Jan. 17, 2014
About the Game
Georgia returns home to continue its SEC schedule with a Saturday afternoon contest against Arkansas. It's the first of two meetings between these two teams this season, the second of which will be in Fayetteville on March 1. They did not play in Athens last season.
The Bulldogs arrive at this game with an 8-7 overall record, 2-1 in SEC games. Most recently, they dropped a 72-50 decision at 7th-ranked Florida on Tuesday night. Marcus Thornton was Georgia's only starter to reach double figures in scoring (11) and he led the Bulldogs in rebounding with seven. Freshman reserve guard Juwan Parker had team scoring honors for the second time this season with 13 points.
Sophomore guard Charles Mann on Monday was named SEC Player of the Week. The Alpharetta, Ga., native led Georgia in scoring with 18 points as the Bulldogs won at No. 21 Missouri on Jan. 8. Three days later he shared team scoring honors with Kenny Gaines (22 points) when Georgia defeated Alabama at home. Against Missouri, the last two of Mann's 18 points gave the Bulldogs the lead for good with 34 seconds left in overtime. In all, he played 80 of a possible 85 minutes through both of Georgia's wins, logging a career-high 42 at Missouri.
Mann is Georgia's first SEC P-O-W since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope won the honor on Feb. 4 of last season.
Saturday's game will be the 31st all-time meeting between Georgia and Arkansas. The Razorback lead the series 17-13, having won last season's only meeting, played Feb. 21 in Fayettevile, by a 62-60 margin. Georgia won the last meeting in Athens by an 81-59 score in the 2012 season.
Georgia is wrapping up what has turned out to be the most challenging portion of its 2014 schedule. Today's game marks the sixth consecutive RPI Top 100 opponent for the Bulldogs. Four of those were Top 50 at game time. The difficulty of its schedule, combined with a win last week at 21st-rated Missouri, caused Georgia's own RPI rating to jump over 100 spots.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||7.0||5.1|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.7||5.1|
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||215||So.||Lithonia, Ga.||8.8||3.5|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.6||2.9a|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||11.7||2.3|
#Assists Per Game
|F||4||Coty Clarke||6-7||232||Sr.||Birmingham, Ala.||8.3||5.8|
|F||10||Bobby Portis||6-10||242||Fr.||Little Rock, Ark.||12.4||6.6|
|G||00||Rashad Madden||6-5||180||Jr.||Lepanto, Ark.||11.7||2.2|
|G||12||Fred Gulley III||6-2||182||RSr.||Fayetteville, Ark.||3.9||1.5|
|G||24||Michael Qualls||6-6||210||So.||Shreveport, La.||13.0||5.0a|
Head Coach: Mike Anderson
Record at Colorado / Years: 49-31 / 3rd season
Overall Record / Years: 249-129 / 12th season
Assistant Coaches: Melvin Watkins (Assoc. HC), TJ Cleveland, Matt Zimmerman
Georgia vs. Arkansas
Saturday's game is the 31st all-time meeting between Georgia and Arkansas in basketball. Arkansas holds a 17-13 lead in the series. These two schools had never met before 1992, when the SEC expanded and was pared into Eastern and Western Divisions.
Six of Georgia's wins in this series have come in Athens (1992-96-98-02-04-08). Three have come in Fayetteville (2003-07-11). The other three took place during SEC Tournament play on neutral courts: 1997 in Memphis, 2008 in the SEC Tournament Championship game in Atlanta, and 2010 in Nashville, Tenn.
In just 22 years, these two teams have played in the SEC Tournament eight times already.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UGA leads 7-4
Games in Fayetteville: Arkansas leads 7-3
SEC Tournament Games: Arkansas leads 6-3
These most recent games have seen Georgia's rotation come into much sharper focus. Though the Bulldogs still don't have a single player averaging 30 minutes per game, that is likely to change as the SEC schedule transpires. Through the entire non-conference slate, Georgia had no more than two players in any game log 30-minute games. The SEC opener at Missouri produced four such players; three more in the Bama game Saturday.
Charles Mann's knack for frequent trips to the free-throw line is no secret. As a freshman last season, he had the fifth most free-throw attempts of any SEC player (170). In the Alabama game last Saturday, when he went 13 of 18 from the line, his 18 tries were the most by a Georgia player in 10 years and the fourth most in UGA history. At Florida, however, Mann struggled to reach the foul line. His three attempts marked just the third time in 21 career SEC games in which he didn't try at least four free throws.
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 73rd nationally in field-goal percentage at 46.8. However, Georgia has recorded its two lowest FG percentages of the season in its past two games.
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 eight wins, the Bulldogs have compiled a +10.9 rebounding margin, most recently a pair of +9 rebounding edges in both games last week. Their rebounding margin in seven losses is -4.1.
Additional findings in the wins vs. losses:
> Georgia's scoring has remained fairly constant throughout the season. However, in its eight wins, its opponents have averaged scoring just 58.8 points. In the seven losses, the opponents have averaged 79.9 points.
> When Georgia wins, its opponents are shooting 36.6 percent; when it loses, its opponents are shooting 45.0 percent. Georgia has shot its free throws better in its losses (66.3%) than in its wins (64.3%). Its opponents have shot 67.3% from the line when Georgia wins and a whopping 79.1 percent when UGA loses.
> Kenny Gaines is Georgia's leading scorer in its eight wins (12.1 ppg) Charles Mann, UGA's leading scorer overall, leads Georgia in its six losses (16.5 ppg) but has only the No. 2 average in its seven wins (12.0 ppg)
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 11 of 15 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 46.
Already, Georgia has shot over 50 percent from the field in seven games, twice more than in all of 2012-13. The Bulldogs began this week ranking 39th nationally in FG percentage.