2007 Georgia Bulldogs Basketball Preview
With a fifth place finish in the SEC East, the Georgia Bulldogs (19- 14 overall, 8- 8 SEC) found themselves bound for the NIT where they we handily defeated in round two by Air Force 83-52. In four years, coach Dennis Felton (58- 63 in four years with Georgia, 159- 117 in nine years overall) has gone from a low point of eight wins to last year’s high of 19.
Georgia’s strength, literally, was under the boards. The Bulldogs were plus-5.7 in rebounding margin, placing them second in the SEC and 22nd nationally. The team’s .381 shooting percentage from downtown was also second in the league. At .667 from the free throw line, the Dawgs ranked ninth, and their 15.7 TPG was 11th. The team’s scoring “D” was rated seventh (69.1 PPG) and their scoring was ranked fifth (75.1 PPG).
The good news is in the frontcourt. and the college basketball lines. The Bulldogs continue to get better and deeper around the rim. Forward Takais Brown (14.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 56.6 FG%) is tough in the paint, while junior center Rashaad Singleton (3.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 47.4 FG%) has revealed potential but been inconsistent. The Bulldogs could use a breakout season from him and college hoops picks. He has the potential to be a massive defensive force. Senior center David Bliss (4.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 54.3 FG%) adds depth, if he can stay healthy. Three freshmen forwards should see action.
At the point, look for senior Sundiata Gaines (10.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.8 APG, 41.3 FG%) to continue to be a dynamic force and leader on the court. His three-point shot went in 35.5% of the time last season, which was a huge improvement over his first two seasons when he hit only 26.5% of his three’s. Junior guard Mike Mercer (13.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 40.8 FG%), who was lost to injury for the final ten games of the 2006- 2007 season, is back and healthy. Mercer ably plays both point and shooting positions.
The Bulldogs look bound for the NIT once again. The team has not been in March Madness betting since 2002. For that to change, they will need consistent play from a young but talented frontcourt and the Dawgs must stop being careless with the ball.