Game Preview: Georgia State

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by: John Chase

I’ll be doing all three team previews for this week’s games by Friday. My friends and I in the Dawg Pack have a lot of work to do getting all our materials prepped that will be fairly time consuming and I’m already going to be writing three review articles, too. I’ll try to throw some mentions of how the teams have done in their other games in the tournament.

It appears that Aziz N’Diaye has been cleared to play by doctors and should participate in the tournament this weekend. He will likely return as a starter in place of Desmond Simmons.

We could also see him replace Darnell Gant in the starting five. Simmons and Gant strike me as similar players, but Simmons is a better banger in the post and is a stronger rebounder, both things this team needs. Simmons showed a nice baseline shot in the exhibition game, a signature shot for Gant. On to Georgia State.

The Run Down:

Georgia State is coming off a 12-19 season in the Colonial Athletic Association, 6-12 in conference. Last season they lost 68-62 to a McNeese State team UW beat 118-64. While the associative property does not directly apply to basketball, especially across seasons, it is a good indicator of how differently talented the two teams are. Overall Georgia State could be slightly better than last season.

They sport six seniors and a junior on their roster as well as returning 4 of their starters from last year. The best word to describe Georgia State is “Inconsistent.” Several players have shown the ability to score in double digits and add on another 6+ rebounds. They have also shown that they can be held scoreless.

This resulted in GSU placing last in their conference in several important categories, namely turnover percentage per game (21% of possessions, 14 per game) and points per possession (.93). These two things combined to make the Panthers a low scoring offense that also posted the second lowest free throw percentage in the nation at just over 59%.

The Panthers are a smaller team with only two players above 6-7 (6-9 and 6-10). Their star point guard, Devonta White, stands at 5-10 and will likely have troubles matching up against Abdul and Wroten as he gives up 5+ inches and 30+ pounds.

Erik Buckner, 6-7 203lb, is their go-to guy. He led GSU last season with 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Buckner can shoot the lights out at times as shown by a streak last season of 4 games where he went 33-39 from the field. I suspect Darnell Gant and Desmond Simmons will draw the defensive assignment.

Jihad Ali returns as a streaky, but deadly three point shooter. Without their two three point shooters from last season, GSU will need Ali to step his game up and find some consistency behind the arc. At 6-5 and 200lb he can also drive the lane and find some success. Last season he was forced to play the 1 and 2 spot, whereas his skill set is a better fit at the 3. I suspect C.J. Wilcox could draw this assignment if he remains in the starting 5 after blocking several shots in the exhibition opener.

Josh Micheaux is a big bodied 3/4 at 6-5 and 222lb. He is a solid rebounder and shot blocker with some scoring ability near the hoop. His free throw talents rival that of Aziz N’Diaye, meaning he lacks a consistent shot (53.9% on 48-89 shooting). UW will need to post someone bigger on Micheaux to limit the effects of his weight and strength.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups:

Georgia State:

G – Devonta White 5-10 158lb
G – Josh Micheaux 6-5 222lb
G – Jihad Ali 6-5 200lb
F – Erik Buckner 6-7 203lb
F – James Vincent 6-10 267lb

Washington:

G – Abdul Gaddy 6-3 185lb
G – C.J. Wilcox 6-5 185lb
F – Terrence Ross 6-6 195lb
F – Darnell Gant 6-8 230lb
C – Aziz N’Diaye 7-0 260lb

Keys to the Game:

  • Rebounding – UW had the narrow lead over SPU last game and needs to improve on boxing out their men and getting to the glass. Don’t be surprised if Tony Wroten or Terrence Ross lead the team in rebounds in several games this season. They attack the glass well on defense and do a fantastic job of preventing their man from picking up the offensive board. I fully expect N’Diaye to lead us in offensive boards as his size and strength is immeasurably useful. If UW can control the offensive glass for second opportunities and take over on the defensive end to limit GSU’s possessions, the Dawgs will seize the game early on.
  • Backcourt Defense – GSU is extremely turnover prone and Washington is known for their guard defense. If we can keep fresh legs on the court and continually harass their point guards, UW will be able to get out in transition where they excel and hopefully pull off a few more fancy plays.
  • Limit Turnovers – Washington did a fairly good job of controlling the ball against SPU. Wroten had some silly turnovers due to too fast of a pace being played, but that is something that comes along with having zero fear and also results in fantastic plays such as the no look to Martin Breunig in the post.

Final Score Prediction: 

The Dawgs have too much size and talent for GSU to compete. Their inconsistent offense should struggle against UW’s defense and I predict a minimum of 15 turnovers and 7 blocks.

Wilcox and Ross should find a lot of success once more as they have the ability to elevate over their defenders. Gaddy would do himself and the team a ton of good by taking his smaller defender to the rack for strong finishes and easy points. Gaddy showed the ability to hit the lane hard several times against SPU.

I think N’Diaye can have a field day as well. Their big man is a slower player who can be beat if N’Diaye can throw in the occasional post move. Expect another exciting game for UW and other SportCenter Top 10 player from at least one of our guys.

UW-88 GSU-56