1. Offense strikes then sputters – The slow, painful learning process continues for the Bulldogs on the offensive side of the ball. After scoring a solid 35 points in the first half, Georgia struggled to score in the second half.
Too often Georgia doesn’t have quality possessions or select good shots in its offensive sets. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the best offensive threat on the roster, didn’t have a single shot in the second half until nearly ten minutes in – and that can’t happen. Georgia, a team that is quite limited on the offensive side of the ball, can’t wait nearly halfway through the half before its best offensive player shoots the ball.
Caldwell-Pope had 14 points going into the locker room at the half. Georgia, which had tallied a pretty impressive for their average 35 points in the first half only scored ten points by the time Caldwell-Pope attempted his first shot. He didn’t score a field goal in the second half and ended the game with 16 points.
Georgia asks too much of Caldwell-Pope to begin with, but it can’t realistically expect to win if its best player isn’t shooting the ball. Why? Georgia’s post presence is nearly non-existent at times – at least in terms of being a scoring threat. Too often Nemanja Djurisic tries to do too much with the ball, which can lead to more mayhem.
The team only scored over 60 points because Mississippi State allowed Vincent Williams to have a lay up as the buzzer sounded to end the game. Georgia’s offense must improve if it has any hopes of winning more than 12 games this season.
2. (Not) Free Throws – Sometimes in basketball a free throw can become more than it really is in terms of being a challenge. The shot is the most basic beyond a layup in the sport. That’s why you have to wonder why Georgia is shooting so poorly from the free throw line.
Georgia won’t win many basketball games in contests where it shoots less than 60% from the charity stripe. Compounding the problem today is the fact that Georgia shot more than 30 free throws during the game… that means the Bulldogs left a ton of points at the line. And when a team struggles to score points it has to take advantage of easy points, and free throws are easy points.
3. This is not going to get any easier – Mississippi State is one of the worst teams in the SEC - Georgia was a ten-point favorite and lost by 11. The trip to top-ten Missouri won’t be an easy challenge for anyone in the SEC, but it will be a supersized task for the Bulldogs. Georgia’s dismal road record under Mark Fox is well established, and the team could be in the middle of feeling sorry for itself with back-to-back losses to start conference play.
But this team and program is going to have to pick itself off the ground and start winning any game it can. After the Missouri game, Georgia returns home for back-to-back games against LSU and Florida. Georgia needs to win one of those games. It cannot start the season 0-5 in SEC play – it won’t recover from that.