Georgia basketball takes on their in-state rivals tonight at Stegman Coliseum with a 9 p.m. tipoff, and the Dawgs need a big win.
The Dawgs got a win over South Carolina State on Tuesday winning 76-60, putting them at 2-1 after falling short to Cincinnati last Saturday 76-68.
For the first time in two seasons, these rivals get to renew their hatred with each other, and no Dawg team ever wants to lose to a Tech one. This game could be a monumental one not just for the team, but head coach Tom Crean as well. He is at 399 career victories, so beating the Yellow Jackets would put him at the historical 400 win mark.
Despite missing last season because of COVID-19, the Dawgs hold a five game winning streak over the Yellow Jackets and Friday needs to make six in a row.
Getting a win over your in-state rival will give this group a big confidence boost, which is needed. Georgia has struggled on the basketball court, but Crean is trying to turn things around, and this game could be the start of that.
The starting five will likely be Jailyn Ingram, Kario Oquendo, Aaron Cook, Noah Baumann and Braelen Bridges.
Cook averages 14 points a game and 3.3 rebounds a game. He had a massive game against South Carolina State scoring 22 points, which pushed him over the 1,000 career-point mark. Cook is emerging as someone Crean can trust, and hopefully it’ll continue. The Dawgs need a leader and Cook isn’t a bad one to have.
He made 8-of-11 shots and 3-of-5 from behind the arc — Cook needs to keep that momentum going against the Yellow Jackets tonight.
Oqendo scored 17 against State and had four steals. He averages 8.7 points a game so far and 3.7 boards. When he is on, Oqendo will make a great scoring asset for the Dawgs.
Bridges leads the starting-five Bulldogs right now averaging 16 points a game and eight rebounds. In Tuesday’s game, he tallied 15 points himself. He is a good asset for the Dawgs has he is good on both ends of the ball.
Ingram averages eight rebounds and five boards a game right now and Baumann averages 6.3 points to round out the starting five stats.
This group is figuring out how to play with each other and a 2-1 start isn’t bad, but it needs to become a 3-1 start after tonight.
Georgia hasn’t lost to Georgia Tech since November 14, 2014, and tonight’s matchup needs to be emphasized. Crean hopefully understands that this is one of the Dawgs biggest rivalries and a must-win matchup.
The Dawgs need to run this state in every sport, including men’s basketball, and so tonight, in our opinion, will be a big game for them. Georgia needs to come out strong against the Jackets, scoring early and often.
Tech averages 73.7 points a game while the Dawgs average 67.3, and while it’s still extremely early in the season, that will be something to keep an eye on, because the Dawgs need to play good defense.
Georgia averages 43% from the floor while Tech averages 45%, so they are pretty evenly matched. However, the Yellow Jackets average eight three pointers a game and make 41% of those shots from beyond the arc, so Georgia needs to hang tough on their perimeter defense.
The Dawgs need to get some of their three-point shots to fall as well because they’re only averaging 5.7 a game right now. Tonight would be a great time to turn up the heat and just let these players man handled Georgia Tech.
Crean needs to let them have some fun, and if these kids understand this rivalry, they will know how important getting a win tonight is.
Georgia is more than capable of taking on the Yellow Jackets and beating them. Tonight needs to be the start of a new chapter for Crean and his team — 400 wins is a new start, and now it’s on for the Dawgs to turn the next 100 wins into something special.