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Jan. 29, 2013
About the Game
Georgia returns home to play host to Auburn on Wednesday night in its seventh game of the SEC schedule. Both teams arrive at this game with identical 8-11 (2-4) records. Most recently, the Bulldogs posted their first win of the season away from Stegeman Coliseum when they defeated Texas A&M 59-52 in College Station last Saturday.
Georgia needed a pair of key baskets late in the A&M game to secure its victory. The Bulldogs, however, took control of the game during an 8-minute span of the second half, when they stretched a 2-point advantage into a 17-point margin.
As he has in 17 of 19 games, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia in scoring against Texas A&M with 22 points. And for the seventh time this season, he was the team's only double-figure scorer. Perhaps not coincidentally, the sophomore guard rang up 22 points in Georgia's other SEC win against LSU. Still, nine other Bulldogs contributed scoring against the Aggies.
Caldwell-Pope remains the beacon of light for this young Georgia team. Thus far he's the only Bulldog to have started all 19 games and to be averaging over 30 minutes per game (33.6, 2nd in SEC). He ranks among the SEC leaders in nine of the categories for which statistics are kept. He has taken 27 percent of the team's 924 field-goal attempts, and 41 percent of its 3-point attempts. KCP also leads Georgia in rebounding (6.4) and steals (46, 2nd in SEC, 16th in NCAA).
Georgia leads the series with Auburn by only an 89-88 margin. Auburn won the only meeting last season at Auburn, 59-51. Georgia won the last meeting in Athens during the 2011 season by an 81-72 tally in overtime.
The Bulldogs will hit the road for their next two games: Saturday at South Carolina (1:45 p.m. tip) and next Wednesday, Feb. 6 at Tennessee (8:00 p.m.)
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 58-57 / 4th season
Overall Record/Years: 181-100 / 9th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore
||Peachtree City, Ga.
Head Coach: Tony Barbee
Record at Auburn / Years: 34-47 / 3rd season
Overall Record / Years: 116-99 / 7th season
Assistant Coaches: Ryan Miller (Assoc. HC), Tony Madlock, Milt Wagner
Georgia vs. Auburn
Wednesday's game is the 178th meeting between these two schools. The series began in 1908 and has been renewed annually since 1945. Georgia's two wins over Auburn last season have given it an 89-88 edge in the series.
Auburn is the third most frequent opponent in UGA hoops history. Florida ranks first (198 meetings) and Georgia Tech is second (186).
In the 21 years of divisional play (1992-2011), the home team won the annual meeting 17 times. The exceptions: Georgia won twice at Auburn (1994, 2008) and vice versa in 1999 and 2009.
Opposing freshmen Charles Mann (UGA) and Shaquille Johnson (AU) were teammates last season at Milton High in Alpharetta, Ga. The Eagles won the Georgia Class 5A championship in their lone season together.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UGA leads 59-22
Games in Auburn: AU leads 57-22
Neutral-Court Games: AU leads 9-8
SEC Tournament Games: UGA leads 5-3
Georgia plays its next four games against teams that began the week with identical 2-4 SEC records. In fact, seven of its remaining 12 conference games are against the teams in that group. Already completed is the Bulldogs' home-and-home series vs. league favorite Florida.
Georgia's win at Texas A&M caused a jump in its RPI rating of nearly 35 points, from a 183 of last Friday to its rating of 149 on Monday. Why? Because the Bulldogs' win in College Station represented their first over a Top 100 opponent, let alone on the road. Georgia's schedule is currently rated 36th most difficult in the country.
Right now, Georgia has just one player (KCP at 17.1 ppg) averaging in double-digit scoring. Not only is it the only SEC school with such a distinction, but that also makes it the only Bulldog team of the past 50 years with just a single double-figure scorer...
Four different players have led Georgia in scoring this season: KCP, Vincent Williams, Nemi Djurisic and Charles Mann. Eight different Bulldogs have taken turns being the 2nd-leading scorer. Most frequent among those is the freshman Mann, who has owned that distinction five times...
Georgia has used 11 different starting lineups this season. The one constant through all 11 lineups was, of course, has been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Four other teammates (both Williamses, Morris and Djurisic) have double-digit starts. The Florida game last week marked the first time since early December that the Bulldogs repeated a starting five in at least three straight games...
Caldwell-Pope led Georgia in rebounding as a freshman (5.2) last season. Barring something unforeseen, he'll repeat as the team's top board man. What's more impressive about his production this season is that he's rebounding mostly from the `2' guard position, compared to 2012, when he played primarily at the `3' spot.
About the Schedule
As part of the new 18-game Southeastern Conference schedule, the Bulldogs will face former Eastern Division foes Kentucky and Vanderbilt just once. It will be the first time since 1964 that Georgia has not played home-and-home series with these two longstanding foes and, for 20 years, Eastern Division rivals. In exchange for those two contests, the Bulldogs will now pick up a series with new member Texas A&M and renew a 2-game annual series with Alabama for the first time since 1992.
The addition of Texas A&M and Missouri has also added another day of competition to the post-season SEC Tournament, slated for March 13-17 in Nashville, Tenn. The Nos. 11-14 seeds in the final regular-season standings will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with the tournament resuming its traditional schedule Thursday. It's conceivable that a team could capture the SEC Tournament championship by winning games on five consecutive days.
KCP One of UGA's Best Ever
Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope returns as one of the SEC's top players. Among his freshman-year highlights included:
He earned Freshman All-SEC honors in his first season of 2012.
KCP ranked second among all Bulldogs in scoring and led them in rebounding, minutes and steals.
His 422 points were the fifth-highest total by a UGA freshman in school history. Just as important, his 166 rebounds (5.2/game) were the tenth-best total by a UGA rookie and the most ever by a guard.
Caldwell-Pope last year was also Georgia's leader in 3-point shots made (65) and taken (214).
KCP is the fourth-leading returning scorer in the SEC, behind Boynton (Fla.), Young (Ark.) and Golden (Tenn.).
He is also the league's fifth-leading returning rebounder and its only guard among the group.
He ranks second among all returning SEC players in minutes per game (32.1), behind only LSU guard Andre Stringer (32.2 mpg).
True to form, Caldwell-Pope is the Bulldogs' only player thus far to average over 30 minutes per contest this season. He currently ranks 3rd in the SEC in minutes at 33.6 per game. Georgia's next most active player is Donte' Williams at 23.3 minutes per game.
Fox Best at Molding Talent
Blogger and hoops junkie Dan Hanner of RealGM.com penned an article in February of 2012 that anointed Georgia head coach Mark Fox as the top coach in college basketball at player development. In a blog entry, Hanner used a complex formula to rate college coaches. Among Hanner's many observations he writes, "Mark Fox has truly been fantastic at getting the most out of his players."
The top five in the Player Development category include Fox; Bo Ryan (Wisconsin); Craig Robinson (Oregon State); Lorenzo Romar (Washington); and Mike Montgomery (Cal).
Fox Also Tops at Producing Grads
Head Coach Mark Fox must also receive some degree of credit for developing high-performing students in the classroom. Since his arrival in April of 2009, no fewer than 12 Georgia basketball players have earned their undergraduate degrees, including all four seniors from 2012. Every player that has exhausted his eligibility at UGA under Fox has completed his degree.
Prominent among this group of 12 includes Damien Wilkins - nephew of UGA great Dominique Wilkins - whose last year of eligibility came in 2004 and who has played professionally in the NBA ever since.
2012-13 Bulldogs a Year Older
Year Four of the Mark Fox era at Georgia features his first roster comprised solely of players chosen by Fox and his staff. The Bulldogs of 2013 have a lone 3-year letterman in guard Vincent Williams, as well as two other seniors who took the junior-college route before arriving in Athens.
Last season the Bulldogs began the year with just two players that had experience as a starter on a Division I basketball team. This year, however, that number is now up to six, including four players that were regular starters at season's end. That quartet is comprised of two sophomores and two freshmen. In all, Georgia returns players who logged over 68 percent of its total minutes played in 2012.
Thornton Out Indefinitely
Junior forward Marcus Thornton will be out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Dec. 26. The native Atlantan has been plagued by injuries to both knees throughout his career in Athens. He missed five games last season because of knee surgery in December, and he underwent another surgery on his right knee immediately after the 2012 season ended, a process that kept him out of most off-season workouts.
When healthy, Thornton significantly enhances Georgia's frontcourt presence with his physical play. Before his latest setback, he had already set career highs in scoring and rebounding.
Returning Statistical Leaders
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 13.2 ppg
Donte' Williams 7.8 ppg
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 5.2
Donte' Williams 5.1
Vincent Williams 1.4 apg
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 1.2 apg
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 32.1 mpg
Donte' Williams 25.9 mpg
Percentage of Returning Players by Statistics
1,205 of 1,950 points 62%
738 of 966 indiv. rebounds 76%
131 of 351 assists 37%
4,391 of 6,475 minutes 68%
Georgia and the SEC
Following are a few tidbits about Georgia's history in the SEC:
Georgia's all-time record in SEC games, covering 80 years, is 491-726 (.403). That ranks 10th of 12 SEC members (excluding Missouri and Texas A&M).
Georgia can claim one SEC regular-season championship (1990), one regular-season divisional title (2002) and two SEC Tournament crowns (1983, 2008).
Georgia has had just one AP SEC Player of the Year: Dominique Wilkins in 1981 and no POY, as voted by the league's coaches since 1987. Other superlative post-season awards include Coaches' SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Rashad Wright in 2004), AP SEC Newcomer of the Year (Jarvis Hayes in 2002), and Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Dave Bliss in 2008).
Wilkins was the first of four Georgia players to lead the SEC in scoring at season's end. He averaged a league-best 23.6 points per game in 1981. Others to follow him have been Vern Fleming (19.8 ppg in 1984), Jumaine Jones (18.8 ppg in 1999) and Jarvis Hayes (18.6 ppg in 2002).
Georgia has an all-time SEC Tournament record of 40-50. The 2008 tourney marked the first time since 1997 that Georgia has reached the finals.
Hayes Joins Bulldog Staff
A face familiar to Georgia basketball fans joined coach Mark Fox's staff during the offseason. Jonas Hayes, a 3-year letterman from 2002-04 and an `04 UGA graduate, was named as the Bulldogs' Operations Coordinator in May of 2012. Hayes, a native of Atlanta, had spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C. He had also served brief stints as an assistant coach at South Carolina State, Morehouse and his alma mater, Douglass High School in Atlanta.
Hayes, whose twin brother Jarvis continues to play professionally overseas, became the first Georgia basketball alumnus to hold a full-time position on the staff at his alma mater since Shaun Golden was an administrative assistant on the staff in 1997.
Italy Trip a Valuable Tool
For the first time since 2004, Georgia ventured beyond U.S. borders for a tour of exhibition games. The Bulldogs spent the first half of August playing three games and checking out the major cities and tourist spots in Italy. They also visited UGA's art school campus in Cortona, Italy.
Georgia went 2-1 on its tour of games, winding up with a 17-point victory on the same day they visited the Colosseum in Rome. Given the anticipated roles of Georgia's freshmen this coming season, perhaps more important than the trip were the 10 practices that preceded the Bulldogs' departure overseas.