Game Preview

Georgia Looks to Sweep Texas A&M at Reed Arena

Georgia and Texas A&M are experiencing the inconsistencies and frustrations involved with rebuilding a program.

This is Tom Crean’s third rebuilding project as a Division I Head Coach, it is Buzz Williams’ second.  In this rematch, both programs are in a state of understanding where they are and what they need to do to improve.  What stands out the most is that both teams are terrible shooting teams with a penchant for committing turnovers.  Both teams also are dreadful on the defensive glass and are equally above average on the season as offensive rebounding teams.  The teams are mirror images to an extent as far as metrics are concerned, but the major differences are pace of play and Georgia’s ability to score at the rim.  The records are the same (11-12), but the wins for Texas A&M came in conference play while Georgia did not get off to a slow start like the Aggies.

Remarkably Similar, But Georgia is More Efficient


Texas A&M is not a team that is strong at scoring inside the perimeter outside of Josh Nebo.  Georgia was able to use 1-2-2 Matchup Zone and extended 1-2-2 Zone to bog the Aggies down.  The objective when facing Texas A&M is to turn Texas A&M’s inefficient offense into secondary break opportunities.

The Adjusted Offensive Efficiencies of both teams are radically different despite having similar issues shooting and rebounding.  Georgia is being propped up by the dribble drive element of their offense.  Without the dribble drive, this offense has players not accustomed to creating mismatches in the post or setting each other up in such a position.  Georgia is a heavy cutting and driving team, which lends itself to efficiency inside the restricted arc.  Texas A&M does not have that sort of element in their offense.

No primary ball handlers, no distributors, and no shooters.  Just a player who can post up really well and a team that can get second chance opportunities.  How is this team different from Georgia’s 2018-19 Team (Year 0 under Tom Crean)?  Not much.

The commonalities are:

  • No distributors.
  • Poor ball movement.
  • Backcourt resistance to dribble driving.
  • Lead shot blocker (Nebo for Texas A&M, Claxton for 2018-19 Georgia)
  • High turnover rate.
  • Poor three point shooting.
  • Strong ability to get to the Free Throw Line.
  • Strong offensive rebounding teams.

Where things are different:

  • Style of play is not changed as radically with Texas A&M as compared to Georgia in 2018-19.
  • Texas A&M is forcing turnovers at a high rate, Georgia is still learning how to force turnovers.
  • Georgia had a core of Seniors and Juniors in Crean’s Year 0, Texas A&M has a much younger team.
  • Texas A&M has a team that has more of a Year 1 feel, Georgia was clearly in a Year 0 situation.
  • Georgia was using Nicolas Claxton as a Point Forward, Josh Nebo is strictly a low post threat.

Where this game hinges

Josh Nebo was held in check when these two teams faced off in Athens.  The strategy to play 1-2-2 Matchup Zone and fully front him when in man-to-man defense kept him at bay.  Will there be a similar approach here?  The approach should be to go under screens, pack the lane, deny post entry, and allow three point shots to be attempted.  Typically, this would not be a good idea, but Texas A&M is exceptionally bad from the perimeter and keeping them off the offensive glass would be able to set the team up for secondary break opportunities.

Texas A&M forces opponents shoot a lot of three point shots and Georgia needs to show the necessary maturity to not take those shots.  The objective should be attack and get Josh Nebo into foul trouble early.  However, merely preventing Texas A&M from being able to get to the Free Throw Line and restricted arc should be enough on the defensive end.  Challenging the passing lanes and clogging the middle of the court should be enough to keep the Dawgs out of the half court offensive blues.  Georgia is a much better team in secondary break than in the half court offense.

In fact, the Dawgs sport a 57.1% effective Field Goal rate in transition while they have a 47.5% effective Field Goal rate in the half court.  Slowing Georgia down and preventing them from getting into transition is the best way to beat this team.  Allow Georgia to run and your team will have a rough time.

Why was South Carolina able to have so much success against Georgia?

South Carolina is one of the best teams at denying transition shot attempts.  Opponents shoot 18.6% of their shots in transition against the Gamecocks (5th best in the country).  Georgia is a team that is highly reliant on transition shot opportunities, 30.2% of shots are in transition.  South Carolina contained the Dawgs and it was a blowout.  Texas A&M does a good job at stopping the transition game as well, they allow 20.4% of shots in transition (30th in the country).  However, Georgia was able to blow away the Aggies in Athens.  There is a massive difference between the way South Carolina stops transition and how Texas A&M does it, it is tougher for South Carolina to do it because they want to push pace and play more possessions.  The level of difficulty for South Carolina is far higher than Texas A&M, being a fast paced team that chokes out opponents is a much tougher task than being a slow paced team that does it.

What to Expect

Do you have a plot of land?  Find the cost of materials for building a house to be expensive?  Get some free bricks at Reed Arena!  They’ll throw them your way, no need to haul them.  So many bricks, you’ll have that house built in no time, if you know how to get started with the materials!  You’ll see so many bricks, you’ll swear that you were on the North Carolina State University campus.  Who wins in a game like this?  Not the people with eyesight, but maybe the people who take the Under on the game.

This is a game where Georgia’s ability to get the secondary break opportunities makes the difference.  Sahvir Wheeler, Anthony Edwards, and Mike Peake will make a big difference in this game.

  • Wheeler’s ability to distribute and make offensive plays before the Texas A&M defense is set up will play a role.
  • Anthony Edwards, the driver and rebounder, will cause problems for the Aggies.  He will be visiting the Free Throw Line and the restricted arc (on both ends) quite a bit in this one.
  • Mike Peake as an offensive and defensive rebounder should be a factor.  He will also be ready for opportunities at the rim from Wheeler when the defense pinches in or as an option in transition.

Texas A&M and Georgia are a bit of a mirror image, but Georgia’s ability to win the restricted arc is the difference here.  Both programs cannot wait for the offseason and Georgia gets the foreign tour, which will be very helpful to speeding along the rebuild with a talented group of incoming sophomores.

Prediction:  Georgia 57  Texas A&M 49

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