Told you so: Georgia wins by 2 over South Carolina just as predicted in the preview.
Georgia went back to the screen and roll power spread offense for 30 minutes and the offense made sense. When the offense reverted to the linear sets, South Carolina held Georgia to a Field Goal drought of eight minutes. J.J. Frazier was the hero at the end, but for once, it was BY DESIGN. Frazier was freed up by ball screens and was able to take the big shots and driving opportunities.
Georgia’s 2-3 Zone Defense when it was disciplined was spectacular. Georgia’s man-to-man defense was spotty at times. The rebounding in the first half was poor on the defensive end as South Carolina was able to win their offensive glass 48%. Georgia improved this win rate to earn a defensive glass winning rate of 65.8%. Georgia forced South Carolina to a defensive glass win rate of 55.88%. Georgia got a lot of work done in the second half on the glass and that is what kept Georgia from going completely off the rails during a major offensive drought.
Georgia shot the ball from three point range on an average basis and took eighteen less shots than South Carolina. Georgia committed 19 turnovers in this game and found a way to win against a team that had only 9. Georgia blocked 9 shots and for much of the game looked like the team that wanted to push the pace as opposed to South Carolina. Both teams hit their Free Throws and if UGA continues the trend of hitting Free Throws like this, the team is going to be very dangerous going forward.
Can Georgia use this spread and ball screen style for the rest of the season? The weaves and high post action along with the typical Georgia offense were not working and South Carolina was able to get right back into it. Poor perimeter passing and scripted passes were problematic. The adjustment to the different offensive style opened up more turnovers because of premature passes in the screen and roll or fade AND because the option to pass in the screen and roll when Edwards sets the screen is not exercised.
Overall, this Georgia Offense played very well for most of the game. Pushing the tempo and creating mismatches is what Georgia should be doing. Mark Fox got it right for much of the game tonight. Georgia won, not surprisingly.
This was a big win for Georgia, perhaps the biggest of the season. Georgia is two wins away from locking up an NIT spot. Georgia is three straight wins away from the NCAA Tournament bubble. Four straight wins away from locking up an NCAA Tournament spot, possibly in Dayton. Win the SEC Tournament and beat Alabama on Saturday, Georgia gets a single digit seed. It could happen if Georgia employs this same sort of offensive style, looks to push tempo and continues the zone defense.
Mark Fox cannot revert things back to the way things were, he needs to take the lessons of tonight and carry them forward. Does he want to win or do things his way? Winning sure feels better than doing things his way. This season is not over yet and the opportunity to finish strong is there. Just win and play this different style that is not like the way the team has operated in the past. It can be done.
Win four more in a row and go to the NCAA Tournament while Florida State has another trip to the NIT, that’s enough to send a message on the recruiting trail and Mark Fox will show that he is stacking success upon success. No individual Head Coach has won 20 or more in three straight seasons at UGA, Mark Fox can still do it.