Entering the college basketball season, it was pretty easy to see that it could be a difficult campaign for Georgia and Georgia Tech.
So far, it has been.
But the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets can put those troubles behind them starting Saturday when they jump into conference play.
Georgia took a big hit last year with the NBA draft as Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie both moved on to the pro game a year early. When a team loses its two best players, it make sense that it’s going to take a step back, and the Bulldogs have done that so far with an up-and-down start to their season.
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Georgia is 9-5 entering Saturday’s SEC opener as it is rides a five-game winning streak. But the Bulldogs also have had a three-game winning streak and a four-game losing streak.
That kind of inconsistency comes from a team trying to fit in new pieces and find go-to players to lead the way, and it likely will continue the rest of the season as the Bulldogs look for answers.
The Yellow Jackets have been even more inconsistent in head coach Brian Gregory’s first season, but that is certainly to be expected. There’s a reason Georgia Tech fired former head coach Paul Hewitt. Schools don’t dismiss coaches when things are going well, and the program that Gregory inherited was a mess.
The Yellow Jackets are 7-7 entering ACC play. They had won three straight but have lost their past three to Mercer, Fordham and Alabama, which won 73-48 on Tuesday.
But again, the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets can move past their struggles starting Saturday, although both have tough roads to tip off conference play.
Georgia opens against an improved Alabama team and then heads to Florida on Tuesday and to Vanderbilt on Jan. 14. Georgia Tech hosts Duke on Saturday and then travels to N.C. State on Wednesday to Maryland on Jan. 15.
That’s a difficult week for both teams and really could continue the struggles for the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets. But if they can get things going to find some answers and some consistency, they could turn things around a little bit and get their seasons going in the right direction.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org