'Dawgs and Jackets again ...
Most GT fans (and most UGa fans for that matter) are under the impression that Georgia basketball is terrible right now. While that might have been true last year (8-20 is never pretty), UGa should be much improved this year, and tonight's matchup is going to be tougher than a lot of folks in Atlanta would like. Also, for some reason GT hasn't had as much success in the masoleum in Athens as you would think, even though it will be mostly gold in the stands for the game.
Georgia's top 6 players are all guards or "wing" players, they have very little in the way of quality post play. Those guards/wings they have are quite good though, and very athletic. Mike Mercer is probably the one with the most hype, as one of the best freshman PG's in the country, but Levi Stukes is an accomplished scorer and their best returning player - he loves to shoot the 3 ball and has already made 16 on the season. Humphrey, Toney and Gaines are all playing well to begin the season also, giving Dennis Felton 5 semi-interchangable players in the backcourt. Terrance Woodbury is more of a traditional swingman, and is the 6th guy to get heavy minutes for the 'dawgs - but he has been fighting a knee sprain and missed the last 3 games. Georgia has shot the ball very well to begin the season (69% eFG), and a lot of their scoring efficiency is because they shoot the 3 so well (41%). Almost half their field goal attempts for the season have been from beyond the arc, this is a guard driven team on offense, our perimeter defense will be tested.
The problem for UGa will be getting enough contribution out of their frontcourt to handle Dickey and Smith in the blocks. Dave Bliss and Rashaad Singleton are both freshman bigs (6'10 and 7'0" respectively) but with very little experience defending anyone remotely near Dickey and Smith's strength and ability. Steve Newman had a big game against Florida A&M, but has played little otherwise, and Younes Idrissi is another freshman post player. If Felton can get 30 minutes, 15 points and 10 boards out of some combination of those players, UGa has a pretty good shot in this game.
Our young backcourt must play good defense on the perimeter, keeping UGa's dribble penetration in check and not allowing their men to beat them to the hoop creating open shots and leaving our post players picking up fouls. GT has played excellent defense so far this season (only 48% eFG against), and has really played well against the deep ball (only 24% against) - so we should be able to at least slow down Georgia's offensive attack. On the offensive end, we need to continue to execute well and make a few open shots from the permiter to keep UGa from completely sagging on Dickey/Smith - but we should be able to pound the ball inside with a fair degree of success. This is a game that GT should win on paper, but UGa normally plays us tough and if they get hot shooting the 3 this is a game they could easily win. This would be a big win for their program and for local recruiting (something that has become more important as Georgia high schools keep cranking out bigtime prospects). I think our young team should be able to go on the road an get this game, but the people expecting an easy win will probably be surprised.