Jan. 10, 2014
About the Game
- Georgia plays its first home game in three weeks when the Bulldogs entertain Alabama in the second SEC game of the league schedule. Both teams arrive at this contest having won their respective SEC openers this week, Bama defeating Vanderbilt at home and Georgia winning 70-64 at No. 21 Missouri on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs needed overtime for the first time this season in defeating the Tigers, who saw their national-best, 26-game home winning snapped in the process.
- Addtional significance of Georgia's win over Missouri: it marked the program's first road win over a Top 25 opponent since February of 2012, when Georgia upended 20th-ranked Miss. State in Starkville, also in OT; it marked Georgia's first win over an opponent with an RPI rating better than 200, causing its own RPI to jump over 70 spots; it was Georgia's first win in five tries over Missouri, first in two as fellow SEC members.
- The Missouri game, of course, was also Georgia's first since the passing of head coach Mark Fox's father, Raymond Lewis Fox, last Saturday in Garden City, Kan. Fox, along with his family and Director of Operations Kent Davison, attended funeral services on Tuesday before driving 500 miles to meet the team in Columbia, arriving at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
- Today's game is the only meeting this season between Georgia and Alabama. Bama owns a 93-47 lead in the all-time series, having won the past five meetings between the two. That includes a sweep in 2013, capped by a buzzer-beating, 61-58 win in Tuscaloosa in each team's regular-season finale.
- Georgia is in the midst of perhaps the most challenging portion of its 2014 schedule. The Bulldogs are currently playing a stretch of games in which they'll face a Top 100 RPI opponent in six of eight games. Before this stretch, Georgia had faced just one Top 100 team in Nebraska, which currently has a 83 RPI rating.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||6.5||4.6|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||6.5||4.2|
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||215||S0.||Lithonia, Ga.||9.6||3.8|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.4||2.9#|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||11.5||2.2|
#Assists Per Game
|ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE|
|F||11||Shannon Hale||6-8||220||Fr.||Johnson City, Tenn.||5.3||2.9|
|G||21||Rodney Cooper||6-6||215||Jr.||Hurtsboro, Ala.||6.6||4.4|
|G||20||Levi Randolph||6-5||205||Jr.||Madison, Ala.||10.0||4.4|
|G||32||Retin Obasohan||6-1||205||RSo.||Antwerp, Belgium||13.0||3.6|
|G||12||Trevor Releford||6-0||190||Sr.||Kansas City, Mo.||18.3||2.8a|
Head Coach: Anthony Grant
Record at Alabama / Years: 93-59 / 5th season
Overall Record / Years: 169-84 / 8th season
Assistant Coaches: John Brannen (Assoc. HC), Antoine Pettway, Tony Pujol
Georgia vs. Alabama
Saturday's game is the 141st meeting between Georgia and Alabama in basketball. Alabama leads the series, which began in 1922 and has continued annually since 1947, by a 93-47 count.
These two teams have met in the SEC Tournament 10 times and Alabama owns a 6-4 edge in those games. Georgia defeated Alabama 86-71 in the championship game of the 1983 tournament, a performance that served as a springboard for the Bulldogs' march to the NCAA Final Four that year.
This game holds particular significance for fourth-year Georgia assistant Philip Pearson. The Montgomery, Ala., native spent 16 years representing the Crimson Tide program, either as a player or coach, the last half-season (2009) as its interim head coach.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UA leads 32-29
Games in Tuscaloosa: UA leads 52-12
Neutral-Court Games: UA leads 9-6
SEC Tournament Games: UA leads 6-4
- A milestone is on the line for the Bulldogs on Saturday. A victory today would be Georgia's 500th all-time SEC win.
- Much has been made of the new enforcement of existing rules, as well as new rules, this season. Thus far, as all participants adjust to these changes, the volume of called fouls rose in the beginning but has leveled off recently. There has been an average of 40 fouls called in each of Georgia's games thus far this season, compared to 36 fouls per game last season.
- The Colorado game on Dec. 28 marked Georgia's seventh time this season shooting at least 50 percent from the field. As this week began, the Bulldogs ranked 44th nationally in field-goal percentage at 48.1. Additionally, the 2014 Georgia squad is averaging nearly 12 points more than last season (71.6 to 60.8) and shooting almost eight percentage points higher (47.7 to 40.8 percent). Four regulars are currently shooting over 50 percent, including Nemi Djurisic, who also leads the Bulldogs in shooting 51 percent from 3-point range.
- Perhaps no statistic has had a greater effect on Georgia's fate this season than in rebounding. Simply stated, when the Bulldogs have outrebounded their opponent, they've won. When they haven't, they've lost. In Georgia's seven wins, the Bulldogs have compiled a +11.1 rebounding margin, topped by a 49-24 difference in the season opener against Wofford. Their rebounding margin in six losses is -4.5. Most recently, Georgia posted +9 rebounding edge over Missouri, which entered the game with a +9 rebounding margin itself.
- Additional findings in the wins vs. losses: > Georgia's scoring has remained fairly constant throughout the young season. However, in its seven wins, its opponents have averaged scoring just 58.9 points. In the six losses, the opponents have averaged 81.2 points. > Shooting percentages are fairly consistent with winning and losing. When Georgia wins: UGA FG% is 48.4, its opponents 36.6. When Georgia loses, its FG% is 47.0, its opponents 44.6%. Georgia has shot its free throws better in its losses (65.5%) than in its wins (62.9%). Its opponents have shot 66.9% from the line when Georgia wins and a whopping 81.8 percent when UGA loses. > Nemi Djurisic is Georgia's leading scorer in its seven wins (12.0 ppg, 65% 3FG%). Charles Mann, UGA's leading scorer overall, leads Georgia in its six losses (16.5 ppg) but has only the third-best average in its seven wins (10.3 ppg)
- As Georgia finds its best rotation, the Bulldogs are one of seven SEC schools with no player currently averaging 30 minutes of playing time per game. Alabama and Missouri lead this category with three 30-minute players each.
- Georgia began this season amidst low expectations...externally, anyway. The Bulldogs were picked by the media that cover SEC basketball to finish 11th in the 14-team league, ahead of only South Carolina, Mississippi State and Auburn. Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee were picked 1-2-3 in the same poll. Additionally, no Bulldogs were selected to the 16-player pre-season All-SEC lists.
Offense on the Uptick
One thing is apparent through the early going this season: Georgia's offense appears to be measurably more effective than last season, even without its best scorer from 2013. In 10 of 12 games thus far, the Bulldogs have scored well over their seasonal average (60.8) of last season. The team's overall shooting percentage has also risen from 40.8 of last season to its current mark of 48.1.
Already, Georgia has shot over 50 percent from the field in seven games, more than twice as often as in all of 2012-13. The Bulldogs began this week ranking 39th nationally in FG percentage.
Williams a Seasoned Veteran
With Marcus Thornton receiving a medical redshirt season from 2013, Donte' Williams became the Bulldogs' lone senior this season. He is already the most experienced Bulldog, having started 71 games in the past two+ seasons. That's more than twice the total of Thornton, who is second on the team in career starts with 36, including seven in his truncated season of 2013. Williams entered this season with 471 career points, second among all Bulldogs behind Nemi Djurisic, who has tallied 475 in two seasons.
- Four Bulldogs this season have made their first starts at the Division 1 collegiate level: Kenny Gaines, Cameron Forte, Juwan Parker and Taylor Echols.
- One effect of not having Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on this year's team: last year, 30 percent of Georgia's total field goals were scored from 3-point range. This year, just 16 percent thus far have come from beyond the arc. Perhaps another way to view this difference: last season's Georgia team averaged scoring 22 points in the paint area. This season, that number thus far has risen to 36.8 points in the paint.
Most discussion involving KCP's absence has revolved around its effect on the Georgia offense. Little discussion has pertained to its effect on the Georgia defense, which this year has allowed its opponents a .405 overall field-goal percentage, .347 from 3-point range, compared to .388 and .329, respectively, with KCP in the lineup last season.
- On Dec. 28, when Colorado sank all 26 of its free-throw attempts, it marked the first time in almost 19 years a Bulldog opponent had shot 100 percent. Tennessee went 10x10 against Georgia on Feb. 11, 1995. That was 584 games ago. For Georgia, it's been 767 games since its last 100 percent shooting night...back to Jan. 14, 1989 vs. Vanderbilt (12x12).
- Georgia has now shot at least 50 percent from the field seven times this season. One more such outing and the Bulldogs will equal the number of 50 percent shooting games over the previous two seasons combined.