Friday, February 11, 2011

A Short Rebuttal - Why Depresive Kyle is Mistaken

I am a big fan of T. Kyle King.  I was a nearly original subscriber to his emails in the nascent days of the Interwebs.  While I view his verbosity as a natural by-product of his law practice, from my personal interactions with him, I can say he is as well spoken and analytical in person as he is on Dawg Sports.  I also love any reference to my favorite scene of all of Anthony Hopkins' movie scenes, so his post deserves linking on that regard alone.

That being said, I disagree with his analysis that the Dawgs' NCAA tourney chances are as dead as Michelle Bachmann's Presidential election chances.  The Dawgs and Kentucky are the only teams in the SEC without a 'bad' loss.  They also have three games left in which they should be considered the absolute favorites, both South Carolina games and the LSU tilt at home.  They have two more games that they should be considered even, the home game against Vandy and the road game against Alabama.  Finally, Georgia is currently playing its worst basketball of the season, yet is staying with teams that, on paper, should be blowing them off the court.

I'll start with the last point.  There is no doubt, Georgia has gotten complacent with their defense.  In the Auburn game, that was illustrated by the drive to the basket at the end of regulation that tied the game.  Against Xavier, it was illustrated about 20 times with Ross driving to the basket.  I am not sure what has to give, but earlier in the season, the Dawgs were much better at defending inside.  The good news is that we don't play a team with looks to that first again until we get Scotty Hopson in Knoxville.  Of course, the bad news is that are inconsistent when we get a lead, something that I believe is keeping Kyle depressed.  Xavier should have pulled away for a huge win, yet until Trey fouled out, the Dawgs were in the game.  Furthermore, Georgia didn't play well in Lexington, but stayed close despite Trey just scoring nine points.  I can't talk about Florida, but suffice it to say, that could have been a win, yet the Dawgs turned the ball over 20 times.

Georgia's schedule is favorable.  Yes, they have to go to Gainesville and Knoxville.  Yes, they end the season at Alabama.  Yes, they only have three of their last seven games at home.  However, they also don't have any tough home games.  That is good for their RPI, since a home loss hurts more.  Right now, RPI is Georgia's friend.  Alabama might be leading the West and have the SEC's best recored, but they are sporting an RPI of 96.  As a frame of reference, the Dawgs are 46, even though they are 3 down in the loss column.  'Bama is being weighed down by the playing the SEC West and losses to teams like St. Peters (insert your own taffy pull joke here).  The other part of their favorable schedule is losses to highly rated RPI teams don't hurt as much as playing teams in the 150+ range.  True, losses matter in the standings, something that might weigh down Georgia, but it is my belief Georgia will head to Alabama with an over all record similar and a better RPI, making that game a de facto play in game.

Kyle, in his fashion, has an excellent break down of the statistics.  On paper, Georgia should dominate.  In reality, Georgia has to play a complete game in which they take smart shots, rebound with authority and shut down the lane for this to be a dominating win. Dominate the boards and keep the Gamecocks off the free thrown line and we'll be in it.  Allow them to drive the lane and laze toward the ball on shots, then we can start thinking about Mid-March home games.

He and I agree on this point, though: Georgia has probably needs to sweep South Carolina make the NCAA tourney, absent winning all the of rest of their games or the SEC tourney.  I believe we'll get the first half of that sweep tomorrow afternoon in Columbia.

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