Oakland Wins 86-79 and Storms the Court

Oakland beat UGA 86-79 and students proceeded to storm the court at the O’Rena.

Georgia apparently is “court storming” worthy at mid-major programs and both teams gave these students a reason to storm the court and wave the Oakland University Flag.  Mark Fox could claim that in Year 8 that Georgia’s Basketball program was never worthy of a court storming and he would probably be right if he was talking about the past twenty years.  Was this team worthy of storming the court?  Not really, but this is a big deal for Oakland.  Oakland played two brutal games in a row and then had a day off to rest and face Georgia at home.  This was Oakland’s Hanukkah Miracle after all they were completely burned out as far as stamina and depth, but yet found a way to take down a deeper, more rested and talented program from the SEC in Georgia.  Greg Kampe is Judah Maccabee.

Today and of course tonight is Festivus.  In the spirit of Festivus, here’s an Airing of the Grievances.

“I Gotta A Lot Of Problems With You People, Now, You’re Gonna Hear About It!”

You!  Mark Fox

Mark Fox’s commitment to man-to-man defense took Georgia from having their biggest lead of 13 to falling behind by as much as 10 in the second half.  Georgia was in control for much of the first half, but there were issues with the Georgia man-to-man defense that became very evident to Greg Kampe toward the end of the first half.  Oakland was able to chip away at Georgia’s lead and make the game competitive.

What were these issues?  

1. Georgia would focus so much on dropping back that Oakland would try to beat them down the floor before the defense got into position.  This would happen off both UGA makes and misses, which is rather awful.

2. Georgia’s man-to-man defense had trouble with switching and defending the shot fake.  Oakland fell in love with shooting jump shots early, Georgia mixed up the defenses a little bit, but eventually Oakland would face the man-to-man exclusively.  Kampe let Georgia switch and created horrible mismatches on the perimeter, but he really did not have to do it as Georgia was willing to give Oakland space to destroy Georgia’s defensive teeth.  Literally.  Oakland was able to dribble drive with ease and it resulted in a Georgia foul or a made basket.

3. Georgia was unfortunately relying upon shot blocks rather than denying opportunities to penetrate into the paint.  Eventually, Georgia would overcompensate defensively and it would set up very easy jump shots from three point range that were taken in rhythm.

4.  Georgia was rebounding with weakness.  The team was handling the ball poorly all game, but it was a struggle to just catch a ball in the air or off a bounce.  Securing the ball was oddly difficult for this team and it was a sign of a team with poor composure.

Then the second half came along and Oakland would go on a 26-6 run to start.  It was more of the same from the Georgia Defense and eventually Georgia would go 2-3 Matchup Zone down 58-51.  Georgia’s man-to-man defense was exposed and then this team would show how little chemistry they had in the 2-3 Matchup Zone and their defensive integrity was abysmal.  Defenders looked lost and communication was non-existent.  This defense was so conscious of the dribble drive and fearful of it that they cheated and flooded their defense toward one side of the floor leaving Martez Walker wide open for a three point shot opportunity on the other wing.

When Georgia was able to correct their defensive issues with the zone, the defense improved, but the offense was still a lingering problem.  Georgia was hot in the first half from long range, which is of course a sign that it is fool’s gold.  J.J. Frazier was hot in the first half as he was initiating the action and once the Oakland defense decided to bottle him up, he had no help out there.  J.J. Frazier was alone on an island while Houston Kessler would stand there on the three point line unsure as to what he should do while Frazier was doing his best Curly Neal impression.

Hero Ball struck again and Mark Fox was apparently fine with it.  No ball movement or movement without the ball, the team just stagnated on offense.  It was often J.J. Frazier and the Pips with Yante Maten in foul trouble.  This team should not play like this, but they did.  If it was not for Derek Ogbeide, UGA does not make a credible comeback.

The Halfcourt Flowchart Offense with J.J. Frazier Hero Ball Infusion is Flawed

The offensive sets are predictable and easy to short-circuit.  In fact, the perimeter passes are so predictable that opponents should be jumping passing lanes as the option to cut is evidently not there.  Want to know what the Georgia offensive sets boil down to?  Here it is.  Read it and vomit.

  • The offense looks stilted and awkward because it is tough to remember all of the options.
  • Derek Ogbeide is handling the ball on the perimeter in that weird soccer throw-in stance while he waits for the pre-assigned person to receive the ball is to receive an awkward pass.
  • Yante Maten low post feed receipts are contrived and forced.  Poor Yante, he needs to be moved around more just to shake defenders loose.
  • J.J. Frazier is the only one with the freedom to do something that is unscripted out there.  The problem is that it becomes like watching a Youth League team where the coach’s son is the Point Guard.
  • Mike Edwards is too often a sitting duck for a pass that he does not see coming, but his hands are also not reliable, which is sort of surprising.
  • Houston Kessler is not going to take that shot at the top of the key, but opponents wish he did.
  • The lag pass is predictable and easy to jump.

It’s the same old awful offense as last season.  Georgia committed 19 turnovers tonight.  This is supposed to be a team that had great chemistry, was experienced and was Mark Fox’s most talented team.  Summer Basketball in Spain, preseason practice, offseason development, an exhibition game, a secret scrimmage against Xavier and eleven games (one that does not count) have not helped this team gel whatsoever.  It is still a team that does not know how to play with each other.

This is a team that will take a long two point jump shot in a 4-on-3 situation and colossally mess up a 3-on-1 fast break.

This is Year 8 in the 12 Year Plan.  Completing Alcoholics Anonymous requires the completion of 12 Steps!

What is Step Eight in Alcoholics Anonymous?

Step #8:  Make a list of persons one had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

Well, Mark Fox has a lot of apologizing to do and the first apology should be to Jamir Moultrie and his family.  So does Greg McGarity, but that’s another matter as he has ushered an era of corruption and incompetence into the University of Georgia Athletic Association.

How did the stat sheet look?

Regret wanting to see this?  Fun fact:  Derek Ogbeide led the team with three assists at the Half!  In retrospect, that’s not really all that fun.  Tyree Crump, Pape Diatta and E’Torrion Wilridge were hardly used tonight.  In fact, they probably wish they were spending time with their families for Festivus and Christmas rather than watching a slow-motion train wreck.

Mike Edwards and Yante Maten had a pretty awful homecoming in front of a supportive crowd.  UGA is not known for supporting Men’s Basketball, but Maten and Edwards’ family and friends really came out in force.  Large UGA contingent in red at the O’Rena, unfortunately they would watch one of the darkest nights of the Mark Fox era.  Edwards and Maten played really well against Oakland in Athens and it was sad to watch them have such a tough night.

Georgia barely won the glass, but Oakland was able to outscore the Dawgs when it came to second chance points and that combined with their margin of points off turnovers was the difference in this game.  Although the real difference was that one coach adjusted at Halftime while the other was content with what he had seen.

Does Mark Fox have to reconsider how he allocates minutes?  This stat sheet makes a case.  Take a wild guess what case it makes.

The Feats of Strength or Weakness

Examining both sides of the Georgia Basketball coin here with the sycophant and bowl of sadness that is the person with Bruce Pearl Derangement Syndrome.

Who has Georgia beat in the non-conference schedule?

Sycophant/Useful Idiot:  “Georgia Tech!  They’re good, they are in the ACC.  And Georgia faced them and crushed them with their defense.  Georgia played Kansas, Marquette and Clemson – that’s really, really good!  Oh and George Washington, Fran Fraschilla said nice things about them!”

The Bruce Pearl Irrationalists:  “Bruce Pearl is eating our lunch and he beat powerhouses Oklahoma and UConn!  OMG!  OMG!  He has a Five Star guy on his team!  Can’t control Bruce Pearl envy!  Ahhhhhh!  Fire Fox!”

Who is on the SEC schedule that will make the NCAA Tournament?

Sycophant/Useful Idiot: “Everyone, they are all good.  S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”

The Bruce Pearl Irrationalists:  “Auburn!  Alabama!  Mississippi State!  Arkansas!  South Carolina!  Florida!  Kentucky!  Even Tennessee!  Ahhhhhhh!!!!  The sky is falling!  Oh my God, we’re having a Fire!  Fox!  Oh, the burning, it burns me! Evacuate all of the school children! This isn’t a fever! Ama … I can’t even see where the knob is … zing grace!”

Characterize Year 8 thus far…

Sycophant/Useful Idiot:  “We’re still fighting!  You don’t like the way things are, you can go root for another team.  Georgia Southern would love to have you cheer for them.  Georgia will be in the NCAA Tournament with seven or more schools, the SEC is just that good!”

The Bruce Pearl Irrationalists:  “Auburn is going to be a #2 seed!  Ahhhhhhhh!!!! What are we going to do?!?  Have you looked at Alabama!  Oh no! Oh no!  We’re still making the NIT.  Fire Fox.”

What’s the goal this season?

Sycophant/Useful Idiot:  “It’s about just moving this program forward, you don’t realize how bad this program was seven years ago.  This was going to take a dozen years to fix this and then Georgia is back!  Georgia recruits clean and does not get involved with those slimy, dirty people in Atlanta.”

The Bruce Pearl Irrationalist:  “Fire Mark Fox and hire Jeff Capel!”

 

This has been very productive.

And now a rational comment…

It is Year 8 at the University of Georgia for Mark Fox, it is 100% reasonable to come into this season with the expectations of finally breaking that two decade long ceiling that was imposed upon UGA by The Powers That Be.  If Mark Fox cannot show that he can crack the glass and make it to the Round of 32, UGA needs to move on and the decision cannot be made by Greg McGarity.

Fox should have the full regular season to turn this ship around.  If it is clear that it would take a 2008 SEC Tournament sort of scenario to reach the preseason goals, it is time to move on.  It would be best in this scenario for Fox to move on under his own accord and the University of Georgia can find a coach who is willing to establish a basketball culture that rebels against the traditions and forces that hold it back so much.

The SEC is down and continues to carry such a negative perception for good reason.  Yes, the SEC scheduled tougher, but winning games is the goal and the conference is not doing it as well as other conferences.  The SEC has better funded athletic programs than the Atlantic 10, Southern Conference and Mountain West Conference, but King Football is the ceiling on every program but Kentucky in this SEC Pride era.  The SEC will not carry the respect that many feel it deserves in March and this conference will eat each other alive.  This is a conference that can be best described as mediocre by design.  It’s not a bug, it’s a feature and no program exemplifies this more than the University of Georgia.

Oakland stormed the court and raised their flag.

There is much missing with this Men’s Basketball Program.  Swagger, confidence, empowerment, gamesmanship, logical thinking and perhaps most disturbing of all… seriousness.  Mark Fox has a lot of work to do, but a good number of the issues he brought upon himself and he has to fix it.  Now.

3 comments

  1. I am burnt out on Mark Fox and his coaching. The SEC is there to establish UGA in the top 4 of the SEC but Fox cannot seem to do it. UGA has to go at least 9-9 in the upcoming SEC schedule and win a game or two just .to make the NIT this year. It would take a miracle to make the NCAA.. It is the same ole broken record but I don’t trust our AD Greg McGarity to make any meaningful changes to the HC coaching position and if he did, it might be worse than Fox. I just feel like UGA is between the “Rock and the Hard Place”. Not a happy fan following UGA basketball. I have come to expect the NIT most every year and the NCAA once in a while. A win in the NCAA might be every 20 years if we are lucky the way we are going. If this was the football program, Fox would have been gone long ago but we know the fan apathy and administration support behind that. Fox has it made with his salary and no pressure to make NCAA must less win a NCAA game. We are a Mid Major program playing in a weak Major conference. Oh well, we have next year to look forward to that I have been doing for some 55 years. 1983 was a dream.

    1. When things are having problems, is there a difference between negativity and honesty? Sometimes pointing out where someone can improve is just being honest, and not some evil intention. We make mistakes, we either live with them and attempt to correct them, or continue to be delusional sorry asses.

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