Georgia will return to the hardwood tonight to take on the visiting Colorado Buffaloes (1-0) at Stegeman Coliseum. The Dawgs will once again be without preseason SEC player of the year Trey Thompkins as he is still recovering from a high ankle sprain that he suffered in practice. Georgia was sluggish in their 72-70 season opening victory over Mississippi Valley State.
Senior forward Jeremy Price led the way in the opener with twenty points including eight straight at one point in the second half to help Georgia take the lead. Newcomer Gerald Robinson Jr scored nineteen points while Travis Leslie recorded a double double with sixteen points and eleven rebounds. However, Georgia coach Mark Fox was not happy with his team's performance defensively or on the boards. Georgia allowed Mississippi Valley St to shoot 10-17 from the three point line and out rebounded the Bulldogs on the boards.
"I thought we really got outplayed tonight," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "I was really disappointed on how we rebounded the ball and how we defended the 3. … Fortunately we made enough big plays late in the game to get a win, but this was a good game for our team from a learning standpoint."
Colorado comes to Athens having defeated Idaho State 88-80 in the Buffaloes home opener. When looking at the Buffaloes, the first thing that jumps out at you is the excellent backcourt combination In Cory Higgins and Alec Burks. Burks is the reigning Big 12 Freshman of the year and averaged 17 points per game last season. He is a legit NBA prospect and has been projected to go in the lottery in some early mock drafts. Both Burks (6'6") and Higgins (6'5") will have a size advantage on Georgia's backcourt of Robinson Jr. and Dustin Ware.
Both of these teams were outrebounded in their season openers by their opponents. Georgia was a pretty good rebounding team last year but is missing its leader in Thompkins. Colorado on the other hand was last in the Big 12 last season and new coach Tad Boyle has said that better and more consistent frontcourt play is a priority for the Buffaloes.
Two keys for the Bulldogs tonight is to shore up that perimeter defense against the Buffaloes star studded backcourt and to take a team effort on the boards. I am not sure Georgia can win this game without having a much better showing on the glass.
This game was one of the highlights of Georgia's home schedule and it is unfortunate that they are having to play it without one of its best players in Trey Thompkins. Injuries are a part of every sport and the schedule doesn't stop for them. Mark Fox tweeted yesterday that the team had practiced well since the opener and were looking forward to the match up.