The Mississippi State game proved that Saturday night. Just as I wrote last week, Georgia's lack of depth is going to be a painful to overcome. It has cost them three games in a row… and the trend won't stop until Georgia's bench comes to play. Once again Georgia's bench was outscored, albeit not by nearly as much as in the last few games, but outscored nonetheless.
Georgia's top three players, Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie and Dustin Ware and are good enough to run around with everyone in the SEC – and I think they have proved that of late. There is nothing wrong with Albert Jackson when he produces… the same goes for Ricky McPhee as it relates to when he is shooting well. The problem, once again, is that the margin of error is so thin for that group. Georgia doesn't get 15 points from one player on its bench like State did Saturday to offset a poor night from one of the starters – that's not there.
The top group at Georgia has to play perfect… that's not what you want.
I believe, like any person who has watched or played basketball, that winning games comes down to execution in the final four minutes of the game. You may as well not even turn the game on until the final four minutes of the contest – unless you want to see Travis Leslie get right on some dude – if all you care about is the outcome of the contest.
Georgia controlled State the entire game with their starting five. They had a 13-point lead (62-49) with six minutes left in the game. In fact, they had a 13-point lead earlier in the half… maybe 13 is a bad luck number for the Dawgs. Either way, in basketball, usually you have to withstand the run that teams have to get back into the game only once… not twice. But Georgia did just that, and came out with a lead both times. Still, the third time was the charm for State, as they took a 70-69 lead with a minute and a half to go in the game and didn't look back.
But that's where Georgia is right now… they have the players they have… and they are going to have to learn to win the way they play. What I mean is that Georgia will have close games nearly every time they go out due to the style of play they have. The starting five is going to have to execute in the final four minutes or the outcome of the last three games is going to be the outcome every night out.
The problem is that I am starting to think that so much stress is being put on the top five during the 36 minutes before the last four minutes of the game that they are too worn out to be effective at the ends of games. That's certainly been the case against three of the SEC's top teams… we will see what that means when the other top team in the SEC comes to town next Saturday – Tennessee.
If I had to guess Georgia will play well and even win against the Vols… why? Because they have an off-week before the Tennessee game, and they are playing at home.