Arkansas will have to play WAY over their heads to win this one tomorrow.  But hey, the SEC is tough this year and it won't surprise anyone if they do. 

Georgia's Keys to Victory:

  1. We must come out ticking – What worries me the most about this game is that this will be our second game in the past two weeks.  We have veteran players, so I hope that this layoff doesn't hurt us.  We will see.  If we come out flat we could give this young bunch confidence in the beginning and that will spell out trouble for the rest of the game.
  1. Does anyone remember the South Carolina game in Columbia? The Tim Higgins show at Auburn?  The Vandy 3-point exhibition in Nashville? The UT game in Knoxville?  Almost losing to LSU in Baton Rouge?  What do these five games have in common?  They were all against the lesser teams in the SEC on the road.  Arkansas will fall into that bracket this year.  We must squash any runs that they make and not let the 19,000+ fans get into the game.  Bud Walton's home court advantage + a young team with confidence + an out of synch Hoopdawg squad = BIG TROUBLE.  We need to stay out of BIG TROUBLE!
  1. Arkansas is lousy at handling the ball and shooting but they are good at rebounding and the lead the SEC in offensive rebounds.  Chris Daniels and Steve Thomas are key because they must rebound well and not give Arkansas any second chances.  Again, we can't afford to give this young team confidence.  Offensive Rebounds, turnovers, and transition baskets are all confidence and momentum builders.  If we limit those, we will be able to breathe easy tomorrow.

Last year, we had big problems beating the teams that we were supposed to beat on the road.

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