The Mocs spent a week out West, going 1-3, with a very narrow loss to Nevada, a bad loss to UCLA, a comfortable loss to Morehead State and a comfortable win over IUPUI. Now the Mocs have the problem of travelling back East and dealing with all the time change all over again, this time taking on an SEC team on the road before they get eight days off without playing anyone, and thirteen days off without playing any D1 squad.
Georgia has gone 2-1 against SoCon schools so far, losing to Wofford and Appalachian State, while losing to Davidson. They'll have one more game against a SoCon team, with a battle against Western Carolina on December 21 still to come. Can the Mocs even up the Dawgs record against SoCon schools, or will Georgia lock up a winning record against the SoCon?
The Mocs defense will need to play more like they did against IUPUI and less like they did against Morehead State. Georgia has not been making a lot of threes. They are shooting 28.6% from three point range on the year. They are ranked 303rd in the country in that category. The Mocs have done a good job preventing opponents making threes this year, even though opponents are shooting a good percentage. They just don't take many.
Of course, the Mocs opponents haven't shot too many threes because they haven't needed to. They have been knocking down a ton of twos, and Georgia is making 53% of their two point shots on the year. The Dawgs are not huge on the front line, going 6-8, 6-8, 6-9 on the front line. Nemanja Djuristic, Marcus Thornton and Donte Williams are the three on the front line, averaging 4.0, 3.5 and 6.7 rebounds respectively. That's not huge numbers, but they are decent. Djuristic is also averaging 11.2 points per game, and the others aren't averaging over 6.5 points per contest. Djuristic has mde the most threes on the team, with eight, double what anyone else has made.
Charles Mann is the team's leader in assists, averaging 3.0 per game, but has committed more turnovers per game at 3.5. Mann is 6-5 and 210 pounds. He is a very diffiult match-up for the Mocs. Mann is averaging 16.3 points per game. He is shooting 51.8% from the floor. How the Mocs match-up with Mann could be the key to this game. Kenny Gaines is averaging 13.0 points per contest.
Georgia is a middle of the road rebounding team. They have not been forcing turnovers. This could be good for the Mocs. They have been committing turnovers too much out on the West Coast. Facing the Dawgs, maybe they'll be able to avoid the turnover bug that has been plaguing them. The Mocs offense has been efficient when they have not been committing turnovers. That's because Z Mason is so good inside the paint and has developed a dangerous outside shot (even if he's a little inconsistent). Gee McGhee is always good at driving the paint and Greg Pryor is pretty good at that, too. Casey Jones showed more offensive moves out in Vegas, and started looking better. Lance Stokes even added offense to his defensive skills in the game against IUPUI.
This is an interesting match-up for the Mocs. They are, as usual, outsized. But if the Mocs can overcome, who knows what happens?
The Mocs are in an OK position here. Can their pressure defense force Mann into some turnovers, or will he burn them driving in the paint? Can the Mocs interior hold up on the glass? This is an interesting match-up in a lot of ways. I am not convinced that this team is as good as Morehead State. The Mocs hung around with Morehead State for the first half. If they can keep Georgia from shooting 72% for a game and 82% in a half, then maybe they can hang around for a full game and see what happens at the end. The Mocs should be playing with their most confidence of the year. I think Georgia is too much in Athens, but don't be surprised if the Mocs make this closer than many people think they will. Bulldogs 86, Mocs 74.