Texas A&M – Corpus Christi at Georgia Preview

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi comes to Stegeman Coliseum for a Sunday afternoon showdown.

Georgia takes on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to close a three game home stand.  This will be the final live game tune-up for a very important Wooden Legacy Tournament as getting to the Finals and likely facing Saint Mary’s is a major boost for the tournament resume.  Texas A&M-Corpus Christi presented a major challenge for the Georgia backcourt during the offseason and preseason, but Georgia will not be tested by Ehab Amin due to a knee injury, which will result in him sitting out the 2017-18 Season.

What are the Islanders missing in Amin?

One of the best defensive players in the country.  That’s what the Islanders lose.  It damages their defensive capabilities considerably.

3.4 steals per game from Amin and 6.6 rebounds per game from Point Guard.  This is a tough loss and if Amin fully recovers, he’ll graduate and he may become the hottest graduate transfer candidate in the country.

Amin has not shot well from three point range in non-conference action, but by the time conference action comes around… Amin is a MUCH BETTER shooter.

Losing Ehab Amin is a gut-punch for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  It is losing the man who mastered “The Art of the Steal”.

What now for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi?

Joe Kilgore, Kareem South and Myles Smith have held up the backcourt.  Defensively, this team has taken a major step back with Amin out.

This is not a strong three point shooting and defensively they have fallen off considerably.  However, when it comes to rebounding it is a team effort, everyone is involved on the glass.  Without Amin and without a clear Point Guard, offensive flow and assists are down.

With a loss at home to Texas-Rio Grande Valley (AKA Texas Pan-American), a loss at Baylor and barely knocking off Our Lady of the Lake 69-68 (an NAIA opponent), it is clear that this is a team in need of some positive momentum.

This is an undersized team compared to Georgia and it is a very young team without an important Senior.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi takes nearly the majority of their shots outside of the money zones and it may explain their offensive inefficiency.  This team struggles in the restricted arc (28th worst in the nation) and from three point range.  This is not a team that has much going for them on the offensive end.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s opponents have been fond of taking shots in the money zones, especially three point shots (51.2% of shots).  The threes are not falling for the opposition (27.1%), but they are succeeding in the restricted arc at 62.7%.  Opponents have been able to get into transition and shoot with ease, 28.3% of shots are taken in transition.  The transition defense is better than the half court defense, which is quite good.  The Islanders are allowing a 42.6% effective Field Goal percentage for opponents in transition.

The most alarming thing for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is the fact that they have allowed 31.5 Free Throw Attempts per game thus far.  Their issues with fouls will lead to games lost in the last eight minutes of games.

How will Georgia matchup with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi?

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is not going to challenge Georgia much on defense.  Without Ehab Amin, they are a toothless team that will rack up a high amount of fouls.  Georgia can run their usual three sets and likely get away with it.

Georgia’s opponents coming into the season did not have vaunted shooting figures and this should continue here and Georgia would be content to let another opponent go nuts shooting threes.  However, with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, they will shoot plenty of mid-range jumpers as well and this means a lack of optimization on offense.

This is a mismatch, Georgia can have their way with the Islanders on the glass and even do a better job forcing turnovers.

Advanced Stats for UGA

Georgia’s shot distribution is rather consistent with past seasons.  Taking more shots outside of the restricted arc and outside of the money zones.  Georgia’s perimeter shooting is going to go hot and cold, which depends upon shot selection and rhythm.

Georgia’s opponents have been content to keep chucking threes and hoping they fall.  They haven’t and that’s a good thing for Georgia as the shots have been too open for the taste of many, including Coach Mark Fox.

Georgia’s opponents have been afraid to score in the restricted arc this season (21.4% of shots taken there) and with the Georgia frontcourt being as long and talented as they are, it makes a lot of sense.

Georgia’s best rebounders thus far have been Yante Maten and Rayshaun Hammonds.  The assist leader is E’Torrion Wilridge and this may hold true for the rest of the season.  Wilridge sets up Maten very well in the low post, he puts the ball right in the place Maten needs it to make a move and score.

Yante Maten has been perfect at the Free Throw Line and has played like every bit the SEC Player of the Year that he is.

Turtle Jackson is the story of the backcourt thus far with his shooting exploits and if he can keep it up, this Georgia team will reap the benefits.

Nicolas Claxton’s shotblocking and rebounding capability have been a major bonus for this team.  Derek Ogbeide remains a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, but he needs a bigger game than the two he has had thus far.

The Georgia Backcourt are the poorest defenders per the Defensive Efficiency Rating.

What to Expect Today?

Mark Fox will be able to play as many scholarship players as he wants today.  Isaac Kante should see action and Yante Maten will likely not see action after the first media timeout of the second half.  Georgia is way too physical and long for this Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team.  The Islanders will not disrupt the Dawgs, but if they do it is just going to break the rhythm of taking shots in live action as there will plenty of Free Throws.  This is going to be a throwback for Mark Fox to his 2013-14 Team that went to the Free Throw Line a lot.  Do not be surprised to see Georgia attempt more than 35 Free Throws.

Can Georgia hit their Free Throws?  This team is struggling at Stegeman Coliseum from the Free Throw Line and being used to the way Stegeman Coliseum was prior to renovation may be messing with the team.

Given it is a Sunday Afternoon game, the teams may be a bit off to start the first few minutes and then Georgia will get going.  It is an important game to see how Mark Fox adjusts and prepares for much tougher tests ahead.  The Freshman contingent will get their opportunities and getting Nicolas Claxton’s confidence back up after a tough night against USC-Upstate will be important.

Expect secondary break opportunities off defensive rebounds and a greater emphasis on attacking the basket, which means Free Throws.  This will be a common theme of the day.

Prediction:  Georgia 76  Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 46