Georgia Visits Vanderbilt for SEC Road Opener
- Georgia hits the road for the first time in its SEC schedule with a Wednesday night contest at Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs come to Nashville with a 12-2 overall record, 1-0 in the SEC, after opening the league schedule by defeating then 10th-ranked Kentucky 77-70 in Athens last Saturday.
The Bulldogs enter this contest riding an SEC-best 9-game winning streak. Their last loss came almost seven weeks ago to then-21st-ranked Temple in the second round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando. To find the school's last 9-game win streak, one must reach back to the 1982-83 season, when the Final Four-bound Bulldogs began their campaign with a 9-0 mark.
- Georgia will also try for its fourth straight win in a true road game. Its last road win in SEC competition came on March 4, 2009 at Kentucky. The Bulldogs will attempt to prolong this streak in a venue that has yielded little success over the years. Their last win at Memorial Gym was five years ago, and Georgia is 11-45 all-time against Vanderbilt there.
- These two programs met three times last season. They split the regular-season series -- Georgia winning 72-58 in Athens and Vandy taking the return matchup in Nashville 96-94 in overtime -- before the Commodores won a second-round SEC tournament game over the Bulldogs by a 78-66 tally.
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 26-19 / 2nd season
Overall Record/Years: 149-62 / 7th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore
|F||5||Lance Goulbourne||6-8||225||Jr.||Flossmoor, Ill.||8.6||7.2|
|C||3||Festus Ezeli||6-11||255||Jr.||Benin City, Nigeria||12.6||6.5|
|G||1||Brad Tinsley||6-3||210||Jr.||Oregon City, Ore.||9.6||5.1#|
|G||23||John Jenkins||6-4||215||So.||Hendersonville, Tenn.||18.5||2.8|
|G||44||Jeffrey Taylor||6-7||225||Jr.||Norrkoping, Sweden||14.5||4.9|
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Record at VU / Years: 224-140 / 12th season
Overall Record / Years: 346-203 / 18th season
Basketball Staff: Brad Frederick, Dan Muller, King Rice, Tom Richardson
- Wednesday's game is the 131st all-time meeting between these two schools in basketball. Vanderbilt leads the series, which began in 1914 and has been renewed annually since 1951, by an 82-48 count.
- This year marks the 53rd time that Georgia and Vanderbilt have played a home-and-home series. Georgia has swept the series just seven times, and not since 2001. The two schools have split their series nine of the past 10 years.
- Oddly, these two programs have met twice in post-season play on their respective home courts. Georgia defeated Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym in the 1991 SEC Tournament second round. Seven years later, Georgia defeated Vandy at Stegeman Coliseum in the NIT third round.
- Geographically speaking, the series can be broken down as such:
In Athens: UGA leads 33-26
In Nashville: VU leads 50-13
Neutral-Court Games: VU leads 5-3
- Nashville has proven to be a graveyard of sorts for nationally-ranked Georgia teams. Before tonight, six Bulldog teams traveled there as occupants of the AP Top 25. Just one of them left with a victory. The list of those games follows:
1/30/84: Vandy 81, #18 Georgia 74
1/14/89: Vandy 76, #20 Georgia 75
12/11/90: Vandy 75, #13 Georgia 74 (OT)
1/8/97: #24 Georgia 61, Vandy 53
1/26/02: Vandy 86, #15 Georgia 84
1/29/03: Vandy 94, #15 Georgia 91
- In a season rife with non-conference upsets among SEC teams, Georgia now sports the league's longest winning streak at nine games.
- Georgia has spent all of December playing a 5-game diet of teams whose average RPI rating is 259. During that time, its own RPI rating dropped from near 40 to near 60, despite winning all five games. The Bulldogs have begun to experience a large upgrade in schedule difficulty. Tonight's game is the second in a 4-game series during which their opponents have an average RPI of 26.
- Lest we not forget, the beginning of the SEC schedule for Georgia does not mean the end of its non-conference slate. The Bulldogs, for the first time in four years, will fill the "bye" date in its league schedule by playing a non-league opponent. This year, they'll play host to A10 foe Xavier on Tuesday, Feb. 8. The Musketeers have played home-and-home series recently against Auburn, Florida, LSU, Tennessee and now Georgia.
- Last season, 13 of Georgia's 31 games were considered "close" by the following definition: 2-possession game inside the final minute of play. The Bulldogs were 5-8 in those games. This season, 10 of Georgia's 14 games thus far fit that definition, including the first eight, and the Bulldogs are 8-2 in those contests. Only the Arkansas State, High Point, Charleston Southern and Kentucky games did NOT follow that theme. Five of those close games, in fact, were decided on the final possession.
- One by-product of so many close games is a starting five that has been heavily taxed through the pre-conference schedule. Until recently, Georgia had been the SEC's only team that had four starters averaging over 30 minutes per game. Mississippi State has become the 2nd team with such a status.
Dogs Perfect on the Road
After going through the entire 2010 season without a true road victory, this year's Bulldogs are perfect in their first three tries this year. Georgia has now won on the home courts of St. Louis, Georgia Tech and Mercer.
Georgia's wins on the road distinguish it from five of its SEC brethren, who have yet to win a true road game this season.
The 2010 Bulldogs' road struggles appear to be an anomaly among teams coached by Mark Fox. In his 6+ years as a head coach, his teams have won an impressive 60 percent of their road games (49-32), and that mark includes last year's 0-11 record.
Some historical perspective: just one Georgia team in the past 10 -- and just six teams over the past 20 years -- have gone at least .500 in true road games. The 2002 team, which won a share of the SEC East title, went 6-5 on the road. Other .500 road teams in the past 20 years: 1998 (6-6); 1997 (5-5); 1995 (7-5); 1991 (8-5); and 1990 (6-6).
Thompkins Reaches 1,000
Late in the Arkansas State game on Dec. 18, junior Trey Thompkins became the 40th player in UGA history to reach 1,000 for his career. The most recent Bulldog to reach that milestone was Terrance Woodbury in 2009. Already, Thompkins has climbed over 11 people on Georgia's career scoring chart with 1,102 points and he could realistically climb over two more tonight.
That Thompkins not only participated in the Old Spice Classic but affected the outcome of each game were minor miracles in themselves. He was cleared to practice just one day before the Bulldogs departed for Orlando. He had gone 25 days without participating before diving in on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Robinson a Difference Maker
Last season head coach Mark Fox noted that Gerald Robinson, who sat out the 2010 year after transferring from Tennessee State, would have tilted the balance in Georgia's favor in several of its close games. Through December this season, Robinson has delivered clutch plays that directly resulted in three Bulldog victories:
11/20 at St. Louis: Robinson drove the lane, drew three defenders and, in heavy traffic, fed Jeremy Price for a game-winning layup with :01 left.
12/2 vs. UAB: Robinson scored four points and had a key rebound in the final 14 seconds of perhaps the Bulldogs' best win of the season thus far.
12/7 at Georgia Tech: Robinson scored a key basket and assisted Dustin Ware on the biggest bucket of the game, a 3-pointer that broke a 70-all tie with 18 seconds left.
Nolte a Masked Man No More
Junior Connor Nolte suffered a broken nose during a first-half collision with teammate Travis Leslie in the St. Louis game Nov. 20. He finished the game unprotected, but was fitted the following week for a protective mask. Nolte underwent surgery Nov. 29 to have his nose re-set and he wore the mask until recently, when he was given the green light to play without protection.
UGA Returns to AP Top 25 Poll
The Georgia basketball team is breathing some rarified air these days.
A home victory over 10th-ranked Kentucky, boosting their overall record to 12-2, has vaulted the Bulldogs into the weekly Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in almost eight years.
Georgia checks in at No. 24 in the poll with 145 points, just ahead of No. 25 Cincinnati. Not since March 10, 2003 has a Georgia team been ranked nationally, when that Bulldog team was 21st in the final regular-season poll. The 2003 Georgia squad spent the entire SEC schedule in the Top 25, reaching as high as 15th.
The program's highest-ever ranking was achieved in the poll of Dec. 11, 1990, when the Bulldogs were ranked 11th