KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 21: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs dunks on a breakaway as David Kravish #45 of the Cal Golden Bears looks on during the Progressive CBE Classic game on November 21, 2011 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
On the face of it the Georgia Bulldogs aren't much of an existential threat to UC. UC has more talent, has more experience. But the Bearcats are not a team that can afford to take any team for granted. Not after losing to a religion and Marshall in two of their last three contests. And certainly not going on the road for the first time all season
For what it's worth the Bulldogs have had their fair share of struggles this year. They have played a relatively tough schedule and have lost to Xavier, Colorado and Cal in their last four games. The lone win in that stretch was a neutral site clash with Notre Dame. With just that one win to their names I don't think it is a stretch to say that the Bulldogs are reeling right now.
Like Miami Georgia is a team that likes to slow the game down and make every contest a grinding battle of attrition. That is a valid strategy, if not a wholly enjoyable one to watch, as has been proven time and time again in March. Georgia takes that to another level though. They are a truly offensively challenged team. They are shooting just 38.4 per cent from the field which is among the worst in the nation. Their 30.1 per cent rate from three is slightly better nationally, without being "good" exactly.
The Bulldogs are built and coached to win with defense. The best thing they do on the defensive side of the floor is defend the three point line. Opposing teams are shooting just 27 per cent from three on the year which is very good. If there is a downfall to the Bulldogs aggressive style of defense it is that they send opposing teams to the line very frequently, they are 294th nationally in free throw rate allowed.
The players to watch for UGA are Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who was a superstar recruit in last years class. He is averaging 13 points and 5 boards a game. Caldwell-Pope doesn't have a very flashy game, he is very smooth and judicious with his ample explosiveness. Gerald Robinson is the other guy that I will be keeping an eye on. He runs the point for the Dawgs and is a pretty good defender for the position. He will make life difficult for Cashmere Wright in his return to the Peach State.
I will be honest, I have no feel at all for this game, partly because I have no feel what so ever for how UC is going to play one night to the next. But being a road trip, the first of the season no less, I am not exactly comfortable with the Bearcats coming out on top. Just my gut feeling.