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Georgia men head West to take on LSU

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Sixth verse....

Same as the first....

It could be better....

(Or it could be worse).

And this was the University of Georgia’s early conference schedule summed up in verse. Tom Crean’s squad has played five conference opponents. All have been ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA’s NET rankings (Vanderbilt at #48 is the only one outside the top 25 when the Dawgs played them). To put things in perspective, the average NET ranking of UGA conference opponents is 29.2. The next toughest slate has been played by the Alabama Crimson Tide, whose opponents average a 39.7 ranking. That’s ghastly.

The result has been a 1-4 record, highlighted by this weekend’s come from behind then come from ahead loss to Florida at home.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but it doesn’t get any easier. The Hoop Hounds will face #25 LSU (14-3, 4-0 SEC) tonight at 7:00 pm Athens standard time on the SEC Network. The Bayou Bengals have been better than advertised so far, averaging 82.5 points per game and managing to play both up tempo and efficient offense. Will Wade’s team is shooting a solid 48.7% from the field.

The Tigers are extremely balanced inside and out, getting 13 points per game or more from both 6’10, 250 pound forward Naz Reid and 5’10 sophomore guard Tremont Waters. Along with Reid 6’11 F/C Kavell Bigby-Williams gives Wade a solid inside force to counter the strength of the Georgia roster, it’s bigs.

Nic Claxton continues to develop as a ball handler and scorer, averaging just under a double/double per game, while also leading the SEC in blocked shots at 3.1 per game. Derek Ogbeide’s 6.1 rebounds per game have also come in handy for a UGA squad whose shooting has been, well, let’s say “streaky.” Streaky is a good word for it.

The Crean Machine in red and black is experiencing a trial by fire so far. As we’ve said, it’s not a great year to be rebuilding an SEC basketball team. Tonight’s matchup against a solid team in a tough road environment will be another chance to see what these ‘Dawgs are made of. Until later...

Go ‘Dawgs!!!