by John Chase
Who: (10) Georgia (21-11) vs. (7) UW (23-10)
Where: East Region, Charlotte N.C.
When: Friday, 6:45 PM PST
Washington will take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the now 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. I honestly do not know a whole lot about this team and all of my analysis is strictly statistical analysis. I’m hoping to peruse ESPN3 later today as well as Tuesday and Wednesday to find a few of their games so I can give some better analysis on their play style. UW also entered the top 25 in the final regular season poll at 23 and Arizona finished at 17.
Georgia went 21-11 in their regular season, 9-7 in the SEC. In Georgia’s last game they were somewhat surprisingly upset in Overtime by Alabama 65-59. Georgia had a 14 point lead erased in the final 7 minutes. Georgia also lost a very similar game to Alabama a few days early 65-57. In both games, Georgia’s bench only scored a combined 2 points.
Georgia is essentially made up of its starting 5 plus some minute grabbers that allow the starters to rest. Out of the 5 starters all play 23+ minutes and 4 play 31+ minutes. The Bulldogs have 3 bench players who play more than 10 minutes a game, but none contribute more than 4 points or rebounds per game.
All 5 starters score 8 or more points per outing, led by Trey Thompkins at 16.1. Thompkins also leads the team in rebounding, averaging 7.5 boards a game. Travis Leslie is the other extremely dangerous player for the Bulldogs. He is second in scoring and rebounding at 14.5 and 7.2 respectively. Leslie is a 6-4 guard while Thompkins is a 6-10 forward.
Georgia offers an interesting match up for the Huskies. Jeremy Price is a 6-8 270lb Forward. Thompkins weighs in at 245lb. This leads me to believe that we could see either Aziz N’Diaye or Darnell Gant in the starting 5 instead of Terrence Ross as without one of the bigger guys in there we would see some bad mismatches. As good as the smaller 5 are together, putting a 6-6 190lb player on either of those guys would mean a serious weight and height advantage for the Bulldogs. I expect Aziz N’Diaye to step in simply because he is bigger than Darnell and can body up on Price, leaving Matthew Bryan-Amaning to take the quicker, better Trey Thompkins.
The 3 starting guards for the Bulldogs measure in at 6-4, 6-1, and 5-11. UW matches up favorably with Georgia’s backcourt. Justin Holiday can shut down the smaller Travis Leslie, while C.J. Wilcox or Terrence Ross can work on the 6-1 Gerald Robinson, and Isaiah Thomas has the greatest advantage with 5-11 Dustin Ware. Robinson and Ware combine for 7.7 assists and 4.2 turnovers. Ware is the better of the pair in terms of point guard play with an A/T ratio of 3.2, while Robinson is posting a 1.4 A/T ratio.
Dustin Ware is a strong 3 point shooter, hitting 44% on the year with nearly 60 made shots. Ware also leads Georgia in free throw percentage at 82%. Robinson is second on the team in made 3’s at 29, good for 30% shooting on the year. Neither player should be considered 3 point shooters as their average 2 and 1 made three pointers a game respectively. None the less, UW cannot afford to be lazy on defense and allow Georgia to get open outside.
Starting Lineup Predictions
Dustin Ware 5-11 182lb G
Gerald Robinson 6-1 180lb G
Travis Leslie 6-4 205lb G
Jeremy Price 6-8 270lb F
Trey Thompkins 6-10 245lb F
Isaiah Thomas 5-9 185lb G
C.J. Wilcox 6-5 190lb G
Justin Holiday 6-6 185lb F
Matthew Bryan-Amaning 6-9 240lb F
Aziz N’Diaye 7-0 260lb C
Keys to the Game:
Avoid the Slow Start
The Huskies have had some slow start games that have forced them to have to fight back from double digit deficits and this hasn’t always worked out. As nice as it would be to start the strong shooting 5, Georgia’s size means we need to go bigger at the start as well. To make up for the slower offense, I.T. and Holiday need to get into the middle to collapse the defense and open the post and perimeters for open opportunities. Getting the ball inside to MBA and possibly forcing a few fouls on the Bulldog’s post players early could be huge in gaining a quick advantage.
Georgia has some strong rebounders on their teams. Their season average is only 2 or 3 below ours and their committee style rebounding is very similar to our own. UW will have its work cut out for them, but if they work hard and hustle they can win the battle of the glass. Creating more offensive opportunities by rebounding will greatly help our cause.
3 Point Shooting
This doesn’t need to be our focal point, we should not resort to this as our first option, but we have the talent and shooters to take advantage in the backcourt. If I.T. continues his hot streak from the championship game and 2 of our 3 shooting guards are feeling their shot, UW should feel pretty comfortable.
Free Throw Shooting
Got to make the free ones. UW could have avoid a lot of headache and stress if they had made their damn free throws. Georgia is not a great free throw shooting team at 70%, but they have 2 80+% shooters who can drain from the charity stripe. Avoid putting them on the line and make our own shots.
Hustle and Drive
Keep the momentum from the tournament going. Georgia has been very up and down as of late, losing one, winning one, etc. UW worked extremely hard against Arizona to get the loose balls and made tons of hustle plays. They were tougher and it payed off in the end.
Georgia should be an interesting match up. UW has the bench to take them apart. The Bulldogs have the frontcourt to do some damage. Our backcourt is clearly stronger. UW can ill afford to overlook Georgia. Still, they should not be too terrible of a team to play. UW has a ton of tournament experience to build off of and the right players are peaking when we need them.
Final Score: UW-78 UGA-72