Georgia’s NCAA tournament hopes take another hit

Cy Brown

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Things did not go so well for UGA hoops on Wednesday.

Yante Maten scores his 1,000th point as Dawgs lose to South Carolina

Georgia basketball fell to South Carolina, 67-61, at Stegeman Coliseum to slide to 9-5. The loss put the Bulldogs’ tournament chances into further doubt. Although, after so many losses to tournament-caliber teams during the out-of-conference portion of the schedule may have already made that unlikely. The one highlight for Georgia in the game, per usual, was the play of Yante Maten. Maten scored 18 points and pulled down 10 boards on his way to joining Georgia’s 1,000-point club.

Maten is the best player at Georgia in quite a few years, and it seems that more than anything Georgia needs Maten to be at his best to win ball games. Just look at his performance in the comeback to beat Auburn. (Having J.J. Frazier at that level also helps, and Frazier admitted he wasn’t there on Wednesday.) Maten’s ability to play high and low, bang in the post for rebounds and pop back out top to nail 3-pointers is a combo the Bulldogs haven’t had in years. When he’s off on any given night — like he was against South Carolina, shooting a measly 33 percent from the field and committing 6 turnovers — the Bulldogs don’t stand much of a chance.

It really sucks that one of the best players at Georgia in a few decades is surrounded by a fairly weak supporting cast, sans Frazier. There are definitely pieces that could work. It will just take some more time. Maten may not give that time, though. For the first time since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, UGA has a player with the chance to jump into the NBA early. If he does decide to come back for his senior season, he should be surrounded by a more well-rounded supporting cast but may not have a partner in crime as good as Frazier.

Regardless, for this season, there isn’t enough talent spread throughout the squad to pick up the slack on nights Maten falls short. Which is a shame, because we might not remember him for being as special a player as he is.

RIP Big Dawg

UGA superfan Mike Woods reportedly died Wednesday night. He loved the University of Georgia, that’s for damn sure.

DGD.

It’s all coming together

UGA recruiter-in-chief Richard LeCounte III was hard at work during Army All-American Bowl practice on UGA’s top remaining target, DT Aubrey Solomon.

It’s been something to watch this recruiting class develop over the last cycle. Not only because of the caliber of player that is committed to Georgia, but because of the evident camaraderie shared between the recruits. And this isn’t from a player committed to the Dawgs. Fellow players are always better recruiters than coaches, and Georgia’s commits this year have made it a point to create the best class it possibly can. Through camps and games such as the Army All-American game, these guys forge friendships. Who wouldn’t want to go to school with all their friends?

This is going to be the best UGA recruiting class in quite a while, and it’s all because of the incoming players’ commitments to make the team as good as possible. If they have this much passion on the recruiting trail, imagine the passion they’ll bring to the gridiron. And if they have this strong of a bond while living in separate cities, towns and states, imagine their bond when they’re eating, living and working together.

Llama on the loose

There was a llama loose in Athens on Wednesday. [Inset “Sign him up, Kirby” joke]

ICYMI

Good dog

Dog at a hockey game?

Dog at a hockey game.