Georgia hosts Delaware State in a cupcake game that will probably end up tougher than expected.
Georgia has played four games and in all four games, Georgia has needed a late run to put them into the winner’s circle. Why should a game against the team projected to be the second-worst team in the country prove any different? Georgia was not pulling away late against Division I teams that were contenders in their respective conferences, these were teams that were coming off terrible seasons and were projected to be also-rans. It is a tough truth, but it has to be said. For all the hype, this is a Georgia team trying to find its way and it does not condemn the team to a Wednesday Night outing in Nashville when it comes to the SEC Tournament, it is just that the base has to recognize what the coaching staff does – this is a team that has to mature and improve.
Let’s meet the Delaware State Hornets
Delaware State is in their second year of the Eric Skeeters era and they hope to improve upon a 6-25 record. Skeeters was an assistant for Ryan Odom’s UMBC team that upset #1 seed Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tournament and he was also an assistant for a few familiar names.
- Paul Hewitt – George Mason (former Georgia Tech Head Coach)
- Seth Greenberg – Virginia Tech (current ESPN talking head)
- Stan Heath – South Florida (former Arkansas Head Coach)
Skeeters was certainly not a slouch hire for Delaware State, but he has a massive rebuild to do in Dover at a school that does not receive much support and in a conference (MEAC) where there is clearly limited opportunity.
Much like The Citadel and Western Carolina, Delaware State is going to run up and down the floor. They will play a very fast pace and that means Georgia will have to do better defending off both missed shots and made shots. Skeeters’ team will likely dribble drive frequently on the offensive end and they do not do anything particularly special when it comes to their ball movement. They have not been effective at getting shots at the rim thus far.
On defense, Delaware State will use some full court pressure and have a defensive footprint that is consistent with a team that plays zone defense.
Delaware State plays fast, but they do not play particularly deep (7 deep) and against a team like Georgia, this will be a massive issue. Georgia has used their depth to wear down opponents and pull away this season.
The other ways that Delaware State plays into Georgia’s hands are their turnover rate and offensive rebounding. Thus far, Delaware State has a 23.4% turnover rate and a particularly dismal 16% offensive rebounding rate. Odds are Delaware State will play 4 or 5 out against Georgia and hope that Georgia does not adjust well enough to it.
Who to Watch
John Crosby – 6’2″ Point Guard
Crosby does basically everything for this team. He has a high usage rate indicating that he is VERY INVOLVED on both ends of the floor. Crosby is transfer from Dayton and it is a bit of a preview of the type of players that Anthony Grant will put on the floor against Georgia in Maui. He has thus far had a 31.6% usage rate, but his offensive efficiency is very poor (75.1) and he has a career offensive efficiency of 84. Crosby is very involved, but he is detrimental to his team more often than not.
John Stansbury – 6’3″ Point Guard
Stansbury is a native of New Castle, Delaware (one of two Delaware natives on the roster) and he has thus far been a relative bright spot. Among the regular rotation of seven, he has the best Box Score +/- , but that does not say much. Stansbury’s first two games in Division I have given him the opportunity to show that he can also do it all. His ability to get to the Free Throw Line and hit his shots, show his range, and finish at the rim make him a tough matchup. Stansbury may be the player that challenges Georgia the most.
Ameer Bennett – 6’8″ Combo Forward
Bennett can score at the rim and he can shoot from the perimeter, he’s not much of a rebounding threat. Bennett is strong at drawing fouls and getting himself to the Free Throw Line. He turns it over a bit and he fouls a lot, which means that he could be knocked out of the first half early with foul trouble.
Lance Singh III – 6’5″ Shooting Guard
Singh may be from the Poconos, but no heart-shaped tubs will be built for him in Dover if he cannot knock down more three point shots. Singh is a volume three point shooter, 15 of his 18 shots from the field were three point shots. While Crosby half of the time would shoot a three point shot off the dribble, Singh does a bit more catch-and-shoot.
The Stories to Follow for Georgia
Can Georgia get out in front and build distance?
Georgia has allowed opponents to get back into the game during the middle portion of the game only to storm back in the final five minutes against a foul-weary and worn opponent. Delaware State lacks depth and is weak in the aspects of the game that would typically cause Tom Crean’s Dawgs trouble. Can Georgia get out in front in this game, lead from end-to-end, and keep the foot on the gas throughout?
Will Mike Peake play?
Jaykwon Walton is not redshirting and he actually had playing time against The Citadel. Walton may receive more minutes in this game depending upon how the game progresses and if Walton makes smart decisions.
Can Toumani Camara and Christian Brown build confidence?
Camara and Brown had a tough start to their seasons, but there is time to grow and improve. If Georgia has to play small, they may be needed and Delaware State is going to play small and fast. Camara has shown he can block shots and be disruptive on the defensive end, but he is clearly negatively impacted by his struggles with shooting. It is tough to define Camara on both ends of the floor and he is still trying to figure out how he fits with his teammates.
Brown is struggling on both ends of the floor. His turnover rate is 46.5% and even though he is a strong offensive rebounder, he’s not able to finish like he is capable and his shooting has also been disappointing.
Picking up Brown and Camara’s confidence is important and Delaware State is the type of opponent that could help them.
Better Passes, Better Shots
An 18:8 Assist to Turnover ratio is wonderful, but it does not tell a story especially on a night when Anthony Edwards and Tyree Crump go 4/20 from three point range. One can simply say, it was a bad shooting night, but the shots taken were poor and this would be typically lazy analysis. Tom Crean bemoaned the lack of inside-out passes to set up shooters in his post-game and positioned it as a collective failure to shoot better from three point range as The Citadel’s defense was very docile. The set up for the shot is just as important as the shot itself, but when your mentality is to take the shot and not consider the quality of the setup and how it replicates practice conditions, it should not be terribly surprising to have a poor shooting performance.
Watch for how the shots are being set up, where the shots are being taken, and whether the team makes an active effort to improve how they set up their teammates on the perimeter.
Prediction: Georgia 85 Delaware State 72