Feel like someone hit me with a body blow. Hurts and takes my wind away.
I guess we're committed to the 1-4 look, with J.J. at the point and four guys along the baseline. The problem is that it's too predictable. J.J. will always have the ball coming up the floor. All South Carolina needed to do was to wait on J.J., and pick him up high, and funnel him along the sidelines.
Contrast that with Kentucky's dribble drive offense. Three guys touch the ball. Any of them can drive the ball to the basket. Makes the defense react. The guards are allowed to play instinctively within the set offense. The weave action stretches the court horizontally (from side to side) and vertically (toward the basket). The defense cannot favor one side of the court, because the offense can come at them from any direction.
Okay, I know Kentucky has the athletes to make their system work. But Georgia's system would work better, too, if Fox allowed other guys to touch the ball early in the possession.
Meanwhile, the first option on UGA's offense is apparently a Yante Maten screen 25 feet from the basket. Leads to needless offensive foul calls against our best player. Sure enough, Maten was whistled for an offensive foul on our third possession.
I knew Fox would take Ogbeide out of the game after Derek had only had two minutes on the floor. I would scream at the screen if I weren't numbed by the fact that Fox does it every game.
Not to pick on Houston, but I think it's important to state the case objectively because of what it tells us about Coach Fox.
Kessler shoots 22 percent from the field (lowest on the team), 50 percent from the free throw line (second lowest on the team), and 0 percent from behind the arc (lowest on the team). To make that 0 percent worse, half of his shots are three-pointers.
Houston averages 0.4 points per game, with just 1 rebound per contest. Though he has played in all 14 games, he has only 1 steal, 0 assists, and 0 blocked shots on the year. He has attempted just 4 free throws.
Bottom line is that Kessler isn't an offensive threat. He won't help us get bigs like Silva in foul trouble. He's not an effective distributor, nor is he a defensive stopper.
People aren't going to guard him. They'll just double up on Yante like South Carolina did.
Meanwhile, the person that Kessler replaces, Derek Ogbeide, shoots 62 percent from the field (highest on the team), has 23 blocked shots on the year (highest on the team), gets 6.4 rebounds a game (highest rebound per minute played on the team), even averages an assist per game, and finishes with authority if Yante is doubled.
Why replace one of our best players with one of our worst? Why do it game after game, early in the first half? When Derek Ogbeide does not have any fouls?
I guess every "gym is hot" (Fox's excuse for abruptly yanking Ogbeide out of the Vanderbilt game last year).
While I'm at it, bringing Kenny Paul Geno in early doesn't help. I suppose that being generous, one can say that Kenny defends well enough. He is in fact a scrappy rebounder (2 per game).
Unfortunately, Geno is also a "tweener." Not a good enough dribbler to be effective at driving the ball, and not big enough to have a legitimate post-up game. More than half of his shots are three-pointers. That propensity to loft up outside shots would be okay if Geno were a dead-eye shooter, but if you take away his performance against Division II Morehouse, Geno shoots right at 19 percent from behind the arc.
And if you do choose to play Geno, set him up for success. Please do not put him in at the 2-guard position.
It's not just Kessler and Geno. Turtle Jackson is struggling. He has just as many turnovers (13) as assists (13). He has made only 5 two-point baskets all year, and has attempted just 10 free throws. He went 0 for 3 from the field in the South Carolina game, with 0 assists.
At some point in time, Jackson needs to drive the ball to the basket and convert. Show fans and opponents alike that he has a floater or some semblance of a mid-range game.
Meanwhile, Tyree Crump, a former top 100 recruit combo guard, languishes on the bench. He's played just 63 minutes all year, which is with the exceptions of the two walk-on's, by far the fewest minutes played on the team.
Compared to Jackson, however, Crump has just as many two-point field goals made, and more free throws made, in 1/4th the minutes played. Again, if Jackson were tearing the place up, Crump's lack of playing time might make sense. But since Turtle and J.J. need breaks, and Crump is a player known for his shooting ability, why not give Tyree a chance to show what he can do? Fox plays just about everybody else.
I suppose that by leaving Crump on the bench, if Crump plays well next year, Fox can claim credit for developing him.
So there you have it. You don't have to be into fancy analytics. Objectively, measuring shooting, rebounding, blocked shots, assists, free throws, etc., the Fox substitution patterns make no sense.
Fox either doesn't know the simple metrics above, or he doesn't care. Making bad substitutions early in the first half takes our momentum away, and we end up losing games that we should win-- close contests, in which a possession or two makes all the difference.
If Fox actually believes that he is helping the team to win, then he sees something that no one else does. He may be smarter than the rest of us, but I doubt it. At some point, Georgia's Athletic Director needs to realize that the results (0 games won in the NCAA Tournament over 8 seasons) speak for themselves.
We really want UGA basketball, and even Coach Fox himself, to succeed. Right now, however, the best I can say is that the offensive structure and use of personnel make watching Georgia basketball painful. Even with decent talent on the roster, looks like our Coach is driving us toward another disappointing season.