5 things to watch in Georgia State vs. Arkansas-Little Rock

(Photo courtesy of Randy Wilson and Georgia State)

(Photo courtesy of Randy Wilson and Georgia State)

The Georgia State men’s basketball team (12-6, 5-4 Sun Belt) will play at Arkansas-Little Rock (18-2, 8-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Arkansas-Little Rock is surprisingly atop the Sun Belt, while the Panthers have fallen to fifth place. The league is so bunched up, though, that should Georgia State win it could move into second place.

Last games

The Panthers were beaten by Arkansas State 75-69 in overtime.

Arkansas-Little Rock defeated Georgia Southern 80-67.

Who are the expected starters for Georgia State?

I’m going to go off on a tangent here and for a second and propose a scenario.

It’s no secret that Georgia State’s offense is struggling mightily. It’s offense is the worst in the Sun Belt and one of the worst in Division I. It’s also no secret that it doesn’t seem to have a true point guard that is seeing minutes. It’s not the entire reason that the offense is struggling, but it’s not helping.

Isaiah Williams and Isaiah Dennis seem better as a second or third guard, rather than a ball-handling guard.

It may be time to give Austin Donaldson a run at the position and see what happens. The true freshman can’t be redshirted because he has been included in a few minutes in a few games. So, play him and see what happens. He may be the only true point guard on the roster.

When nothing else seems to be working — and the team is two-thirds of the way through the season so there’s little reason to think anything is going to change the efficiency of the offense now — it’s time to change the personnel.

At the very least, give him 5-8 minutes in the first half and see what he can do. If he plays well, so much the better. If he doesn’t, you can build on what he did well and try to improve what he didn’t.

I made a similar case for Jeff Thomas after the loss to Appalachian State and that didn’t turn out so well based upon his 1-of-11 shooting performance against Arkansas State. But the results could pay off as soon as Saturday or later in the season.

Having said that…

G Kevin Ware. Averaging 13.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. If you click on the link embedded above, you will see that statistically he is really struggling on offense the past few games.

G Austin Donaldson. It won’t happen because you don’t give a true freshman his first start in an important game, but see above.

F Jeremy Hollowell. Averaging a team-high 14.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Fouled out with more than seven minutes remaining in regulation in the loss to Arkansas State.

G Jeff Thomas. Averaging 6.6 points per game. Yes he struggled in the last game, but he is arguably the best jump shooter on the team, even if those shots didn’t fall Thursday. Plus, the Panthers need points.

F TJ Shipes. Averaging 5.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Has been playing very well the past few games.

3 key facts about Georgia State

Panthers are averaging 66.4 points per game, last in the Sun Belt and in the bottom sixth of Division I teams.

Panthers are allowing 63.5 points per game overall, among the top 20 in Division I.

Past four opponents have hit 11, 9, 12 and 7 3-pointers against Georgia State’s defense. Hunter used some man to man in the last game, which worked for a while.

Who are the key players for Arkansas-Little Rock?

Marcus Johnson Jr is averaging 13.5 points per game and hitting 44.2 percent of his 3-pointers.

Josh Haggins is averaging 12.2 points per game with 4.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds.

Jalen Jackson is averaging 9.1 points per game.

3 key facts about Arkansas-Little Rock

The Trojans are averaging 70.6 points per game and allowing 58.6.

The Trojans are hitting 37.1 percent of their 3-pointers.

Opponents are hitting 31.9 percent of their 3-pointers.

Is it on the radio?

Yes. 1340AM and 88.5FM. Dave Cohen and Brandon Leak will be your hosts.

Is it on TV?

Yes, it’s on ESPN3.

Can I follow you on Twitter?

Sure, but only if you follow me @DougRobersonAJC

Here are more posts:

Trent Miles reviews Georgia State’s special teams and recruiting

Trent Miles reviews Georgia State’s offense

Trent Miles reviews Georgia State’s defense

Georgia State finds out its Sun Belt opponents for 2016

Georgia State welcomes six early enrollees

Georgia State adds Tennessee State to football schedule

Georgia State’s Hart named All-American

Ongoing review/preview series

Offensive line

Wide receivers

Running backs

Quarterbacks

Ongoing 2016 schedule previews

Wisconsin

Tennessee-Martin

Air Force

Ball State

 


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