2013-14 Preview: Georgia Bulldogs
Achieving .500 might be a challenge for a potentially feeble Georgia offense
2012-13: 15-17 (9-9 SEC)
In-conference offense: 0.97 points per possession (10th)
In-conference defense: 1.00 points allowed per possession (5th)
Teams that go 15-17 overall are not supposed to record five-game winning streaks in major-conference play, but that's what Georgia did between late January and early February last season. If Mark Fox is looking for an inspirational anecdote as his Bulldogs adjust to life without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, he could do worse than point to what UGA was able to accomplish during that stretch, particularly on defense.
The bad news for Georgia fans that prefer an up-tempo style is that a fast pace is bad news for their team. The Dawgs excelled when they slowed things down, and in wins against Texas A&M (twice), Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee, Fox's men averaged just 59 possessions per 40 minutes.
Those opponents weren't exactly what you'd call a murderers' row, but three of UGA's five wins in that stretch came on the road, and by any measure the Dawgs' D was impressive. In those five victories, Georgia limited opponents to 36 percent 2-point shooting and just 0.89 points per possession.
For the conference season as a whole, UGA had the best interior D in the league, limiting SEC opponents to 41 percent accuracy inside the arc. Fox will look to extend that performance into 2013-14, but saying the Bulldogs have lost their best player from last season would be putting things mildly.
Caldwell-Pope became the first Georgia player to win SEC Player of the Year since Dominique Wilkins in 1980-81. Take a bow, UGA, but when you have the conference player of the year, you should probably do better than 0.97 points per trip on offense.
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