Game Preview

The Citadel at Georgia Preview for 11/12/2019

The Citadel visits Athens in a game that will remind everyone of last season’s opening game.

Duggar Baucom’s Bulldogs of The Citadel visit Stegeman Coliseum for a game that will remind the UGA staff of Savannah State.  Georgia enjoyed the ability to play an unstifled fast pace against Western Carolina and they will be encouraged to play extremely fast against The Citadel.  The Citadel had an extremely strong three point shooting outing against UNC-Asheville, but still lost due to poor defense and an inability to prevent turnovers.  This is a game that promises to be entertaining and is projected to be a blowout.  Georgia is expected to win big, but questions and issues linger that are not touched by click-baiting media.

But first…

Let’s Meet The Citadel Bulldogs of Charleston, South Carolina.

The Citadel is 0-1 this season coming off a 12-18 season in which the Bulldogs were 4-14 in the Southern Conference.  Last season, The Citadel was #2 in the country in Adjusted Tempo according to KenPom Metrics.  The expectation is that The Citadel should play at the same pace.

Against UNC-Asheville, The Citadel played a little uncharacteristically on the offensive end by being more restrained with their three point shooting.  Since arriving at The Citadel in 2015, Duggar Baucom’s team has always been in the top five in the country in 3 point shot distribution.  A 29.4% three point shot distribution rate against UNC-Asheville was quite low, but they were 9/15 from three point range that night.  The three point shooting and the high turnover rate they forced were the only positives to come out of their opening night game.

Who to Watch

Fletcher Abee – 6’3 Freshman Guard

Abee has been primarily a three point shooter.  He went 5/6 from three point range against UNC-Asheville and earned himself a high minute load for his ability to stretch the floor.  Can he do much else?

Kaiden Rice – 6’6″ Junior Small Forward

Rice is the leading returning scorer and last season he did it as a contributor off the bench.  Rice was a 36% three point shooter last season and he has a high offensive efficiency, but his defense is atrocious much like the rest of his teammates.  He is a high volume three point shooter although he was a non-factor against UNC-Asheville.  Rice has a strong ability to finish at the rim off the dribble drive and he is no threat to shoot a mid-range shot.

Eddie Davis – 6’7″ Senior Post

Eddie Davis is a slightly slimmer version of Carlos Dotson weighing in at 250 pounds, he’s undersized, but he is a good rebounder.  At 6’7″ 250 pounds and in a role of an undersized post, one would think that he lacks range or even a shooting touch.  However, this would be a wrong assumption.  Davis averages around one three point attempt per game and he can knock them down at approximately 35% and he’s a decent Free Throw shooter.  He should be a 75-80% Free Throw shooter this season, he just does not do a good enough job drawing fouls and getting himself to the Free Throw Line.  Davis has moved around quite a bit going from Southern Mississippi to Hartford to The Citadel.

Tyson Batiste – 6’3″ Senior Point Guard

Batiste is expected to be the lead distributor for The Citadel.  Batiste is the better distributor for this hectic, fast-paced team.  Batiste is a graduate transfer from Central Connecticut State and he was looking for more of an opportunity to be a lead guard and he is going to get that opportunity to prove himself at The Citadel.  Batiste has never been much of a scorer, but it is possible that his role may change.  He had 11 points against UNC-Asheville and this could be a shift in direction.  Batiste is very prone to turnovers with a turnover rate of 28.6% last season and this season he committed 4 turnovers against UNC-Asheville.

Hayden Brown – 6’6″ Junior Small Forward

Hayden Brown is not a strong shooter or scorer.  Brown’s strengths are simply offensive rebounding and getting steals.  Brown creates extra possessions and extends possessions. He must be stopped, he’s an X-Factor of a player.  He had a 2.9% steals rate and a 10% offensive rebounding rate last season.

Lingering Questions and Issues for Georgia

Are Jaykwon Walton and Mike Peake redshirting?

Jaykwon Walton and Mike Peake did not play in the game against Western Carolina.  Now that Jordan Harris is suspended until December 20, 2019, there is a possibility that Jaykwon Walton may be reconsidered for playing time this season. Walton and Peake played sparingly in both exhibition games and combined with not playing at all against Western Carolina on a night when fouls were given out like candy on Halloween, the possibility of Tom Crean redshirting them appears more likely.

Georgia’s scholarship distribution is extremely uneven and with the massive turnover comes shifts to ensure even scholarship distributions so that teams are not too young later in a tenure.

More answers will come to this question as the season moves along and possible depth issues come up due to injury or illness (especially with flu season).

Georgia is presently 10 deep and given the pace and aggression that the team plays, it should not go lower because it is a LONG season.  It would be a massive mistake to listen to the Jeff Dantzlers of the world on this matter.  Depth is a good thing with the gauntlet of a schedule that Georgia will face.

Will Amanze Ngumezi put it all together?

Amanze Ngumezi is enigmatic.  He has a versatile game on the offensive end, but he has struggled defensively and his propensity to foul is an issue.  Ngumezi is an important part of this Georgia team, he will be needed against talented posts like James Banks, Romello White, Austin Wiley, Kerry Blackshear, and Josh Nebo.  Ngumezi has to show that he can play extended minutes and not put more pressure than necessary on the green Rodney Howard.

What type of defensive mix can be expected?

When is the Georgia 1-2-2 Matchup Zone going to be used more extensively?  Foul trouble has been an issue for Tom Crean’s Bulldogs in the first three games played and he has leaned on man-to-man defense for much of these games.  Georgia’s high number of off-ball offensive fouls committed put a lot of pressure on a man-to-man defense to not foul.

The help defense in the man-to-man defense has been inadequate and while the ball pressure is there on the perimeter, this is a team that struggles once the action is inside the perimeter or rotates to the wings.

The differences between man and zone with rebounding may end up being negligible with this team considering that they have struggled on the defensive glass.

Unselfishness is a virtue, but can the passing improve?

It boils down to these things that this team is doing far too often and it is stifling a very potent offense.

  1. Passes that are too fancy in transition that have lower chances of being caught.  They are either alley-oop attempts or ambitiously overpassing a breaking player when there’s already an opportunity to take it to the rim with a potential rebounder nearby.
  2. Passes that are not being caught on the back door cuts.  A dribble drive with a baseline back door cut as an option has been a common occurrence in Tom Crean’s offense.  However, what happens too often is that the pass comes in too hot or is just plain not handled well for the cutter to turn it into two points or two shots at the Free Throw Line.
  3. Passes that stem from unfamiliarity and surprise.  Sahvir Wheeler and Rodney Howard most notably have this dynamic.  Rodney Howard is not used to getting passes that free him up and come out of a dribble-drive option.  Wheeler surprises Howard every time with the pass as Howard is not exactly used to playing with dynamic Point Guards.  The surprise leads to a mishandled ball and a turnover.  Howard is not the only one with this issue when in the post, but he is the most notable.
  4. Passes that do not mimic perimeter shots attempted in practice.  On the college level, creating and making your own shot is rare as the quality of players are not on the level of professional athletes.   The objective when setting up three point shooters is to give them a pass that most simulates what they receive when practicing.  Tyree Crump may be the best example as he has the weakest filter for his shot selection and the pass he receives is often the tell-tale sign of whether he will make the shot.

Prediction

Georgia will win this game in a blowout.  The Citadel is a team that has far too many flaws and will allow Georgia to run up-and-down the floor with ease.  Georgia will not necessarily grow from this or have any sort of adversity, but maybe some more answers as to what this team is will come.

Score Prediction:  Georgia 104 The Citadel 77

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