Georgia at Ole Miss
- Georgia completes a 2-game road swing by playing Saturday at Ole Miss. The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 12-3 overall record, 1-1 in SEC games. Most recently, they dropped a 73-66 decision at Vanderbilt three nights ago. It was the team's first loss in almost seven weeks, ending a 9-game win streak, the program's longest since the 1982-83 season.
This road trip can more accurately be described as an odyssey. The Bulldogs left Athens last Tuesday by bus, headed toward Nashville amid uncertain travel conditions, at best. They were stranded in Nashville for Wednesday and Thursday nights, unable to land a plane at their home airport. They arrived in Oxford by bus on Friday afternoon. Because of the winter storm's remnant in Athens, they players have missed only minimal class time as the Spring Semester began this week.
Despite the loss at Vandy, Georgia arrives at today's game as a member of the current Associated Press Top 25. No Bulldog team since 2003 can make such a claim. This team entered the poll at 24th on Monday after its attention-grabbing victory over then-10th-rated Kentucky last weekend.
- These two programs played just once last season in the second game of the SEC schedule. Ole Miss, with a balanced attack and a bit of trickery at the end, took an 80-76 victory in that game.
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 25-19 / 2nd season
Overall Record/Years: 148-62 / 7th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore
|OLE MISS REBELS|
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Andy Kennedy
Record at UK / Years: 97-55 / 5th season
Overall Record / Years: 118-68 / 6th season
Assistant Coaches: Michael White, Owen Miller, Torrey Ward
Georgia vs. Ole Miss
- Saturday's game is the 104th all-time meeting between Georgia and Ole Miss in basketball. Georgia leads the series, which began in 1928 and has been renewed annually since 1947, by an 64-39 count.
Ole Miss, in fact, is one of just three SEC opponents against which Georgia has at least a .500 record in its all-time series. South Carolina (47-46) and Auburn (87-87) are the others. The Bulldogs are close to the .500 mark against several others: Florida (97-104) and Miss. State (49-51).
Georgia has won more games in Oxford (23) than at any other SEC road venue. The Bulldogs are 23-25 all-time there, including two wins in the most recent decade (2001, 2003). Ole Miss won the last meeting in Oxford by a 69-47 margin in the 2009 season.
- Geographically speaking, the series can be broken down as such:
In Athens: UGA leads 37-11
In Oxford: Ole Miss leads 24-23
Neutral Court Games: Games are tied 4-4
- In a season rife with non-conference upsets among SEC teams, Georgia somehow survived the bulk of its non-league slate unscathed. Before its loss at Vandy three nights ago, Georgia had the league's longest running win streak at nine games. It was the longest for a UGA team in almost 30 years, reaching back to the 1982-83 season, which ended with a trip to the NCAA Final Four.
- This year's Bulldogs also became just the third Georgia squad in 30 years to go undefeated in the month of December. The other two? Perhaps the two best teams in UGA history: 1982-83 and 2002-03.
- Georgia had 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. Today's game is the third 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 15 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, Kentucky and Vanderbilt 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.
- Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie have become two of the most prolific rebounders of recent UGA vintage. Not before Wednesday night, however, had they pulled down double-figure boards in the same contest. Each had 13 rebounds against Vanderbilt. In just 2 1/2 seasons, Thompkins now ranks 16th on the school's career rebounding list with 555 boards.
- Dogs Drop 1st Road Game of 2011
After going through the entire 2010 season without a true road victory, this year's Bulldogs were perfect on the road before dropping a close decision at Vandy on Wednesday. Georgia has won at 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 1,115 points and he could realistically climb over two more today.
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.