Archive for the 'Basketball' Category

Emulating Mercer?

During the weekend, it was hard not to be happy to see Mercer’s upset of Duke, especially for those of us at TGT residing in Middle Georgia. Plus, who can’t enjoy Duke losing. It does not get much more American than that.

But there’s one thing about Mercer’s big win against Duke that sticks out, and it should rattle the cage of anyone with an interest in UGA basketball. Consider this excerpt from Seth Emerson on Friday.

In fact, Mercer is a model for what Fox hopes to have at Georgia very soon: A team built not on five-star recruits, but experience and chemistry. Georgia starts one senior, one junior and three sophomores this year.

“One of the goals we’ve had is to eventually have an older team. And when you have an older team and an experienced team it works to your advantage,” Fox said. “We’ve not really had that, because of early entries. We haven’t had a lot of that. But we’re getting closer. And hopefully next year we’ll have a stronger flavor of that experience.”

Let that sink in for a second. With all the resources that Georgia has, it is pretty much looking at the model of Mercer as a barometer.

At what point do the excuses run out for the basketball program in Athens as a whole? Having a down year in talent doesn’t hold water…these are the guys that Mark Fox recruited. Sure, the NIT is nice and all, but I’m sure you won’t find any team in America starting the season saying, ‘NIT or bust.’

I remember during a TV broadcast once that Dick Vitale recalled telling Jim Harrick that when he took the Georgia job that he’d never be in a better situation in terms of being able to compete. You have a loaded in the coffers athletic association and you are in the backyard of one of the biggest hotbeds of basketball talent. I’m not saying you should outrecruit Duke or Kentucky for players…for teams like Florida State and Georgia Tech should not beat you out time after time.

For a very long time, basketball at Georgia has been a side-deal. Being competitive and making an Big Dance ever so often was accepted, unfortunately.

Imagine for a moment if the UGA football program started averaging 8-win seasons with a bowl game every three years. Would that be acceptable.

This basketball program can be great. But it’ll only be as great as its fans and the UGA Athletic Association demands of it.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Happy trails to KCP

Not that it was unexpected, but KCP is leaving school for the NBA Draft and will hire an agent. This team was respectable thanks to KCP this year. I’m already dreading what this team will look like, unless the unthinkable happens and a solid recruit or two comes on board. 

Wearing Black and Gold

I was raised in a small rural Georgia town. I still live in a small rural Georgia town. This is by choice. I love my hometown, just as many of you love your hometown. There’s something about “home.” Small rural Georgia towns offer things that larger cities don’t. For better or for worse, if you love your small rural Georgia town, you think it’s the greatest place on earth. My friends here at TGT and I have a lot of fun with this. They don’t find my small town to be quite as delightful as I do. For some reason, Corbin doesn’t like the fact that our high school football stadium overlooks the Dollar General. But he never turns down a meal at Scott’s BBQ.

Something I think is fairly unique to a small rural Georgia town is the intimate sense of community. Everybody knows everybody, and for the most part loves everybody, even if you don’t like everyone. Kind of like family- you can talk about your own, but nobody else can. Country music songs are written about small rural Georgia towns. You’re also proud of your own. Very proud. When somebody does something good from your hometown, everyone shares in the sense of accomplishment. High school sports are HUGE in the small Georgia towns that dot the rural countryside. Not saying they aren’t huge in the larger cities- clearly they are- but it’s just different. If you’re from a small rural Georgia town, you know what I mean.

Right now, Cochran, Georgia is Wichita State Country. Native son Carl Hall and his Shockers have made an amazing run through the NCAA Tournament. Businesses around town have signs out front encouraging and congratulating Carl. You can’t go anywhere without someone bringing up the topic of Carl and his Wichita State team. For a small town like Cochran (Bleckley County has a population of less than 12,000; Cochran less than 6,000) it’s a really big deal to have a hometown kid to be playing in the Final 4. It’s a huge deal. That kind of thing doesn’t happen often to small rural Georgia towns. Kids from Atlanta play in the Final 4 every year. They play in BCS National Championship games and in all of the major professional leagues. But towns like Cochran don’t have this opportunity very often. That’s why, when it happens, it’s a really big deal. Again, if you’re from a small rural Georgia town, you know what I mean.

carl hall

Tomorrow night, everyone in Cochran will be tuned in to watch Carl Hall and his team take on Louisville. This is the biggest stage, and Cochran is sharing in Carl’s success. It’s fun, and it gives us all a sense of pride. To many, this is just an exciting Final 4 game. For the community of Cochran, it’s more than that. It’s a chance to see one of our own do something incredible. We’re proud of Carl and are having a great time watching him play on national television. This is the kind of thing that unites small towns and brings everyone together.

We’re wishing Carl and his team all the best as they get ready for the biggest game of their lives. Win or lose, we’re proud of you Carl!

Go Shockers!

ucheedawg

Tough, but familiar fate for Landers, Lady Dawgs

The more I think about, Andy Landers has to be ranked pretty high as far as great coaches who seem attracted to bad luck in critical postseason games.

Monday night’s loss to California was tough to swallow. A few shots or there, Jasmine James not fouling out or California being forced to test its players for testosterone…if either of those things happen, the Lady Dawgs are in the final four.

Rather, it’s another hard-luck loss for the Lady Dawgs.

Georgia has been in position to win national titles in the past, but to win one, you need all the breaks to go your way, and this program has experienced the opposite. Whether its two starters fouling out in the championship game in 1985 against Old Dominion, losing a starter to a knee injury on a national title favorite team or simply having the bad fortune of being in the conference with the greatest program in women’s basketball history, good fortune has eluded Georgia women’s basketball.

The NCAA certainly hasn’t done Georgia any favors. If the NCAA had a regional site in Siberia, the Lady Dawgs would end up there. Look at this year – UGA was slotted once again for the west regional, where they played two Pac 12 teams. Tennessee and UConn, of course, get the luxury of playing close to home thanks to the NCAA fixing the odds in their favor.  

At the end of the day, this team and its six seniors are all Damn Good Dawgs. Every team starts a season dreaming of the final four. This team was a bounce or two away from making it there. 

Go Dawgs!

 

Lugnut Dawg

 

Eating crow with the Hoop Dawgs

I’ll admit. I, along with many others didn’t feel too good about the state of this Georgia basketball team about two months ago.

At that time, this team was downright bad, losing to bad teams out of conference. Its managing to win one of its first five SEC games seemed to be, at the time, a minor miracle.

I’ll admit – I had reservations about Coach Mark Fox. Not about his coaching abilities, but the direction that the program was headed. There was a building case for a hard look at if the burner underneath his proverbial hot seat needing to be lit.

But I’ll proudly say that I’ll eat some crow on that one, preferably served with a side of Mrs. Griffin’s BBQ sauce.

Sure, this team got going thanks to a less than stellar schedule, but it won those games it is supposed to win. Now, its playing its best basketball, and that is a definite credit of Fox being able to squeeze all that he can out of the cards he has in his deck.

Look, I know Kentucky fans, who like one of their players think that they should ‘never to lose Georgia,’ will claim last night’s win was no big deal.

Stop right there, though. I don’t care what the circumstances are – Kentucky is still Kentucky – a team that won a national title last year.

Who knows, maybe the Hoop Dawgs can make another run through the SEC tournament.

Someone has to do it. Why not Georgia?

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

How many ‘almost victories’ can a team have?

Based on the state of this team earlier in the year, it’s pretty easy to excuse Georgia’s losses on the basketball court as close losses. The only problem with that is that this is major college athletics.

Tossing out phrases like ‘screwed by the refs,’ ‘life is hard on the road’ or played ‘good enough to win’ are ok if you are a program in transition. That, however, is not the case for this basketball program. Moral victories are something the unwashed masses at South Carolina and and Georgia Tech believe in.

If this team had pretty much everyone back next year, that’d be one thing. But without KCP, this team is in sad shape – and one could not blame KCP for leaving school after this season. In other words, the logic of close losses building to big things next year holds zero water..unless KCP returns.

Here we are, in year four of Fox’s regime. Is there a lack of talent on this team in some areas? Yes, without question. Other than KCP, this is for the most part an average basketball team in terms of talent.

This team simply needs to find some ways to win. It’s easy to blame refs for close road losses. The fact of it is what a high school football coach from South Georgia would often say, that ‘we’ve got to play well enough to take advantage of the breaks we get, and we have to play well enough to make up for the breaks we aren’t going to get.”

This is big-time college basketball. Things of adversity happen. Teams have to find their way through it.

Lugnut Dawg

Trailer for 2008 SEC Basketball Tournament Documentary

One of the most memorable weekends in Georgia athletics history is coming to life Sunday via ESPN’s SEC Storied series (the same one as the Herschel documentary last year).

Yep, the 2008 SEC Tournament that became defined by a tornado ripping through downtown Atlanta. Here’s a link to a preview

The best part of the weekend? Not only earning a trip to the Big Dance, but doing it in Tech’s house.

 



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