UGA beats South Carolina in Columbia. Final score: 67 to 56
I missed most of today's game and I missed the Auburn game, too. However, from the little bit I caught of today's action, it's apparent that Coach Fox has finally seen fit to give Kenny Gaines substantial playing time (24 minutes). Bravo! He even played Gaines and KCP at the same time. Together on the floor with Mann! Amazing.
Now, if he would just put Brandon Morris at the 4 position and slide Donte over to center. That line-up would be the starting five that I thought we would have before the season began. Guys who can catch and finish in the post, guards who can put the ball on the floor and drive. Players who can advance the ball against the press.
In the pre-season I thought that UGA would be good enough to maybe get into the top five in the SEC. Needless to say, I was disappointed with with the fact that we started out of the gates poorly and then lost to Georgia Tech and Florida. Ugghh. I hate losing to those guys in anything.
Given our early season losses, I figured that Fox was set on his line-up. If he hadn't seen enough during the practices and the Italy trip to figure out the relative strengths of the players on his roster, then I didn't see much hope for the SEC calendar. However, here we stand today at 4 and 4. Sure, the SEC is weak this year, but so were a good number of the teams we played prior to the SEC part of the schedule. The difference, in my humble opinion, is that KCP is playing a lot better, and Fox is starting to put his most talented guys on the floor.
A lot of fans called for Kenny Gaines to get more minutes. We were so bad before at scoring the basketball that we were hard to watch. Playing Gaines could hardly hurt the team. We desperately needed more offensive production. In fact, I wrote earlier in the season that I was "calling Gaines out." But in fairness to him, Gaines can only perform to the extent that he is allowed to play.
Fox had insisted on making Gaines back up KCP, which is a losing proposition for Kenny. Now that KG finally got major minutes, he has shown to the fans and to the coaching staff what he can do. Having been inserted into the starting line-up for the second half of the South Carolina game also proves that he and KCP can be on the floor at the same time.
It's not hard to figure out. Putting guys that can drive the basket on the floor makes the whole team more efficient. Against the Gamecocks, it worked. We 'bout had 4 guys to score in double figures (KCP had 19, Gaines had 11 and so did Charles Mann-- John Cannon had 8). As it stands, our four top scorers for the game all shot 50 percent or better from the floor.
Best game of the year, in my opinion. Shucks, we may indeed finish the year in the top, rather than the bottom, third of the SEC. Right now we're number six, so if we can keep the streak going a few games longer, the team will develop a lot more confidence.