Thoughts ahead of Georgia State vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay

rj_hunter

The Georgia State men’s basketball team will take on Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday in the finale of a rare non-conference home-and-home.

The Panthers (7-3) destroyed Green Bay 72-48 at the Sports Arena on Dec. 4. The Phoenix (9-3) were No. 1 in RPI at the time.

Saturday’s game can be heard on 1340AM and 1230AM.

Here are two thoughts:

Another chance at a road win. The Panthers have true road (non-neutral) wins at Oakland and IUPUI, but those were teams they were supposed to beat. They have dropped games at Old Dominion, at Colorado State and at Iowa State. There’s no shame in any of the road losses, but the Panthers did lead both the Rams and the Monarchs in the second half before watching those wins slip away. Beating Green Bay on the road would add a boost of confidence going into the Sun Belt conference season. It won’t be easy. Wisconsin is a very good team. After being beaten by Georgia State, the Phoenix knocked off Miami (Fla.), Drake, Morehead State and Arkansas-Little Rock before losing to UC-Irvine. Green Bay is No. 18 in the recent RPI.

Kevin Ware keeps going. Coach Ron Hunter said he thought Kevin Ware may have played his best game in the recent win against Southern Miss. Ware finished with eight points, three steals and two rebounds. Hunter said he thinks Ware was trying too hard earlier in the season and just needs to relax. It’s a unique situation: before this season Ware hadn’t played consistent minutes since he suffered his leg injury in 2013 during the NCAA tournament while at Louisville. It’s a situation that Hunter said he’s learning how to coach. Hence, he has moved Ware back and forth between the starting lineup and reserves in an attempt to find what works best for him. It’s a tactic he has used in the past with players like Rashaad Richardson and Curtis Washington.

Here are some cut-and-paste notes courtesy of Jimmy Buffet fan and sports information director Mike Holmes:

  • Georgia State has won 29 of its last 35 games dating back to last season, including 28 of 32 regular season games.
  • Georgia State’s 7-3 start is tied for the third-best 10-game start in program history.
  • The Panthers have won 12 of their last 17 true road games dating back to last season.
  • Georgia State stood No. 40 in NCAA RPI rankings on Monday. The Panthers have been has high as 39 this season.
  • Georgia State is No. 12 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. The highest the Panthers have been this season is No. 9. Green Bay is No. 4.
  • R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow are combining to average 41.4 points per game, the second-most of any duo in the country.
  • With 1,343 points, R.J. Hunter is the No. 1 active scorer in the NCAA of all third-year players and the only junior ranked in the top 50.
  • The Panthers are playing a tough non-conference schedule. By the NCAA RPI, Georgia State already owns a win over then No. 1 Green Bay (Currently No. 18 and will face the Phoenix again Dec. 27), have tough losses to No. 12 Colorado State (still undefeated), No. 32 Iowa State (one loss) and No. 14 Old Dominion (one loss).
  • Georgia State is 29th in the NCAA with a 48.6 field goal percentage and 79th with a 37.4 3-point field goal percentage. Both marks are second in the Sun Belt. The Panthers have already had two of the top-10 field goal and 3-point field goal single-game shooting percentages in school history this year.
  • Georgia State is among the top 25 in the NCAA in three key stats. The Panthers are 11th in the nation averaging 9.7 steals per game, fourth in turnover margin, currently at +6.7 per game and 13th in turnovers, averaging just 10.4 per game.
  • Only six times in program history has a Panther averaged 20 or more points a game in a season. Georgia State currently has two accomplishing the feat. R.J. Hunter is second in the Sun Belt and is 13th in the nation with a 21.2 points per game average, while senior Ryan Harrow is third in the Sun Belt and 17th in the nation with a 20.2 points per game average. The last time it happened was when Thomas Terrell averaged 20.5 point per game during the 2001-02 season. The record is held by Ron Ricketts who averaged 21.1 points per game during the 1970-71 season.

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