Georgia Turns Over a 19 Point Lead… Still Win 68-65 Over Islanders

Georgia was fully exposed against a far inferior opponent.  There’s no getting around it.

If it was not for an epically bad shooting first half from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Mark Fox would have done what his predecessor did in his truncated final season in Athens – lose to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  It was very clear that Texas A&M-Corpus Christi had the Georgia Man-to-Man Offense well scouted.  So well scouted that they knew to double the High Post and full frontal deny on Ogbeide and Maten near the restricted arc.  What did this Georgia team do to counter this?  Nothing, but turn the ball over repeatedly and force plays that simply were never there because they were obligated to run the sets as prescribed.

Georgia’s sequenced sets were covered in the post-game recap of the Bryant game.  There are no counters and there is no room for deviation, it is a flowchart offense.  If Georgia was going to score, they were going to score off secondary break and even then they turned the ball over quite a bit.

This is the “Great Xs and Os Coach” and so-called horrible recruiter at work.  Yes, because Mark Fox is that much of a coaching genius and “AAU is so dirty”, this is a result to be expected.  Barely winning at home against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi happens when you don’t have enough so-called 4 and 5 star talents that cause the media to spend their time doing this…

Have these same members of the media actually watched the talent or are they just hyping based on an arbitrary measure?  It’s the latter. 

So let’s be honest, recruiting is not a video game.  The NCAA Football franchise and recruiting media have duped everyone into thinking that it’s the old “Jimmy and Joes” and “shooters and makers” nonsense you are accustomed to hearing and reading.

Those who read this publication regularly know that this conventional “wisdom” is garbage.  

In College Basketball, coaches have to adjust and properly game plan for each opponent.  Coaches have to determine each player’s strengths and weaknesses.  Play to the strengths, hide the weaknesses in games and work on those issues in practice.  Chemistry is so underrated because a team of top talent cannot just be cobbled together and expected to win, it does not work that way.

Roster-wise, the team is fine and good enough to be an NCAA Tournament team.  No joke, the talent is here in Athens.  Coaching, game planning and motivation is certainly not there.  The team is 3-0, but this is not going to work out well because Mark Fox did not adjust to fit this team on both ends of the floor.

A major part of the problem is that Mark Fox has no clue what his players’ core competencies are.  None.  Tyree Crump is getting wide open threes because opponents are letting him take wide open threes!  Why?  Why would someone who is such a vaunted shooter by the local media be allowed to get wide open shots when the High Post is being doubled regardless of who is manning it on offense?  Derek Ogbeide, Yante Maten and Rayshaun Hammonds were all getting doubled on the High Post.  If Tyree Crump wanted to shoot a three, he had it at any time in the shot clock that he desired against these Islanders.  The best thing Crump did all day was attack the basket and draw fouls because he has the potential to be the greatest Free Throw shooter ever at UGA.

The pace of play was fine, the turnovers were not and that’s just a by-product of a team that does not know how to play together and a coach who has a system that does not enable anything to come naturally.  Everything is rigid and the offense always is a pained struggle.  24 Turnovers is an abomination for a team and it is indicative of a coach who is not doing a good job.  In fact, it is a record under Mark Fox!  Congratulations!

Why is Derek Ogbeide on the High Post?  Georgia has a lot of versatile talent.  They are used improperly, but there is a lot of versatility.  Ogbeide’s game is rather limited to the paint area, why is he being brought out to the High Post when he is no threat to shoot, dribble or pass?  Ogbeide’s at his best away from the paint when he is setting ball screens and even then he gets busted for a moving screen a game.  Ogbeide’s impact on defense outweighs his offensive contributions, but there is a misdiagnosis here.

Jordan Harris, the best three point shooter from last season, was aggressive and he attacked the basket.  Harris was a little rusty on defense, but he takes charge out there.  Establishing him as a catch-and-shoot shooter and letting him be able to make the head fake and attack when necessary would make him very dangerous.  Harris’ baseline drives give the team an element that is sorely missing, but he’s doing it when the team is in continuance of secondary break action rather than going into a set.

Georgia’s Offense was Exposed

This game cannot be spun any other way.  Mark Fox will have to scrap the offense just like he has done in past seasons when in SEC action.  Otherwise, there is no hope for the rest of season.  Georgia averages 18.67 turnovers per game and it is not like this team is facing really good teams.  This was the Cupcake part of the schedule and now it is time to step up at the Wooden Legacy and prove that this program actually deserves recognition beyond the bizarre.

Georgia cannot play Hero Ball and certainly cannot run the Flowchart Offense.  What was this team working on during the offseason and preseason in practice?  Everyone is going through the motions in the offense just make sure that everything reaches a terminal point.

It’s the same old, same old.  It’s getting old.  Better talent, same lack of recognition of abilities and the same stilted system.  There’s not much to defend here and what is unfortunate is that the arguments against Mark Fox being lobbed by mainstream sources and message boards actually support the status quo.

Facing Reality

However, none of this matters.  Remember, this is Georgia after all.  UGA is on borrowed time considering the following:

  1. ESPN’s operating profits are falling.
  2. Tax arbitrage elimination (tax subsidized hobbies and ownership) is a part of the GOP Tax Reform Bill.
  3. The sport of Football ending in likely a generation from now.
  4. The future lawsuits and compensation issues to come.
  5. The changing role of Universities.

Instead of getting out in front of these problems, the UGAA and The Powers That Be are milking the money of non-alumni and hoping that the gravy train continues while pretending that nothing will change.

(Just to clarify:  There are significant threats to the UGAA’s revenue base, expenses that may be harder to justify and $77 million in excess cash that could end up being part of a legal settlement when the world of College Athletics is flipped upside down.)

Men’s Basketball will always be there as a sport offered by UGA, there’s no existential threat to the sport.  Other programs have bought into the idea of winning in more than sport, when does UGA?

Mark Fox does not seem content to make the necessary changes and the UGAA is content with the status quo.  Nobody is prepared to adjust or even do something bold. Forget the Georgia Bulldogs, might as well be called the Georgia Mythical Ostriches.  Because real ostriches do not do this.

9 comments

  1. It’s the same offensive struggle every single year. It’s like watching Gene Hackman coach in Hoosiers…”5 passes!” Fox plays WAY to many guys. Yeah their always fresh on D but there is no chemistry on offense when the same 5 never play more than 10 minutes a game together. Pick your best 8 guys and let em play! If your worried about getting every guy in the game then get up by 30 with your starters and THEN sub…or go coach AAU if you think everyone should get play time.

    1. I watched Duke play Michigan St the other night and Duke had 6 guys play more than 10 minutes. This is one of the elite programs in the county and they were playing against the elite in Michigan State. Duke can get any player they want in recruiting and with a roster full of McDonalds All Americans, Coach K played basically 6 guys….UGA is playing against Texas CorpusChristi and Fox plays 9 guys for over 10 minutes and 13 different players got into a game in which you only won by 3. I guess we must have more talent on our bench than Duke does….

  2. I love our coach’s quote pertaining to a lot of players learning new roles – hence the mistakes/turnovers….Got a chuckle out of that one…
    Why sub all these players if the intent is not to run the floor, push tempo and press? I’m just glad the majority of the people agree the talent level is the best its been under the Fox era…. Lets just hope the powers to be can finally see the light when this team under achieves again..

  3. Fox is horrible! I’m not sure what kind of offense he’s trying to run but it’s not working! Crump is a point guard not a shooting guard, therefore stop playing Crump so he can jack 3’s. He can get to basket or get fouled, free throws. I think Fox should play the 5 guys that closed the game out together more (starters). This team only needs a coach! Post players don’t look to throw diagonal pass. Passes to open players always to late. Players are overthinking this bs offense. Run pick n roll, motion offense and u probably best under matched teams by 20

  4. Crump is not a PG. Just bc someone is better with the ball in their hands rather than playing off the ball doesn’t make them a point guard. Crump is a scoring guard and is a great off the bench spark. He can’t play D, he can’t ran the offense like Turtle, all be it their offensive sets are out of the 50s….they actually ran “flex” again tonight… The first offensive set probably ever invented. That being said you are right in that almost everyone seems to be playing “out of position” when the game has evolved everywhere else in the country into a positionless game. Let the guys play!! We have the talent, the length, the athletes. No b.s. if Fox just let them play street ball the first 3 games then this talent wins all 3 by 30.

  5. Ok John, Crump is a scoring guard. I can even agree if he comes of bench as well. Play the best players , regardless!

  6. Tyree is a combo guard and has more talent and ability than he is given credit for. Coach fox doesn’t know how to use his people and will not let them play exciting fun basketball. This team could be great but never will be in foxes offense. And I agree the last five on the floor should be the starting five

  7. SOS, the tradition continues of some of the worst and ‘offensive’ performances in the history of D1 or any other level of basketball. Too many scholies for players that are not contributors. They just plain suck. Edwards’ being the worst example. I’ll really be pissed if continue playing like they have so far.

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