Hoops insider: Does UGA have a shot versus No. 1 Wildcats?

Will it be a stress-free night for Coach Cal at the Stegasaurus? (AP photo)

A stressful night for Coach Cal at the Stegasaurus? (AP photo)

(Yet again, let me note that this feature is part — but only a small part — of our weekly college basketball package, which runs every Tuesday in the print AJC. I offer my contribution for your digital perusal.)

Hoops Hysterics

1. Does Georgia have a prayer against No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday? Sure. As good as the Wildcats can be, they trailed in the second halves of both SEC road games, and neither of those — at Auburn, at Tennessee — was against top-shelf competition. At 1-4 in league play, the Bulldogs aren’t top-shelf, either. But they’re at home, which means something.

2. If you had to pick one team against the field to win the national championship, would it be Kentucky? North Carolina? Missouri? Syracuse? None of the above. I’d pick the same team I picked — incorrectly — last March. I’d pick Ohio State because I think Jared Sullinger, whose numbers are almost the same as a sophomore as they were as a freshman, will be the man for this March. (And April.)

3. Is the state of local college basketball as bad as we thought it might be? It’s pretty close. Georgia State has been a pleasant surprise, surging to the top of the Colonial before losing at Northeastern and at Delaware last week. But Georgia is 10-9, Georgia Tech is 8-11 and Kennesaw State lost at home Monday to the North Florida Ospreys to fall to 3-18 and 0-9 in the Atlantic Sun. Aggregate record of the four locals: 35-44.

My Super Sweet Sixteen

1. Kentucky: The Wildcats couldn’t pull away from Alabama at Rupp Arena on Saturday, which was surprising given that Vanderbilt had handled the Tide rudely two nights earlier.

2. Missouri: Those seeking the early leader for Best Conference Road Win By Anybody In Any League need look no further than the Tigers’ one-point escape from Baylor.

3. Ohio State: Talk about having a separation gear. The Buckeyes have won five Big Ten games, and the average margin of victory in those five has been 28.8 points.

4. Syracuse: The Orange finally lost, falling Saturday at Notre Dame. But Syracuse responded nicely, subduing a rugged Cincinnati team on the road Monday night.

5. Kansas: Last week was huge for KU. The Jayhawks routed Baylor in Lawrence and beat Texas in Austin. Feel free to look ahead to Feb. 4, when Kansas meets Missouri.

6. San Diego State: The Aztecs are at it again. They haven’t lost since November, and they won at New Mexico last week. This week they face 16-3 Wyoming on the road.

7. North Carolina: The Tar Heels won a game but lost a key man last week. Guard Dexter Strickland, the best perimeter defender on a team that doesn’t defend much, tore his ACL.

8. Murray State: The last unbeaten could remain that way awhile. The Racers’ toughest remaining regular-season game will come at Southeast Missouri State on Feb. 15.

9. Georgetown: In most of the nation, Feb. 1 will be big news because of football signees. In the hoops-centric Big East, it’s the day Connecticut plays the Hoyas.

10. Baylor: Time for the Bears to regroup after losing to Kansas and Missouri, and it won’t be easy. They play Oklahoma in Norman on Tuesday and then get Texas in Waco.

11. Duke: The home loss to Florida State only underscores a point become increasingly apparent: By Duke standards, this isn’t a terribly imposing band of Blue Devils.

12. Creighton: The Missouri Valley Conference is generally considered the best of the mid-majors, and the 18-2 Bluejays appear to be the giant of the Valley.

13. Michigan State: The Spartans’ one-point loss at rival Michigan threw the Big Ten into a three-way tie. But Michigan comes to East Lansing on Feb. 5.

14. Saint Mary’s: Yet another brand-name mid-major, the Gaels have won 17 of 18 and seized a 1 1/2-game lead over Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference.

15. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs went 1-1 on on the road last week, losing at Ole Miss but winning at Vanderbilt in OT. This is probably the SEC’s second-best team.

16. Florida State: The strangest team in the country. The Seminoles went 0-2 against Ivy Leaguers Harvard and Princeton but are 2-0 against North Carolina and Duke.

By Mark Bradley

122 comments Add your comment

Fox's Hounds

January 24th, 2012
7:31 am

First! Go Hoop Dawgs!

(and no, we don’t have a chance…)

Mark Bradley

January 24th, 2012
7:32 am

Fox’s Hounds claims the early kudos.

Herschel Talker

January 24th, 2012
7:38 am

MB:

We have no chance against Kentucky. Great piece on the Falcons yesterday.

HT

Mark Bradley

January 24th, 2012
7:40 am

Thanks, HT. But weird things happen in college hoops.

Goldenrod

January 24th, 2012
7:41 am

GT basketball 68-UGAg basketball 56

WE RUN THIS STATE

cousin vicker

January 24th, 2012
7:43 am

Was last year a one-year aberration for UGA? I hope not but I surely didn’t expect the drop off after leslie and Trey to be THIS bad. Count me concerned about UGA.

sandman771

January 24th, 2012
7:46 am

Yeah I don’t expect us to do well, but we do get streaky from time to time. If KCP has a huge game (best of career) and the rest of the guys play up to and above their potential, then there is a chance. And Yes Virginia there IS a Santa Claus! Go Dawgs!

BobDawg

January 24th, 2012
7:47 am

COUSIN, you lose 2 NBA bound players plus your starting center. What were you expecting???

Mark Bradley

January 24th, 2012
7:47 am

Really, cousin v? I thought everybody realized that Georgia would struggle without its two best guys from last season.

Calipari Cheats

January 24th, 2012
7:47 am

Just like Saban, there is no doubt that Coach Cal bends the rules to take what he wants. Hopefully the NCAA will run him out of Lexington just like they did when he was in Memphis.

Joey

January 24th, 2012
7:49 am

Mark,do you think Fox can lead UGA to become a regular challenger for the SEC in basketball? It seems Fox just can’t land the big names, other than Caldwell-Pope.

It seems that when UK or the big name ACC schools want the Georgia high school stars, they get them. Still.

Mark Bradley

January 24th, 2012
7:53 am

That’s the question, Joey. And it wasn’t a good sign that Georgia Tech grabbed Robert Carter of Shiloh in Brian Gregory’s first year.

RedandBlackDAWG

January 24th, 2012
8:17 am

Based on how they have been able to play so far, I think it is probably, better to ask, “Will UGA get shot by Kentucky?”

GO DAWGS

T-Bone

January 24th, 2012
8:18 am

MB, Tech is bad, we all know that. But don’t you think there are promising signs. They do play decent D, and I think has some good recruits coming in next year.

Rickster

January 24th, 2012
8:26 am

I could have written the answer to the title question much more succinctly than Mark.

Does UGA have a shot versus No. 1 Wildcats?

“No”

irritated emu

January 24th, 2012
8:29 am

i h8 basketball

Seasontixholder

January 24th, 2012
8:30 am

It wasn’t just losing Travis and Trey that killed us; we also lost seniors Chris Barnes and Jeremy Price. Price was good for some points and Barnes for rebounding and defense. So pretty much our entire inside game left last year.

Squawk Squawk Squawk

January 24th, 2012
8:32 am

Don’t forget about the REAL best team in the state. Emory is 15-1 and ranked #4 in Division III.

Kentucky Guy

January 24th, 2012
8:35 am

Kentucky will be focused after previous close road wins. UK by 15.

GTT

January 24th, 2012
8:36 am

1.) No. Not at all.

GTT

January 24th, 2012
8:37 am

Thompkins and Leslie killed this season before it started.

Raleigh

January 24th, 2012
8:38 am

Go ospreys swoop! Go dawgs!

Double g

January 24th, 2012
8:40 am

Seems as if Georgia State has gotten more ink (deservedly so) from those at the AJC lately. As a dawg, let’s keep hearing more about them, and less about the upcoming loss to the ‘Cats.

Wait’ll next year.

bamaguy

January 24th, 2012
8:42 am

1. No
2. Syracuse
3. Yes

LagDawg

January 24th, 2012
8:47 am

Big fall off from last year. Fox has to recruit better or he has to bring someone in that can recruit better. Cannot keep recruiting 2 and 3 star player while the other programs recruit 4 and 5 star players. Had a lot of hope for CMF, but am beginning to think he’s in over his head.

DawginLex

January 24th, 2012
8:48 am

Only sellout of the year at the Steg.
UK has a young team, but extremely talented.
UGA must play physical and not back down.

Talent wins in the end.

UK 74
UGA 62

Gordon

January 24th, 2012
8:51 am

I think both Fox and Gregory are excellent coaches, but both have severely limited offensive talent. I think Gregory is off to a great start recruiting (3 4-stars and a 3-star), but the problem is he won’t be getting a point guard next year. Fox has decent talent coming in next year, but better hope KCP hangs around at least 3 years.

I agree with Mark – this is Ohio State’s year. I think Syracuse is right behind them. I think Florida should be on Mark’s list.

Eddie Haskell

January 24th, 2012
8:53 am

They got about as much chance as Joe Paterno had against the journalistic typewriter.

Greg

January 24th, 2012
8:58 am

UGA has already lost 4 games at Stegeman and it took a miracle finish(and a very bad call) just to get into OT with Wofford in Athens. http://gif.mocksession.com/2011/12/ridiculous/

Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, etc against our post players? A mismatch doesn’t get much worse than that. If UK comes out focused, they will be up 20 points or so at halftime. UK will do what they have to do to slow down Robinson and KCP since those are the only two guys who can hurt them.

Abnerish

January 24th, 2012
8:58 am

I’m just glad there will be something to watch other than the State of the Union speech at 9pm tonight. I’d rather watch Georgia lose by 40 than listen to an Obama campaign speech for an hour and half!

Reality check

January 24th, 2012
9:11 am

Uh, no. And UGA fans care ZERO about basketball. What’s really funny is when the UGA basketball team gets a big win (once a decade or so) and then suddenly these mouth breathing inbreds are all huge basketball fans…that is until you ask them to name a starter on their team. Just a truly pathetic group of individuals.

Dostoveyskiy

January 24th, 2012
9:13 am

Personally, I believe UNC has been coasting. I expect them to shift into high gear around tournament time. They aren’t showing their hand right now.

Remarkable

January 24th, 2012
9:21 am

Mark, how are these teams ever going to get any better? Our instate boys keep going out of state.

Gwinnett Guy

January 24th, 2012
9:32 am

Wow, so after tonight my alma matter (Georgia State) will be the only men’s basketball team in the state with a winning record and doing so in one of the top mid-majors in the country. Pretty cool!

DawginLex

January 24th, 2012
9:38 am

UNC just lost Dexter Strickland to an ACL injury. Huge blow

The national title is Kentucky’s to lose.

They are more talented than anyone in the country.

Syracuse lost Fab Melo with a grades issue and he may or may not be back.

gail

January 24th, 2012
9:39 am

GO BIG BLUE!

tony

January 24th, 2012
9:46 am

The dawgs will struggle in the sec this year due to the lack of superior players. Everybody on the team are 3 stars except Pope. Mark Fox does ok with lesser superior players but not a great job…..like someone like Brad Stevens @Butler. Brad Stevens can take 2 and 3 star players and have them playing like 5 star players. If Fox can somehow convince Tony Parker to play for him, I think they will challenge Kentucky next season and get a high bid in the ncaa tournament.

go dwags

January 24th, 2012
9:50 am

Sid

January 24th, 2012
10:01 am

not even close

BjohnDawg

January 24th, 2012
10:10 am

Unfortunately this team is Pope and a lot of marginal players. Ware and Robinson, no consistent play. Brantley huge disappointment. I dont see much difference for next year either. With Ware and Robinson gone you will have an inexperience backcourt to boot. I think we are in for a two year drought.
IMHO

Wish I were wrong. But I will say, they showed a lot of heart at the end against Ole Miss. Fox is a good coach, he just has to get some more talent!

CatLostInCumming

January 24th, 2012
10:24 am

Go Big Blue! CATS will roll tonight.

bamaguy

January 24th, 2012
10:25 am

go dawgs: The “dawgs flasher” makes me feel only slightly less ashamed of the “bama teabagger.” Good grief! Keep it in your pants!

JB

January 24th, 2012
10:25 am

No……………..Nor next year……………….or the next…………………..or the next…………..you get my point.

Buzz 2011

January 24th, 2012
10:27 am

They indeed have a shot to get within 30 points of the Wildcats..

JB

January 24th, 2012
10:29 am

This state has great athletes. Until a commitment is made by the Governor to the Board of Regents to Dr. ” buzz kill” Adams to win Championships, we will continue to be a State University that just ” fields a team”. The fact that Richt,Bobo and Garner are still in Athens running things is all the proof I need.

gdawg

January 24th, 2012
10:33 am

GOLDENROD, please lay down the meth pipe. They are not coming to get you. No need to put up cameras in every room!

UGA Insider

January 24th, 2012
10:37 am

UGA…. 0-6 vs opponents ranked in the top 50.

McGarity and Adams has every major athletic program at UGA average or below. Write your governor and ask him to fire Mike Adams. He has been there much to long and is much too close to his $89,000,000 nest egg.
.

Wolfman

January 24th, 2012
10:50 am

Mark – I know you guys do minimal coverage involving Division II programs, but the UWG Wolves are sitting at 17-3 so add them with Georgia State for another local team doing well. Former Brookwood standout Thomas Higginbothom has provided significant playing time in helping the Wolves in their success.

B

January 24th, 2012
11:01 am

What’s the future look like for the DAWGS basketball team? Any hope?

harold

January 24th, 2012
11:23 am

UGA JUST “IS NOT AT ALL” COMMITTED TO BASKETBALL! THIS UGA TEAM IS PERHAPS THE WORST TEAM I HAVE EVER SEEN. THEY ARE HORRIBLE!

IT IS TIME FOR FOX TO GO. HE CAN’T RELATE TO AN 18 YEAR OLD KID AT ALL LIKE COACH CAL OR MARTIN AT TENNESSEE!

PLUS UGA DOES NOT HAVE NEAR THE FACILITIES THAT TENNESSEE OR KENTUCKY HAS. HECK…..EVEN AUBURN HAS A BETTER FACILITY THAT THE CENTURY OLD DUNGEON STEDGEMAN. THE PLACE IS DEPRESSING TO PLAY IN!