Saturday, March 10, 2012

Profiles in Hope: UGA Hoops 2012-2013

I want to share a statistic that I found surprising. Over the past 10 SEC games, Mark Fox's team is 5-5. Given the 1-7 start to the year, that's significant improvement. Was the team slow to start putting it together? Certainly, but they did find their legs later in the year.

The Dawgs had several solid RPI wins including:
  • Florida (H) - RPI 26
  • Notre Dame (N) - RPI 38
  • Miss State (A) - RPI 74
  • Miss State (N) - RPI 74
  • Tennessee (H) - RPI 85
  • S. Dakota St (H) - RPI 50 (although I feel dirty listing this one)
The reason the Dawgs won't be playing in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 tourney would be the debacles against South Carolina and Auburn. Some of that was a function of youth inside and some of it was a function of depth. The other reason would be the five games in which they scored less than 50 points.

The roster will be more athletic next year with the addition of Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris. The interior will be stronger with the maturing of Donte Williams and Nemi. Florevous also has the physical capabilities to make a significant year over year jump as Donte did this year. That's the good news.

Will it be enough to make the NCAA Tourney? Not unless Tony Parker wants to hug his mother very, very badly. As Coach Fox told him, "You can't hug your mother through a phone."'s hoping for hugs.

I do see rays of hope / opportunities for improvement next year due to the way the roster improved during the year. The challenge for Fox...the team could improve considerably next year than the record without the record reflecting it. The team faces the following schedule:
    2 additional SEC games (Missouri and Texas A&M)
    2 games against Indiana, UCLA or G'town in Brooklyn
    1 Big East team on the road (SEC/Big East Challenge)
    1 game vs. GT on the road
    1 game vs. Southern Cal at home
That only leaves 7 tomato can games. When I was in school, Coach Durham would schedule 10-12 tomato cans a year.

On the bright side, it's a schedule that could put UGA into the NCAAs with as few as 18 wins. That would require UGA going 9-9 in a tougher SEC while sweeping the buy games and picking up 2 wins against that non-conference slate with USC, GT and UCLA being the best opportunities.

My overall feeling on the program is that Coach Fox is doing an average to above average job targeting the wings and guards for his style of play. Kentavious is as advertised, and Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines could both be underrated gems. The problem is his big man recruiting. He needs to onboard players who don't take 2-3 years to find their way in this league.

But I digress. Here's what I think it would take for the program to make a big leap forward beyond the obvious need to sign Tony Parker.
    1. John Florveous needs to make a gigantic Year 2 move up the depth chart. If he could make an improvement like Donte and Travis Leslie made in Year 2, we could move Donte Williams to PF which would elevate his game.

    2. Someone will have to step up at PG. I personally can't see it being Vinnie. So, this terrifies me for next year. If Charles Mann can be a 25+ minute per game stable solution at PG, I would feel much better about our chances.

    3. Either KCP will need to add 15 lbs of muscle or Brandon Morris will need to emerge at SF. If KCP were at SG, he would face much better matchups offensively and defensively next season. If he stays at SF, he's got to get stronger.
What are your thoughts?


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