On Saturday, Coach Tom Crean will bring his Georgia Bulldogs and their 10th ranked recruiting class to Memphis. The Bulldogs’ roster is home to 5 of the top 100 recruits from the class of 2019, including the #2 overall player, 6’5” shooting guard Anthony Edwards.
Edwards has made an immediate impact at Georgia and is working to solidify his top-5 draft stock. The guard is averaging almost 19 points per game and is the most important offensive threat for the Bulldogs. Edwards has scored in double figures in all but three games this season and has exceeded 20 points on 6 occasions, most notably in his 37 point outburst against Michigan State where he made 7 three-pointers.
This season the Bulldogs are 9-3 and have fallen to both Dayton and Michigan State on neutral courts. Their best win of the year so far was against AAC opponent SMU.
On defense, Georgia is pretty average, giving up 73.9 points per game while scoring 82.2 points per game, which is good for a top 20 points output. However, the Bulldogs’ offensive rating is not spectacular, because — similar to Memphis — the Bulldogs play at a fast pace. What this means is that they play quick, but their efficiency suffers, mostly due to poor shooting — especially from three.
Outside of Edwards, a player to keep an eye on against Memphis is Rayshaun Hammonds, a 6’9” junior center who is efficient at short range scoring and rebounding. Hammonds is averaging 14 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Off the bench, freshman guard Sahvir Wheeler is playing over 26 minutes per contest and contributing over 8 points and 5 assists.
Finishing near rim – According to Haslametrics.com, the Bulldogs are top 15 in the nation in converting near the hoop. They have one of the best percentages in the country from two, which is the only reason that their offense is even decently efficient.
Protecting the ball – The Bulldogs turn the ball over at a rate that places them in the bottom third in the NCAA.
Offensive rebounding – Georgia is a top 40 offensive rebounding team in the country. Giving up offensive rebounds was a major issue for the Tigers to start the year. This issue culminated in allowing UAB to rebound on the offensive end of the floor at a rate near 45%. As you can see below, the Tigers have turned things around and in the past 4 games. Memphis has buttoned up their defensive rebounding and are not allowing their opponents as many opportunities at second chance points.
Three point shooting – Only around 30% of Tom Crean’s squad’s scoring comes from beyond the arc.
Free throws and getting to the line – Georgia shoots a meager 66% from the line and is in the bottom third in the country in attempts.
Keys to the Game
Protect the hoop and force outside shots – Georgia shoots well near the rim, hitting at a rate near 70% in the restricted area. However, Memphis is one of the best teams in the country at protecting the rim — opponents shoot under 45% at the hoop. Even without Wiseman, the Tigers have 4 guys averaging over a block per game.
Win at their own game – On paper, these two teams have a lot in common: poor shooting, fast pace, offensive rebounding, and other areas. The Tigers need to continue their impressive defense and lock down rebounding and they should be in good shape.
Greg Brown visit
5-star forward Greg Brown will be on an official visit this weekend. So far, Penny Hardaway has yet to earn a commitment from any recruits in the 2020 class. Brown is one of the few remaining 5-star players out there who has yet to announce a college decision. Another one of course is Jalen Green, who was going to announce on Christmas day, but pushed his decision date until after the high school season.
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Zak (@BarnBurnerBro) is a native Memphian who covers the Memphis Grizzlies, Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals for The Barn. He spends his free time exploring breweries, restaurants, and leading the Ivan Rabb stan club.