Basketball Preview: Jordan Harris debuts as Georgia takes on SMU

Senior guard, Jordan Harris plays in his season debut as the Georgia Bulldogs Basketball team takes on the SMU Mustangs Today @ 7:00PM ET.
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Through 9 games this season, the Georgia Bulldogs have a turnover ratio of 0.7, which ranks 181st among Division 1 teams. Surely, they'll have to wait until next season to add more ball handlers, right?

Wrong.

After serving a 9-game suspension due to an "internal matter" according to Coach Tom Crean, senior guard, Jordan Harris will finally make his season debut.

Harris isn't the much-needed big-man that bulldog fans wish could appear out of thin air, but bringing his talents into the mix adds a ton of value into Georgia's frontcourt. The Bulldogs are longing for another scoring threat behind Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds, and Jordan Harris might just be that guy.

Harris ranked fifth on the team in scoring last year with just 7.8 PPG. But the real magic came during the final stretch of the season. He posted double-digits in 10 of the team's last 14 games, including a 26-point outing in the 1st round of the SEC Tournament.  To have a guard who can consistently score in double-digits against SEC opponents, as Harris did, is a luxury. 

Harris is also an efficient shooter, scoring on 48.7% of his attempts last season. When you add another consistent scoring threat in Jordan Harris into the game, it takes some of the defensive attention away from Edwards and Hammonds, leading to more scoring opportunities. 

Nonetheless, the Georgia Bulldogs will look to improve to (6-0) inside Stegeman Coliseum, and (7-3) on the year against an (8-1) Southern Methodist squad.

ESPN's Basketball Power Index gives Georgia a 63.6% chance to win this game.

Just last weekend, the Bulldogs fell to Arizona State on the road, 79-59, in a game where they were tormented on the low block. The Bulldogs also failed to get anything going offensively, shooting a poor 34.8%.

The SMU Mustangs experienced a similar circumstance, losing to Georgetown at home, 91-74. The Mustangs allowed the Hoyas to sink 14 3-pointers and shoot 55.7% from the field. Like the Dawgs, the Mustangs struggled on the offensive end, shooting just 35.6%. 

While Georgia's issues have been on the defensive side of the ball, playing against an SMU team that ranks 122nd in the country in total offense could allow them to work on defensive kinks. 

Georgia's two leading scorers, Anthony Edwards (19.9 PPG) and Rayshaun Hammonds (13.6 PPG) combined for just 17 points in the Bulldogs last outing. It's going to be very hard for Georgia to win any game when those two aren't scoring near their averages. Tom Crean has to find a way to get them back in a rhythm offensively.

SMU is led by sophomore guard, Kendric Davis, who is averaging 16 PPG and 7 APG. Davis has only played in 5 of the Mustangs' 9 games, but so far, the offense has flowed through him. 

Down low for SMU, its been the 6'8 forwards, Feron Hunt (13.7 PPG) and Isiah Mike (15.3 PPG) on offense. The Bulldogs have struggled against bigger guys in the post, but with Hunt and Mike being listed at 195 lbs. and 215 lbs. respectably, that gives favorable match-ups for Georgia's post threats.

Georgia's Top Post Options:

Rayshaun Hammonds, 6'9 235 lbs.

Toumani Camara, 6'8 220 lbs.

Rodney Howard, 6'11 245 lbs. 

Mike Peake, 6'8 220 lbs.

*Amanze Ngumezi, 6'9 235 lbs. (Not expected to be available due to suspension)

 Keys to the game for Georgia:

1. Find a way to stop Kendric Davis.

Georgia allowed Arizona State's Remy Martin to put up 23 points and 6 assists. Most of Georgia's defensive break downs on Martin came from switching on man-to-man defense. And when the facilitator of the offense has a good day, everyone around him usually has the same. The Bulldogs need to have a better defensive game plan set up against the 5'11 point guard to limit that offense. 

2. Move without the ball on offense. 

While Georgia's offense has vastly improved, ranking 12th in the country in total scoring, the offense has gotten stagnant at times. Adding another talented guard in Jordan Harris will help, but the Bulldogs also need to have more movement without the ball to prevent forcing shots. 

Though it can be tempting to stand and watch a guy like Anthony Edwards go to work with the basketball, it kills the offense and allows defenders to slack off their man to help against Ant. 

3. Give "Ant-Man" more touches.

This aspect is going to be the key for Georgia in almost every game. In the loss to Arizona State, Edwards only shot the ball 12 times, with the majority of those attempts being in the first half. In 5 of Georgia's 6 wins, he's shot the ball at least 15 or more times. When you put the ball in his hands, there's a better chance he shoots the ball; and the more Edwards shoots, the better the chance Georgia has at winning.

Georgia tips off against SMU at 7:00 PM EST on Friday. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.