Two bubble teams fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament and Arkansas prevailed.
Georgia blew a 16 point lead in the First Half for the second game in a row against a fast-paced team that features pressure and strong three point shooting. It is a loss that hearkens back memories of the 2012-13 Georgia Basketball Team that simply was not strong enough to hold large leads against programs with the same style of play. Five years ago, it was Marshall Henderson, Anthlon Bell and Kevin Bright. This season it has been Bryce Brown and Daryl Macon.
Sloppy in-bounds plays, inability to handle pressure man-to-man defense, poor detection of zone defense and trouble with the Arkansas duo of Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford resulted in the loss tonight. Arkansas’ use of the ball screen to create space behind the screener for Macon really gave Georgia fits as the switches and poor defensive decisions with the screens helped fuel this veteran tandem.
What Mike Anderson did tonight on Defense.
Arkansas pressured Georgia at a greater rate than they would on the road. Georgia is the perfect team to pressure because of the team’s tentative and robotic nature, the objective has to be to disrupt the Dawgs and Mike Anderson did enough of it to get into a position to win.
- Anderson’s pressure Man-to-Man did not necessarily yield results early. Georgia was able to jump out to a 9-2 lead.
- Anderson switched to a 3-2 Zone, which gave Georgia even better shot looks from beyond the arc and at the rim. This is how Georgia got to a 27-11 lead, this 3-2 Zone was a gift to the Dawgs. Georgia was able to get ball movement against it and easy quick hitters into the post.
- Anderson switched back to full court pressure and extended the pressure into the Man-to-Man Defense and Georgia folded like Superman on Laundry Day. On both ends of the floor, Georgia handled this as well as Procter & Gamble’s Public Relations Team is addressing the Tide Pod Challenge phenomenon.
- Anderson kept the pressure Man-to-Man Defense with the Run & Jump Press, Arkansas was able to keep it at a stalemate.
- Anderson threw in a tweak into the defense, which gave Arkansas a big turning point basket in the Second Half and put them into the driver’s seat. The tweak: He disguised the Man-to-Man Defense, albeit his team executed it poorly making it obvious that they were in 3-2 Zone. However, Georgia went into the High Post Weave sequence and it went wrong quickly. The saddest part is that Mark Fox was standing less than 8 feet away from this and he was absolutely silent. Fox did not utter any instructions or warning not to continue what they were doing or even think of doing.
- Anderson kept switching between Man-to-Man Defense with Pressure and an active 3-2 Zone that resembled more of a 1-2-2 Matchup Zone.
What Mark Fox Did on Both Offense and Defense
It’s the same two sets and try to do a 5 to 4 pass from the top of the key at the very beginning of some possessions to catch opponents off guard.
Against the 3-2 Zone in the First Half, Georgia carved up that farce of a defensive look. There was no coaching needed there, if a college team cannot rip apart that lazy defensive effort, then they are absolutely pathetic. Mike Anderson really?
However, against the zone defenses, Georgia was not really looking to attack them in the 2nd Half. There were too many passing around the perimeter moments and trying to set up the man on the High Post (the key man) to do something, which was probably pass it out for a three point shot. It’s not a terrible thought, but Arkansas showed Mark Fox how to actually run zone offense later in the game when Fox switched to a 2-3 Matchup Zone. Everyone else was content to stand there and that was just a terrible idea.
There are different ways to beat a zone:
- Spread and screen to force someone out of position.
- Spread and cut to force defenders to have to expand their zone responsibilities.
- Flood a zone.
- Contract the zone by packing the middle.
- Unselfish downscreens with the key man having an option to drive, shoot or make a pass to a banana cutter while the screener keeps one of the defenders occupied.
- Shoot your way out of it. This is the toughest way.
- Hit the weak spots of the zone.
- Shot fake to clear zoning defenders and collapse upon the zone.
Georgia slowed down against the zone and Georgia likes to play slow because they do not want to play an up-and-down game with anyone, especially Arkansas. Georgia has athletes, but fast pace and transition opportunities take away the element of control from the game.
In the second half, Jordan Harris and Juwan Parker made good use of the shot fake. It would make Bobby Knight proud, but since it was not Nemanja Djurisic doing it, he would not be as happy about it. Then again, Bobby Knight is not exactly a happy person.
Georgia played very well on defense in the first 14 minutes of the game. Georgia played a strong and energetic Man-to-Man Defense that did not allow second chance opportunities, it is why Georgia was able to get to a 29-13 lead. Then the pressure of Arkansas came and Georgia became undone on the defensive end.
It is amazing how confidence, energy and execution go together for the Dawgs. The doubt set it and the Arkansas Offense started getting rolling with dribble drives and three point shots for Jaylen Barford.
Georgia’s 2-3 Matchup Zone and Baseline Out of Bounds defense was atrocious.
In Overtime, Georgia finally figured out the Arkansas dribble drive attack, but had no answers for defending Daryl Macon. Arkansas got the message that if they were going to shoot inside the perimeter or attack the rim, they were going to get their shots blocked. Nicolas Claxton and Yante Maten were very tough in the post.
Turtle Jackson was routinely abused on the screens and Arkansas took full advantage of the switches and tentative switches. However, the Dawgs did a good job lobbying for the referees to look for moving screens and the moving screen calls almost cost Arkansas this game. There were moving screens on three point shots, brush screens that really weren’t (and not called), elevator screens that never stayed stationary and horribly set downscreens. In Overtime, Macon was able to get free off properly set threes and got his shot at the top of the key with Yante Maten defending his shot late in the shot clock perhaps too conservatively.
It’s Just Like 2012-13…
In 2012-13, Georgia had an opportunity to backdoor their way into the NCAA Tournament. There were opportunities in front of them and the team lost 4 out of 5 conference games in performances where the team melted down or played far too tight.
Georgia is now at their slowest ranking ever by KenPom in terms of adjusted tempo. They have an adjusted tempo of 64.7 possessions per game and that is good enough for 328th fastest in the country. Virginia, watch out! Here comes Georgia!
Mark Fox is Mark Fox and the only hope is that there is a February resurgence where Fox lets loose of the reins, but it seems unlikely at this point. With the talent infusion for the next two seasons, a clean program, no off-the-court embarrassments, Fox’s political skills and the willingness of Fox subjugate himself and the Men’s Basketball program to the Football Team… those in power would see it as a major mistake not to extend him. Fox knows what is important and so do those in power. These games do not matter to those in charge and to most of Bulldog Nation. That’s reality, folks. Greg McGarity wants you to make even larger (now non-tax deductible) gifts! Most of this money will go to the concussion settlement fund… “rainy day fund” and to pay for a place for you to do your business at Sanford Stadium.
Georgia has lost four of the last five games and takes on Kansas State, another bubblicious team. Kansas State is on a roll and they will be hosting UGA at the Octagon of Doom. Do the trends continue? Georgia will be fighting their own history under Mark Fox against Florida right after that game. Remember, Georgia has never lost three straight SEC games and made the NCAA Tournament under Mark Fox. Mark Fox will need to defeat Mike White for the first time to prevent history from repeating itself. Winning at Mississippi State and Vanderbilt is not going to impress anyone. The last six games of the regular season are a brutal stretch and this team may need to win more of these games than they are capable.
Georgia is not an NCAA Tournament team right now and the team will need to prevent history from repeating.