So what school has the best men’s college basketball team in the state this year?
In most years, one of those is the easy answer.
That’s not the case this year as the Bulldogs are searching for answers after losing their best two players last year to the NBA draft and the Yellow Jackets are working through head coach Brian Gregory’s first season.
That really leaves Georgia State and Mercer this year going after the title of top team in the state. And with all due respect to the Panthers, the Bears are right here in our back yard, so let’s focus on them.
Bob Hoffman’s Bears are 12-7 overall and 4-2 in the A-Sun after staying around .500 during Hoffman’s first three years as he continues to build his program. That program is taking a big step forward this year, and big things could be coming for the Bears the rest of the season.
They are second in the conference, and they already have two road wins in conference play, winning at Lipscomb and USC Upstate (on top of winning at Georgia Tech and Navy in non-conference action). Winning on the road in conference always puts a team ahead of the game, and that’s exactly where the Bears are, but now they have to take advantage.
This week could be a big step toward doing that.
On Friday, the Bears host Kennesaw State, and then they host North Florida on Jan. 21 and Jacksonville on Jan. 23 in an important home stretch of games. Those three teams are a combined 3-13 in conference play, and Jacksonville (0-5) and Kennesaw State (0-6) are the bottom two teams in the A-Sun standings.
These are games the Bears have to win to keep their roll going. They can’t allow the momentum they have built with their strong play through their first 19 games to slow any by stumbling at home against struggling teams.
But with the way the Bears are playing, that probably won’t be a problem. Mercer is a fun team to watch, and it is a young team that plays hard each night. That’s the kind of team fans should want to get out and watch and get behind to support. It’s the kind of team that can have a special year.
And this season, it just might be the best team in Georgia.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org