Tennessee hasn’t been playing their best ball of late. And that was apparent again on Saturday, as the No. 18 Vols made the trip down to Athens, Georgia and were handed an ugly loss, falling to the Bulldogs 73-62.
The Vols escaped an upset bid by South Carolina on Tuesday in Knoxville after getting blown out on the road by Alabama last Saturday. And this Saturday saw more bad basketball by Tennessee. Georgia (15-11, 6-8) led for almost the entire game, holding the edge in scoring over the Vols (19-7, 9-5) for nearly 32 minutes of the game.
Rick Barnes and the Vols have had the tendency to flounder in February the past few years. And right now, it’s looking like that might be the case this season as well.
Here are our three biggest takeaways from Tennessee’s grisly loss to Georgia.
Georgia Got Their Way
The Bulldogs like to play ugly, slow basketball. That’s usually how they get their wins. And that’s exactly what they got on Saturday.
Tennessee got off a ton more sots than Georgia, but the Bulldogs shot a great deal more free throws. The Vols put up 63 field goal attempts while Georgia had just 47 shot attempts. But the Bulldogs sated this game away from the free throw line, attempted 38 free throws and making 27 of them while Tennessee only shot 15 free throws and made 10.
Georgia shot 42.6 percent in the game while Tennessee shot just 34.9 percent.
The Vols are generally good enough on defense to help their offense when it lags. But the offense was too bad for their defense to carry on Saturday.
Part of the reason Georgia was able to draw so many fouls and have as much success from the floor was because they played aggressive and got it inside. The scoring disparity down low wasn’t massive, but the Bulldogs did enough to outplay the Vols in the paint.
Georgia outscored Tennessee 28-20 down low, and that was in large part because of Derek Ogbeide. He totaled 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added 11 rebounds as well.
Kyle Alexander had a solid night for the Vols, but Grant Williams was rattled all night. Alexander put together a great effort, earning a double double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. But Williams was in foul trouble and ended up fouling out of the game. He finished with just five points and four rebounds. He only made one of his eight field goal attempts.
The Bad Dawg Luck Continues
For whatever reason, Georgia has owned the Vols in basketball lately. That trend continued on Saturday.
Georgia has now won five consecutive games against Tennessee in basketball, and the Vols still haven’t found a way to win in Athens since 2011. Rick Barnes is actually winless against Georgia during his time at Tennessee.
The Bulldogs have consistently been a thorn in Tennessee’s side over the last few years. And the Vols couldn’t shake them on Saturday.