There is absolutely no benefit to either Missouri or Georgia to play this game. None.
Southerners are known to panic over a little bit of snow and ice, which is rather comical considering that the region is known for tough talk from “real men” (this is the same crowd that wanted to have Football games played in hurricane conditions and during times when State Governors were declaring States of Emergency). Universities and schools shut down in the face of the threat of any snow, in fact, the UGA campus shuts down if there is ice on Sanford Bridge. The UGA campus shut down after 3:30 PM Friday and much of the campus dining options had earlier closing times.
— UGA (@universityofga) January 6, 2017
Georgia and Missouri are scheduled to face off at 1 PM at Stegeman Coliseum and the weather will make things challenging for travel not just for those outside of Athens that wish to attend the game, but for the Missouri Tigers coming into town. There is very little benefit to either team to playing this game, in fact, the SEC would probably prefer that this game not be played nor revisited on a later date. Why?
- By just playing the game, Georgia falls in RPI. If Georgia wins, their RPI falls. If Georgia loses, their RPI falls significantly and their postseason aspirations are finished in early January.
- Missouri having to fly into an area that is experiencing bad weather is a bit risky. The mentality of “the show must go on as scheduled” in the face of a State of Emergency declared by Governor Nathan Deal (R-GA).
- The SEC loses because if Georgia plays this game, their tournament resume is hurt. The SEC collects revenue for each game a conference member plays in the NCAA Tournament. Georgia has a far better chance of making the NCAA Tournament than Missouri and what benefits Georgia would also benefit the conference as a whole.
Briefly on Missouri
Missouri Basketball is in the toilet. Kim Anderson got the dreaded vote of confidence not once, but twice. He got it from former Athletic Director Mack Rhoades and he received a similar show of support from current University of Missouri-Columbia Athletic Director Jim Sterk.
Missouri peaked against Xavier and has never reached that same level of play on the floor. Missouri cannot do anything right and when there is midseason attrition, it is a good sign that this is the beginning of the end. The same thing happened to Dennis Felton at Georgia, but Felton had a tornado, an epiphany and a miracle save his job for another ten months. Injuries and transfers typically spell doom in the middle of a losing season.
Who is still at Mizzou?
Willie Jackson transferred out last week and Frankie Hughes was rumored to be transferring and could be considered staying on a day-to-day basis until January 17, which is the first day of Spring 2017 classes at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Reed Nikko and Russell Woods are deemed questionable to play due to ankle and back injuries respectively. Mitchell Smith is out for the season with a knee injury.
Missouri could be playing seven deep against Georgia. Kevin Puryear is the standout on this team. This is not a very offensively efficient team. On defense, Missouri is very good at holding shooting rates down.
Missouri prides themselves on their defense and their defensive rebounding is actually quite good. Offensively, there is nothing there except that this team does not turn it over much and forces opponents to commit a lot of fouls.
Examining this Game
Missouri and Georgia strangely have more in common than many think. Both Kim Anderson and Mark Fox have a very similar coaching mindset, but differing offensive philosophies. As different as the offensive philosophies may be they both have similar offensive issues. Defensively, both teams are oriented toward forcing missed shots rather than forcing turnovers. Both coaches are playing at a pace that is faster than their typical comfort zone. Both coaches value experience and they both inherited programs with past disciplinary issues and NCAA violations. Kim Anderson succeeded Frank Haith at Missouri and Mark Fox beat out Frank Haith for the Georgia Head Coaching position. Kim Anderson is terrible with press conferences and interviews and Mark Fox has found new ways to bury his program without even realizing or being prompted to do so.
On January 29, 2014, Georgia came into their home game at Stegeman Coliseum 10-8 (4-2 in the SEC) and faced a shorthanded Vanderbilt team that was only playing seven scholarship student-athletes. The Commodores came into this game with a 10-8 record. There was also an ice storm that crippled the Atlanta area during this time. Vanderbilt had difficulty getting to Athens in the first place to play this game. Conditions were so bad that this short went from airport to airport and had to scrap shootaround, but yet this shorthanded team won this road game in Athens by a score of 59-54. Mark Fox made no effort to wear down the obviously shorthanded and weary Commodores and the game plan did not involve forcing the opponent into widespread foul trouble. The pace was slow and Georgia was rendered a jump shooting team.
Nearly three years later, Georgia faces a defeated, shorthanded Missouri team in the middle of a winter storm. Georgia’s history is to under-perform in these games under Mark Fox. Auburn came to Athens with Cinmeon Bowers playing the starting Point Guard last season and UGA only won 65-55. UGA actually only beat this horrible Auburn team by 1 in the second half.
Georgia is going to struggle in front of a lethargic crowd on an ugly weather day. Georgia will win over a horrible Missouri team… barely. This game will be literally unwatchable. Let’s hope this game does not even happen and both programs can just move on with their seasons.
Prediction: Georgia 62 Missouri 58