Tuesday, March 13, 2007

FSU v. Georgia Preview

Key to the game: UGA Junior Forward Takais Brown

The Fresno State Bulldogs traveled to Athens Georgia for a 4pm tipoff at Stegeman Coliseum to face the Georgia Bulldogs. This is the third meeting for the two teams with the series split 1-1. Fresno State enters with a 22-9 record while Georgia enters with an 18-13 record. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and will be called by Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes.

Keys for the Georgia Bulldogs:

-High intensity from the opening tip as FSU struggles early
-Establish Takais Brown in the post early and often
-Brown must react to the double team quickly either score it or find open shooters
-Levi Stukes must get some early looks from three
-Get to the free throw line and get FSU in foul trouble (no depth)
-Outrebound FSU like they have done to teams all season
-Pound the Bulldogs on the offensive glass
-Force turnovers and frustrate Forward Dominic McGuire and Quinton Hosley
-Make plays defensively and get into transition

Keys for the Fresno State Bulldogs:

-Avoid early lapses defensively and quick shots in the opening minutes
-Double team Takais Brown quick and recover to shooters
-Do not give Brown the same look continuously, get in his head.
-McGuire and Hosley cannot afford early foul issues
-Show patience offensively and value possessions
-Take advantage of free throw attempts by making 70%
-Kevin Bell being assertive and scoring on penetration
-Eddie Miller and Hector Hernandez need to provide some 3 pt shooting

Random thoughts on the Bulldogs of Fresno State:

Come out ready to play and if there is any hint of let up or sluggishness, Coach Steve Cleveland must call a timeout. They should not fall in love with the three point shot early. Kevin Bell on penetration, or post ups from Hosley and McGuire should be focal points early.

Eddie Miller will get open looks off of effective offensive execution in the early going. He must allow the game to come to him along with Hector Hernandez. Miller must also be willing to put the ball on the floor to create for himself or others. He has improved on that facet as of late.

Bench play, well the 3 potential contributors, could be key. Although the starters expect to log minutes in the mid to upper 30s, a contribution from Alex Blair (Flu last time out) Sean Taylor (A homecoming game basically) or AJ Riding (Senior walk-on guard) would be helpful.

Blair and Taylor could aid in the defense of Brown and provide help on the boards and energy on both ends of the floor. Their impact can be made in few minutes. Its not that they need to score but rather a steal, block, offensive or defensive rebound, or keeping a ball alive to make a play.

In the end though, the key to the game rests in the hands of the senior Hosley, McGuire, and Bell. They will be the three that have done the most late in the season and will be counted on yet again to play huge minutes but perform consistent and on both ends of the floor.

MBs Take:

It’s a road game, but it wont be as hostile as the WAC road games the Bulldogs were able to win late in the season. With Georgia on Spring Break, it looks to be a smaller crowd then the season average.

Dominic McGuire was a man in the first half of the Boise game, he was hampered without Hosley in the second half. If he can continue play on that level and Hosley can bring back his inspired play then things will go well.

Kevin Bell has been great late in the season, he is scoring more and has raised his assists per game also. He will need to control tempo and keep everyone on the same page. It wont be a running game, but it wont be a grind it out halfcourt affair. He is in charge of finding that balance.

All that said, I think that the Fresno State Bulldogs will leave Athens with a 4 point victory.

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