Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Know Your Enemy- Georgia St Panthers

Another school right up the road from me goes to Tuscaloosa to play OUR Crimson Tide in the 2nd round of the NIT Tip-off (or is it pre-season NIT... never can get the names right). GA St won yesterday 96-70 over McNeese St. While the competition was garbage, the 59% FG and 52.6% 3pt FG bothers me.

C/P from an earlier preview by MS (I'll add stats below):
Georgia State has a formidable line-up that could be the best in the Sun Belt Conference (the program's first year in the conference) when all is said and done. This team has some real star power in guys like R.J. Hunter (17.5 ppg, CAA freshman of the year), Devonta White (14.5 ppg), and Manny Atkins (14.5 ppg, Virginia Tech transfer). The program also received a gift from the NCAA when it approved Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow's hardship waiver to play immediately. Harrow had his ups and downs at both N.C. State and Kentucky, but I think the lack of unfair expectations at Georgia State should benefit him. And if that wasn't enough, the program also adds Curtis Washington (6'9, 240 lb), a redshirt junior that transferred from USC. With Georgia State's mix of size, athleticism and scoring ability, this could be the epitome of a trap game should Alabama be matched up with the Panthers.

State comes in 2-1. Their only loss was a tight one @ Vanderbilt where they led with under 4 minutes to go. Vandy took the lead for good at the 1:55 mark. Like everyone is expecting... this is going to be a tough game for us.

So far, the Panthers have 4 averaging double digits in R.J. Hunter, Ryan Harrow, Devonta White, and Manny Atkins. Of those 4, Hunter and Atkins are shooting the ball well early from beyond the arc. Inside, Curtis Washington  is pulling 7.3 boards to go with 9 PPG. He's been efficient (although limited in shots) shooting 61% from the field. I suspect he'll get more shots tonight against our fairly weak front court.

R.J. Hunter could pose match-up problems for us in the backcourt. My guess is Obasohan and Cooper gets the majority of time defending him.

Season stats
- 91 PPG
- 6.66 blocks
- +6.7 rebound margin

The last one I listed bothers me as so far we have not been good rebounding the ball. If we allow GA State to get too many 2nd chances they will win. I hope Jacobs (who should be fired up to play against a state school) can help Cooper on the boards and maybe get Engstrom and Taylor involved as well.

This is a HUGE game for this program... win and we go to NYC to play Duke which win or lose (most likely lose) gives us a true barometer on the state of the program... and it's great exposure to play the NY Yankees/Dallas Cowboys/ Boston Celtics/Montreal Canadians of college basketball. We had this chance in 08 and blew it by getting thumped by Oregon in Maui (wish I still had the recording of that game... you could hear me curse out xCMG back from a TO). I'm going to be positive and predict a 5 point win.

Tipoff is 8PM EST (7PM CST) on ESPN3 again. Chances are I'm going to miss the game or if I'm lucky see the last 10 minutes of it.

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