Jimmies and Joes of Michigan State Send Georgia Basketball Home


There are Xs and Os and there are Jimmies and Joes. Once again, in the NCAA Tournament contest between Michigan State and Georgia, the Jimmies and Joes won.

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The outcome is all too familiar for Georgia basketball fans. The Dawgs opened crisp and quick against Michigan State in the NCAA tournament first round game. But after the opening emotion ebbed and each team explored the defense and defended the attack of the other, the talent and athletic gifts of the Spartans held sway.

As is customary, this Bulldog bunch fought to the end. They rose off the deck after three punches that would knock out a lesser fighter. They drew on what this team has in abundance – grit, es sprit de corp, and determination. But it’s better to never be knocked to the deck and once again the Bulldog Nation found determination can only compensate so much for ability.

Charles Mann led Georgia with 19 points and only two turnovers while directing the Bulldog attack. Senior Marcus Thornton scored 12 points and claimed 10 rebounds while shooting 8-8 at the free throw stripe and senior Nemanja Djurisic scored seven and pulled down 12 rebounds. But, they call it  BASKETball for a reason. Ultimately, Georgia’s players must toss, tip or bat the ball through the basket against great athletes. These Dawgs missed time and again around the rim, leaving too many points on the floor.

Kenny Gaines scored 15 points, but was limited to 20 minutes of playing time due to foul trouble and injury. The loss of Gaines for ten minutes and the misses at the basket ultimately were too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. Georgia desperately needed contributions from more players but few were offered. J. J. Frazier played 37 minutes but failed to score. Yante Maten stayed out of sync the entire game and only scored two points.  After a listless first half, Cameron Forte scored six points in the second half for a total of eight points. Georgia did not have the large number of talented players required to win.

This outcome provided an appraisal of the Bulldog program.

Georgia is a good. The Dawgs have an effective combination of maturity and talent. The program has a clear identity – defense, toughness, togetherness  – that allows it to win twenty games in the fourth best conference in the country as well as against a quality non-conference schedule. But in a one game one and done contest when all are rested and prepared, the Bulldogs do not have the talent to climb out of round one in the NCAA Tournament.

The question then is simple: will the Bulldogs maintain, decline or rise next season? A simple answer, then: the Bulldogs will maintain in the regular season next year.

Thornton early in the season and Djurisic late in the season were keys to Georgia’s success in 2015. The two seniors will not be easily replaced. However, Georgia will fight through the regular season on the strength of a junior and senor laden back court. Georgia will be an NCAA team next year and when tournament time arrives, the Bulldogs will be more talented with the addition of Will Jackson, E’torrion Wilridge, and Derek Ogbeide and the Bulldogs will advance out of round one in the NCAA tournament.

After all, this one is done. What is important now is for Georgia basketball to maintain and progress, not backslide as usual

Next: Can the Dawgs Get a Regular Date To the Big Dance