Before he walked out of his post-game news conference following Tuesday’s 72-60 loss to Florida, Georgia head coach Mark Fox made mention that a solution to the turnover woes that have plagued his team would be to slow the tempo down offensively.
Having had a couple of days to think about the game, that does appear to be something Fox will look to implement before Saturday’s game against Tennessee.
In the loss to Florida, Georgia turned the ball over 16 times, which was just over its season average of 14. In 15 of Georgia’s 24 games, the Bulldogs have committed more turnovers against the opposition.
The same has occurred in eight of Georgia’s 11 SEC games.
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A lot of factors are involved, Fox said. Some of it has had to do with Georgia being impatient with the basketball. Some of it has had to do with operating too quickly during the half-court set. Forcing a pass to a covered player has occurred too much to Fox’s liking as well.
And then there are the offensive fouls that Georgia has dealt with. Post-up fouls and moving screens have been something the interior players have dealt with all season long. Point is, the Bulldogs, at 13-11 and 4-7 in the SEC, have to figure out something to fix this problem over their final seven regular-season games.
"I think we have to take better care of the basketball," Fox said. "Some of that is decision making. I think at times we’ve played faster than we’ve played well, and we have to learn how to manage the tempo. But we may have to pull the reins back a little bit. That turnover number has been a problem."
Given the roster’s makeup, Georgia was seen as a team that could push the tempo against other teams during the year. That hasn’t been the norm for previous teams Fox has coached. Whether opposing teams made or missed shots, the Bulldogs have pushed the ball up the court looking for transition buckets.
That won’t necessarily change with any adjustments Fox makes for his players. But the Bulldogs, he said, will need to be smarter about when to take those kind of chances.
"We don’t want to go at a snail’s pace, certainly," Fox said. "We want to make sure we’re very diligent in trying to hit singles instead of so many triples. We also to have to be more careful in the half-court (offense) and not be so careless. We’ve had some careless turnovers too. I don’t think we’re far away from a number that would be really helpful for us but we got to cut it down a little bit."
Having lost six of its past eight games, Georgia has worked its way off of the NCAA Tournament bubble, at least for the time being. It will likely take a substantial winning streak to close the season to work back onto it, although tough conference games against Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas are on the slate.
Georgia doesn’t have a margin of error anymore when it comes to wins and losses. With turnovers playing a major role in Georgia’s season to date, trying a new approach on offense to limit them is certainly needed.
"It’s that simple. Take care of the ball and don’t give it to the other team," Georgia guard Juwan Parker said.