Georgia Set to Take on SEC's Other Bulldogs

Feb. 10, 2012

Georgia Bulldogs (11-12, 2-7) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (19-5, 6-3)
Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Tipoff Time: 1:47 p.m. (EST)
Humphrey Coliseum - Starkville, Miss.
TELEVISION
Live regional TV coverage by the SEC Network (Dave Baker and Barry Booker)
GEORGIA RADIO

Bulldog Sports Network presented by IMG: Scott Howard (Play-by-Play), Mark Slonaker (Color)

Local station: WSB (750 AM) & WBTS (95.5 FM). In Athens: WRFC (AM 960).
SATELLITE RADIO
The majority of Georgia basketball games in 2011-12 can be heard on SiriusXM Radio. Today's game is on XM 199 and Sirius 220. For more, See SEC Programming Info
ON THE INTERNET
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Live stats updated throughout the game.



Matt Bucklin


About the Game
  • Georgia begins another 2-game swing, its second already this month, when it plays at Mississippi State this Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs arrrive at this game with an 11-12 overall record, 2-7 in SEC play, after defeating Arkansas 81-59 in Athens three days ago.
  • Given the opposition's quality, the win over Arkansas was arguably Georgia's most complete performance thus far this season. The Bulldogs shot 56 percent in building a first-half lead up to 24 points. Arkansas got its deficit no closer than 15 points in the final 20 minutes.
  • The Arkansas win was Georgia's third this season over a Top 100 RPI opponent. Arkansas entered that contest with an RPI rating of 73. Other such wins by Georgia include November victories over South Dakota State (current RPI of 71) and red-hot Notre Dame (RPI of 43).
  • Georgia's outstanding performer against Arkansas was senior guard Gerald Robinson, whose 27 points bettered his own career high by five points. His 17 first-half points fueled Georgia's breakaway from the Razorbacks and enabled the Bulldogs to post a relatively easy victory. The Nashville, Tenn., native also celebrated his 23rd birthday on Friday this week.
  • Robinson's outburst on Wednesday has caused him to challenge freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for team scoring honors. KCP has held that spot throughout his rookie season. Rare is it that a first-year collegian is asked to shoulder this much of the load. He currently leads them at 14.2 points per game, and also has team-high numbers in minutes (32.2 mpg...only Bulldog over 30 minutes per game), defensive rebounds (86), steals (42), shots taken (283) and 3-pointers taken (158). His rookie season-high of 25 points against Ole Miss on Jan. 21 marked the first time in 13 years a Bulldog freshman had scored that many in a single game.
  • The Bulldogs take to the road again on Wednesday of next week when they play the first of two games against South Carolina. Tipoff in Columbia is at 7:00 p.m. (EST).


Probable Starters

GEORGIA BULLDOGS
No.NamePos.Ht.Wt.Cl.PPGRPG
F 15 Donte' Williams 6-9 220 So. 7.5 5.5
F 42 Marcus Thornton 6-7 235 So. 2.7 4.7
G 1 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 6-5 200 Fr. 14.2 5.2
G 22Gerald Robinson Jr. 6-1 180 Sr. 14.1 3.8#
G 3 Dustin Ware 5-11 172 Sr. 8.0 2.0

#Assists Per Game

Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 46-41 / 3rd season
Overall Record/Years: 169-84 / 8th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Pos.No.NameHt.Wt.Cl.HometownPPGRPG
F1Renardo Sidney6-10285Jr.Jackson, Miss.10.35.0
F23Arnett Moultrie6-11249Jr.Memphis, Tenn.17.011.0
G3Dee Bost6-2176Sr.Concord, N.C.15.85.1#
G4Rodney Hood6-8204Fr.Meridian, Miss.11.35.0
G22Brian Bryant6-3168Sr.Albany, Ga.6.94.7

#Assists Per Game

Head Coach: Rick Stansbury
Record at Miss. State / Years: 291-159 / 14th season
Overall Record / Years: 291-159 / 14th season
Assistant Coaches: Phil Cunningham, Marcus Grant, George Brooks


Georgia vs. Mississippi State

  • Saturday's game is the 103rd all-time meeting between Georgia and Mississippi State in basketball. Miss. State leads the series, which began in 1932 and has been renewed annually since 1949, by a 52-50 ledger.
  • Since the SEC expanded and was pared into East and West divisions in 1992, State has a 15-11 edge in games. That includes six SEC Tournament matchups (Georgia 3, MSU 3).
  • Georgia's lowest-ever point total in a victory -- during the so-called Modern Era -- took place in a 26-20 win in Starkville on Jan. 13, 1982.
  • These two programs met just once last season, on Jan. 22, 2011 in Athens. The host Bulldogs shot 49 percent from the field, a whopping 56 percent in making 11 three-pointers, and posted an 86-64 victory. Georgia, in fact, defeated both Mississippi schools of the SEC by 22-point margins on week apart.
  • Geographically speaking, the series can be broken down as such: In Athens: UGA leads 26-18 In Starkville: MSU leads 31-14 Neutral-Court Games: UGA leads 9-2
Noteworthy...
  • Counting his two seasons at Tennessee State, Gerald Robinson enters today's game with 1,746 career points, 725 at Georgia and 1,021 in two seasons (2008-09) at TSU. That combined figure would rank 4th on Georgia's career scoring list, 29 points shy of Vern Fleming (1981-84).
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named as the SEC's Freshman of the Week on Dec. 19. It marked just the seventh time in 12 years of this award that a Georgia Bulldog had earned the honor. It was the first since Trey Thompkins won the F-O-W award for the week of Dec. 1, 2008.

    Currently, there are seven freshmen in the SEC that are scoring in double figures. KCP ranks second among those rookies behind Bradley Beal of Florida at 14.2 points per game. He also ranks 3rd among SEC freshmen in minutes played (31.8) behind Miss. State's Rodney Hood and Bradley Beal of Florida. Additionally, KCP leads all freshmen in shots taken (283), ranking 5th among all SEC players.

  • There likely hasn't been as valuable a freshman to Georgia since 2005, when point guard Sundiata Gaines led the Bulldogs in minutes played, assists and steals, and he was also second on the team in both scoring (12.0) and rebounding (4.9). The last Bulldog freshman to lead his team in scoring at season's end was All-SEC forward Jumaine Jones in 1998 (14.7 ppg).
  • Turnovers per Game...as in, Fewest Per Game. It's a stat that isn't kept officially by the SEC office but can be found with a little digging. Georgia leads the league with 10.6 miscues per game, a figure that ranks 8th among 338 Division I teams (the NCAA does indeed keep this stat.). Already this season Georgia has had 10 games of single-digit turnovers, including a season-low five TOs last Saturday at Tennessee. Not since Jan. 13, 1982 -- in a pre-shot clock, slow-down game won by Georgia over Miss. State 26-20 -- has a Bulldog team committed as few as five turnovers.
  • Dustin Ware remains within reasonable distance of becoming the 42nd player in UGA history to score 1,000 career points. With a minimum of eight games left, he needs just 68 points to reach the mark. What makes Ware so unusual is this: he would become just the 3rd player in UGA history to reach 1,000 points by making more 3-pointers than 2-pointers; G.G. Smith (1996-99) and Levi Stukes (2004-07) are the others.
  • Two Bulldogs have posted measurable increases in their productivity during SEC play. Most notably: > Nemi Djurisic averages 8.6 points per game in the SEC schedule, just 6.9 overall. > Donte' Williams averages 7.9 points in SEC play, 7.6 overall.
  • Vincent Williams had two inconspicuous seasons in 2010 and 2011. This year, however, he has thrust himself prominently into a crowded backcourt rotation, even starting 11 of 21 games at the point position. He's already established new career highs in scoring, rebounds and minutes, most recently scoring a career-best 11 points against Mercer on Dec. 20.

    During Georgia's 5-game winning streak, Williams has compiled a +4/1 assist/turnover ratio as the Bulldogs' starter at point guard.

  • Sophomore Donte' Williams has also benefitted from a greatly increased role this season. The 6-9 forward has become Georgia's top frontline offensive threat, with double-figure scoring four times already, including a career-high 17 points against South Dakota State. In just 17 games, Williams quintupled his scoring output from his 2011 total. He also leads Georgia in blocked shots with 30.
  • The 2011-12 Bulldogs began this season amid fairly low expectations...externally, at least. In the SEC-sponsored media poll -- a panel that featured two jounalists from each school's coverage area -- Georgia was pegged for an 8th-place finish in the SEC. This, after a year in which the Bulldogs posted the program's first winning record in SEC play since 2003.
  • Georgia senior Gerald Robinson was named to the Coaches' Pre-Season All-SEC 2nd Team. The Nashville, Tenn., native was one of 16 players picked to two 8-man squads by the league's head coaches. Robinson is the top returning scorer and assist man for the Bulldogs.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's 25 points vs. Ole Miss on Jan. 21 were the most by a UGA freshman in almost 13 years. D.A. Layne poured in 26 points in a Feb. 6, 1999 win at home against South Carolina.
  • Dustin Ware's current career 3-point shooting percentage ranks him among the best ever in UGA history. Following are the top five long-range shooters at Georgia.

    Career 3-Point Percentage Leaders
    (Minimum 150 3FGs Made)
    1..444 (172-387)Jody Patton1988-91
    2..429 (194-453)Bernard Davis1991-94
    3..396 (231-583)D.A. Layne1999-2001
    4..395 (215-544)Litterial Green1989-92
    5..373 (180-482)Dustin WarePresent
Of RPIs and Such

A few observations about Georgia's place in the world of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI):

    A few observations about Georgia's place in the world of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI):
  • The Bulldogs have a current RPI of 118 and their schedule is rated 30th most difficult in the country.
  • Despite a dificult early-season schedule for Georgia, Kentucky represents its highest-rated opponent yet at No. 3.
  • From a strictly RPI point of view, Georgia's two best wins of the season were its Nov. 16 victory over South Dakota State at home and Nov. 22 over Notre Dame on a neutral floor. SDSU currently checks in with an RPI of 71, begin the week with a 17-77 record and boast a 19-point win at Washington on their resume. Notre Dame has boosted its RPI a whopping 72 places in the past two weeks, from 119 to its current standing of 43, thanks to four straight Big East wins, three of which were on the road.

Georgia and the NBA

Georgia's two premature departures from 2011 have seen early-season action with the NBA team that drafted them in the second round. Both Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie have played for the Los Angeles Clippers, the former in nine games and the latter in five.

Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the progress of 3rd-year pro Sundiata Gaines, who finished his career at Georgia in 2008. After playing in the D-League for 1 1/2 seasons, Gaines was signed in 2010 by Utah, had cups of coffee in Minnesota and Toronto and seems to have found a home in the New Jersey Nets. The Jamaica, N.Y., native is the Nets' 5th-leading scorer, averaging 5.9 points per game and playing almost 15 minutes.

For just the third time ever, Georgia now has four alumni currently playing in the NBA: the aforementioned trio, as well as elder statesman Damien Wilkins, who now plays in Detroit. Just once has UGA placed five alums in the NBA at the same time: the 1993-94 season (Dominique Wilkins, Willie Anderson, Vern Fleming, Litterial Green and Alec Kessler).

It's also worth mentioning that Georgia's other two departures from last season -- frontcourt men Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes -- are both playing professionally now, the former in Finland, the latter in Lithuania.

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 77 years, is 486-717 (.404). That ranks 10th of the 12 current SEC members.
  • 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 38-49. The 2008 tourney marked the first time since 1997 that Georgia has reached the finals.
  • Since the league expanded and was pared into East and West Divisions in 1992, Georgia has a 139-180 (.434) record. Eight times since '92 Georgia has had a league record of .500 or better (1993, '95, '96, '97, '01,'03, 07, '11).
  • Since the league's expansion, Georgia has a 75-124 record (.376) record against the Eastern Division, a 63-58 mark (.518) against SEC Western Division teams. Bulldog teams have had winning records against the West in 13 of 19 years. Georgia's only undefeated season against the West came in 2003.
  • In the 16-game SEC schedule format, Georgia's most wins came in 2003, when it compiled an 11-5 mark. The Bulldogs' timing, however, left much to be desired. That same year, Kentucky won the East with a perfect 16-0 mark and Florida placed second at 12-4. Georgia's 11-5 mark would've won the West by two games.
  • In case anyone was wondering, Georgia is 0-3 all-time against Missouri and has never played a basketball game against Texas A&M. The 2001 Bulldogs lost to Mizzou in the NCAA Tournament first round. The two schools also played a home-and-home series during the 2009-10 seasons.

 
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