Florida at Georgia: Can Fox Prevent a Mutiny and Beat Mike White?

Florida makes their annual visit to Stegeman Coliseum with a lot of momentum.

Florida was languishing in non-conference action while Georgia was mostly flourishing and then everything switched.  Mike White’s Gators are 15-6 (6-2 in SEC) and feeling good about themselves, especially after whipping Baylor at Exactech Arena at the O’Connell Center.  Mark Fox’s Bulldogs are ready to mutiny with rumors of dissatisfaction and angry parents in the face of losing 5 of the last 6 games.  These are two programs headed in different directions this season and have been this way since Tubby Smith left Athens.  At Florida, all sports matter and their teams are usually aggressive in their style of play.  At Georgia, only one sport matters and teams typically are extremely conservative (even downright passive) in their style of play.

Much of the Georgia hatred over the past three decades is an envy of Florida’s looseness and aggression.  A lot of “Why aren’t we doing that?”

The reason that Georgia has failed to adapt is rather simple:  Those in power are stuck in the past.

The Aggressive Florida Gators

Florida mixes it up defensively in the Half Court, they’ll play Pressure Man-to-Man mixed with a bit of 1-3-1 Zone Defense.  Florida will full court press and their preferred method of pressing is using the 2-2-1 Zone Press.

Florida’s offense is similar to the Dribble Drive Motion Offense, but it is different in that it is a part motion, part mandated ball screens.  It’s a very ball-screen heavy offense, which creates a lot of problems for opponents.  There are ball screens on the wing, top of the key and even sometimes the corner area to set up for a drive or drive-and-kick with ball rotation.

Florida is a very good three point shooting team and their ability to attack the rim off the dribble or on a roll makes them very difficult to guard.  Throw in usually good spacing and there’s a reason why Florida is poised to contend for the SEC crown and possibly achieve higher heights than last season (Elite Eight).

Chris Chiozza is the heart of this team, he’s their J.J. Frazier, but he is in a better position to be a distributor rather than carrying the scoring load. Egor Koulechov and Jalen Hudson are both extremely dangerous shooters from the perimeter.  Koulechov is playing the Canyon Barry role this season.  KeVaughn Allen has been offensively inefficient this season, but he can hit his Free Throws when he gets the chance to do so.  Allen is a bit of a gambler on defense and this can cause him to get burned out there.

Florida typically throws out there three guards, a Combo Forward and a Center.  However, they are not afraid to go with Koulechov as a Combo Forward out there.

Florida forces a lot of turnovers and they can get burned from the perimeter, they are strongest at keeping opponents from attaining a good Field Goal percentage inside the perimeter.  They challenge ball movement very well.

Florida’s Strengths:

  • Forcing turnovers.
  • Blocking shots.
  • Three point shooting.
  • Getting to the Free Throw Line.
  • Making Free Throws.
  • Not turning the ball over.
  • Ball movement

Florida’s Weaknesses:

  • Possibly limited depth.
  • Scoring at the rim.
  • Rebounding
  • Size

Georgia looks to avoid another meltdown.

Mark Fox wants his team to play an extremely deliberate style of Basketball.  It has not exactly worked out well.

In 4 out of the 5 slowest paced games this season, Georgia has lost.  Three out of the last four games featured the team playing in their three slowest paced games this season.  The radically slow pace is not working.

Nobody is happy with what is going on except for those in power.  Local Media are not happy because their page views are down, parents are not happy because their kids are not playing, the players are not happy because they feel constrained, alumni are not happy because they are traveling from Atlanta to watch cringe-worthy Basketball, students are not happy because they have debt to pay down the road, and non-alumni fans are just waiting for Spring Practice for Football.

If recruits actually understood Fox’s offense rather than bought the sales lines, would they really want to come to UGA?

The good news for Mark Fox and Greg McGarity is two-fold:

  1. Men’s Basketball does not matter to the general populace and to the de facto owners sporting Centrum Silver Britches.
  2. Still 10 games left on the regular season schedule.

There’s no mass outrage to happen in Athens, it’s all sort of meh.

Mark Fox is 0-5 against Mike White coached teams.  The best effort given against a Mike White coached team was last season in Gainesville, which was a crushing Overtime Loss.  This Georgia team is less equipped to handle a pressing style of play than last season’s team.  The desire to play slow and the robotic fashion the team plays is ripe for exploitation against a team like Florida.

This is a matchup nightmare.

  • Florida presses, Georgia cannot handle the press.
  • Florida attacks passing lanes, Georgia telegraphs passes on offense.
  • Florida cannot rebound very well, Georgia takes a lot of jump shots which means longer rebounds.
  • Florida uses a lot of ball screens, Georgia struggles with ball screens.
  • Florida can shoot threes very well, Georgia wears down defensively and eventually the threes rain down.

It’s easy to predict how this one goes.  Tickets are going to cheap everyone, it’s the Tuesday Ticket deal for $8.

What’s the point of giving to the Basketball Enhancement Fund again?  

Prediction:  Florida 76  Georgia 63

Now translated from English to Igbo to Javanese to Haitian Creole to Russian to Spanish to English, a song known all too well… the University of Florida Fight Song “Orange and Blue”.

So enjoy the orange and blue
Waiting for a break!
At the Pride of Old Florida,
Let’s not come
Let’s sing for the current flag,
Thanks to the team!
With a view,
We will fight for you
Flower-I-yes!

Come on Gators!

2 comments

  1. You’re carrying a strong torch for the unfortunate small mass of fans interested and paying attention. Fortunately, or unfortunately for Fox, the common fan is now noticing and that wagon is starting to fill up. Those opinions and as you noted the local media’s recent turn in opinion may finally reach the athletic dept.

    I’m a fan of Fox, but this year has kicked me down too many times. The UK game actually laid out the blueprint to what we’ve witnessed the last three games.

    With the well laid point of how much of a mismatch this game is, I’m surprised you’re only calling for a 13 pt difference. I personally don’t think UF has much of a roster, but I’ve watched it too many times in the past where UF’s question marks have shown up and the rest of the team maintains there season #s. Hate to say it, but with UF coming in on the upswing and the UGA team/fan base feeling dejected, I can’t see this one staying under 20.

  2. Fox brand basketball is never going to generate any significant positive results at UGA. Fire him and hire someone who can recruit and promotes a modern style of basketball play…offense is not against the rules!!

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