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Georgia faces must-win situation against Vanderbilt

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It has been a frustrating few weeks for Mark Fox and company and they are running out of time to figure things out.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Kansas State Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia travels to Vanderbilt on Wednesday in what is a must-win situation for the Bulldogs.

After suffering a blowout loss at Mississippi State this past Saturday, Georgia has now lost 6-8 and their tournament hopes are on life support with just eight games remaining in the regular season. Georgia is now 13-9 overall and are tied for ninth place in the SEC with a 4-6 record.

The Bulldogs haven’t been without controversy either. The team announced on Saturday that sophomore guard Jordan Harris had been suspended indefinitely. Mark Fox refused to elaborate on the reasoning behind the suspension on Monday but added that Harris would not be allowed to practice with the team.

Additionally freshman guard TeShaun Hightower has missed the last three games. Fox indicated on Monday that Hightower was out with the flu but has been traveling with the team which seems odd.

It isn’t like Georgia has had a steady rotation for any real stretch of the season. Case in point, Tyree Crump made the second start of his career in Saturday’s loss while Pape Diatta came off the bench for 18 minutes. Diatta played well knocking down four three-point shots but freshman Rayshaun Hammonds, who was a starter for much of the season, saw only four minutes of playing time and went scoreless.

Is this a situation where Fox is searching for a workable combination while the team is struggling? Maybe but it is possible that there is more here as well and all of the inconsistency doesn’t appear to be paying off for the team.

At any rate, the time to get it figured out is now as Georgia needs a winning streak to build some momentum. Vanderbilt is 8-15 overall, dead last in conference play at 2-8 and dead last in RPI. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a capable team. The Commodores have come out on the wrong side of a lot of close games this season. Seniors Jeff Roberson and Riley LaChance give them a couple of veterans with experience and freshman Saben Lee is averaging 10.3 points and a team high 3.2 assists.

For the Bulldogs it is about finding a rotation and sticking with it. Yante Maten has been the only consistent offensive option throughout the season but again the constant tinkering with rotations and combinations hasn’t seemed to help. Hammonds has struggled at times throughout conference play but he’s one of the more talented players on the roster and the same could be said for Hightower. Georgia is not going to reach their goals without those guys contributing.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, February 7, 8:30 p.m. ET

Location: Memorial Gym, Nashville, Tennessee

TV: SEC Network

Streaming: SECN+

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network. Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta