Feb. 17, 2014
About the Game
- Georgia and Tennessee play their only regular-season matchup of 2014 in a Tuesday night contest in Knoxville. The Volunteers do not visit Athens for the first time since the 1962-63 season.
- The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 14-10 overall record, 8-4 in the SEC. Thanks to their current 4-game win streak, they begin this week alone in third place in the league standings. Most recently, Georgia defeated Ole Miss 61-60 in Athens last Saturday in a matchup of teams vying for that third-place position. A victory Tuesday would match Georgia's longest win streak of the season and would also match the longest SEC win streak under head coach Mark Fox, established first during last season.
- Against Ole Miss, sophomores Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines delivered winning plays when they were needed most. Mann's free throw with 1.5 seconds left -- his 14th point from the line for the day -- provided the decisive score. Gaines, meanwhile, scored 19 of his team-best 21 points in the second half, getting 15 of them from a career-high five 3-point shots.
- Tuesday's game is the 149th all-time meeting between Georgia and Tennessee in basketball. Tennessee leads the series, which began in 1913 and has been renewed annually since the 1951 season, by a 92-56 count.
- Georgia has won in Knoxville just 15 times ever, but two of those have come in the past three years. The Bulldogs won both of last year's regular-season games against Tennessee: 68-62 in Knoxville and 78-68 in Athens.
- Georgia has six regular-season games remaining and Tuesday's game is the first of four road contests. The Bulldogs will finish the week with the return matchup against South Carolina, their "permanent" rival, as designated by the SEC. Georgia won the first game between the two this season 97-76 on Jan. 22.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||7.6||6.1|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.8||5.5|
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||215||So.||Lithonia, Ga.||9.1||3.7|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.9||3.0#|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||12.0||2.5|
#Assists Per Game
|G||15||Darius Thompson||6-5||181||Fr.||Murfreesboro, Tenn.||2.8||2.7#|
|G||52||Jordan McRae||6-6||185||Sr.||Midway, Ga.||19.6||3.5|
|G||1||Josh Richardson||6-6||190||Jr.||Edmond, Okla.||9.5||3.0|
|F||34||Jeronne Maymon||6-8||260||Sr.||Madison, Wis.||10.4||8.2|
|F||5||Jarnell Stokes||6-8||260||Jr.||Memphis, Tenn.||14.2||10.2|
#Assists Per GameHead Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Record at Tennessee / Years: 54-38 / 3rd season
Overall Record / Years: 115-79 / 6th season
Assistant Coaches: Tracy Webster (Assoc. HC), Jon Harris, Kent Williams
Georgia vs. Tennessee
Tuesday's game is the 149th all-time meeting between Georgia and Tennessee in basketball. Tennessee leads the series, which began in 1913 and has been renewed annually since the 1951 season, by a 92-56 count.
Georgia has had little success against Tennessee in recent years, winning just seven of the past 22 meetings. Bulldog teams under Mark Fox, however, have won five of eight matchups.
Georgia won both 2013 meetings, first in Knoxville by a 68-62 count and in Athens 3 1/2 weeks later by a 78-68 tally.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UGA leads 36-33
Games in Knoxville: UT leads 55-15
Neutral-Court Games: UGA leads 5-4
- Now that senior Donte' Williams was replaced in the starting lineup Feb. 1 at Auburn, Georgia has no single player that has started all 24 games. The Bulldogs have just three players that have played in all 24 (Williams, Thornton and Djurisic). Kenny Gaines is the team's only player to have started every game for which he's been available (22 for 22).
- While the team was a distant bystander to the winter storm that invaded Georgia last week, the Bulldogs managed to bring a souvenir with them to Starkville. A stomach virus infiltrated some members of the team and staff before they ever left Athens. It continued through much of the roster, literally as their win over Mississippi State transpired. Except during the actual game, surgical masks were standard equipment on the trip.
- 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). He surpassed that mark in the season's 22nd game, and this year he's second in the SEC in that category behind Auburn's Chris Denson. He currently averages 8.7 free tosses per game, up from 5.3 tries last year. In SEC games, he averages 10.3 free throw attempts.
- Mann's free-throw frequency leads an impressive showing by the entire Georgia team, which ranks 31st nationally in total FT attempts. Only Kentucky among SEC teams ranks higher. The Bulldogs are 46th among all 351 D1 teams in total free throws made. Through the 12-game SEC schedule, Georgia leads the league by a wide margin in free-throw attempts, having tried 385 foul shots (32.1/game). Missouri ranks 2nd with 325 attempts (27.1/game). The Bulldogs also lead, though by a lesser margin, in free throws made with 265 (22.1/game).
- Georgia has shot over 60 percent in the second half on five occasions this season, including three of their last five SEC wins. The Bulldogs shot 73.9 percent in the second half last week at Mississippi State, the program's best-shooting half since 2001. Overall, Georgia shot 54.3 percent at State, even after missing its first eight shots.
- Through 12 conference games, Georgia ranks 4th in the SEC in scoring margin at +2.2. an amazing number considering that the Bulldogs count a 22-point loss at Florida and a 25-point defeat at Kentucky among their totals. The first three of their current 4-game win streak, however, came by double digits, the first such streak since the 1998 season.
- Amidst their up-and-down performance on offense and defense, the Bulldogs' one constant in SEC play has been their rebounding. Georgia has outrebounded 11 of its 12 league opponents thus far. The one exception? Florida, which it tied with 34 boards apiece. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in rebounding through 12 conference games at 40.2 per game. Highlights in the league schedule thus far have been a +15 ledger Saturday vs. Ole Miss, +9 in a win at Missouri, +8 vs. Miss. State, +7 in a win over LSU, as well as a +22 margin in beating Arkansas.
- Georgia's win over Ole Miss last Saturday was its fifth this season over an RPI Top 100 opponent. Those wins also include: Missouri, Arkansas, LSU and Alabama, although Alabama's current rating has fallen beyond the 100 mark. Georgia's own RPI rating of 88 is its best of the season to date, after reaching as high as the mid-260s in late December.
- Kenny Gaines averaged just 3.7 points in 10.3 minutes as a freshman last year, playing primarily behind the SEC's MVP, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This season he has scored in double figures 15 times already, including a game-high 21 last Saturday against Ole Miss.
- Four Bulldogs this season have made their first starts at the Division 1 collegiate level: Kenny Gaines, Cameron Forte, Juwan Parker and Taylor Echols.
- One effect of not having Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on this year's team: last year, 30 percent of Georgia's total field goals were scored from 3-point range. This year, just 19 percent thus far have come from beyond the arc. Perhaps another way to view this difference: last season's Georgia team averaged scoring 22 points in the paint area. This season, that number thus far has risen to 33.5 points in the paint. Most discussion involving KCP's absence has revolved around its effect on the Georgia offense. Little discussion has pertained to its effect on the Georgia defense, which this year has allowed its opponents a .400 overall field-goal percentage, .335 from 3-point range, compared to .388 and .329, respectively, with KCP in the lineup last season.
- On Dec. 28, when Colorado sank all 26 of its free-throw attempts, it marked the first time in almost 19 years a Bulldog opponent had shot 100 percent. Tennessee went 10x10 against Georgia on Feb. 11, 1995. That was 584 games ago. For Georgia, it's been 772 games since its last 100 percent shooting night...back to Jan. 14, 1989 vs. Vanderbilt (12x12).
- Georgia has now shot at least 50 percent from the field 10 times this season. That's more than the number of 50 percent shooting games over the previous two seasons combined.
One thing is apparent through the season thus far: Georgia's offense appears to be measurably more effective than last season, even without its best scorer from 2013. In 16 of 24 games thus far, the Bulldogs have scored 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 44.7.
When Georgia defeated LSU 91-78 on Feb. 6, it marked the first time since 1995 in which Georgia had cracked the 90-point mark twice during the SEC schedule.
About the Schedule
Conference expansion manifests itself in many strange ways, not the least of which occurs in scheduling. Georgia fans noticed this oddity most recently as their football team has traveled to Auburn in consecutive seasons.
This season their basketball team will experience one of the oddest quirks to its schedule in years. Kentucky will not travel to Athens for a game this season for the first time since the 1962-63 season. Same for Tennessee. For Florida, which also won't play a game in Athens this season, the last time it didn't play in Athens was in 1961-62. The Gators are the most frequent opponent in UGA hoops history.
It took a World War to keep all three schools out of Athens together in the same season the last time. Not since the 1943-44 season -- when Georgia dotted its schedule with random groups like Lawson General Hospital and Robins Airfield -- has this phenomenon occurred.
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 506-736 (.410). 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 two AP SEC Player of the Year: Dominique Wilkins in 1981 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope last season. 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 40-51. The 2008 tourney marked the first time since 1997 that Georgia has reached the finals.
Staff Changes for 2014
For the first time of his 4+ seasons in Athens, head coach Mark Fox made changes to his immediate coaching staff. Three-year UGA letterman (2002-04) Jonas Hayes was promoted from Operations Coordinator to Assistant Coach. A native Atlantan, Hayes returned to UGA in 2012 after serving as an Assistant Coach at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina for five seasons. He had also assisted the programs at South Carolina State, Morehouse and his alma mater, Douglass High School, after graduating from UGA in 2004.
Hayes, whose twin brother Jarvis continues to play professionally overseas, became the first Georgia basketball alumnus to hold a full-time assistant's position on the staff at his alma mater since Mark Slonaker assisted Hugh Durham from 1989-95.
To replace Hayes in the Coordinator's position, Fox hired Byron Samuels in May of 2013. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native, is a veteran of the collegiate ranks whose career includes head coaching stops at Hampton, Radford and, most lastly, at Hillsborough Community College, where he coached recent UGA alum John Florveus. Samuels is a veteran of SEC basketball, having assisted four Tennessee teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths.
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. 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).
Perhaps the most tangible proof of Fox's talent development is the number of NBA draftees and current pros that have played for him. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope became the 11th player under his tutelage to get drafted by an NBA club. He was the fourth 1st-rounder.
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 14 Georgia basketball players have earned their undergraduate degrees. Every player that has exhausted his eligibility at UGA under Fox has completed his degree.
Prominent among this group of 14 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.
Last summer the Georgia program was recognized by the NCAA for its Academic Progress Rate (APR) scored of 990, which ranked among the top 10 percent of all men's basketball programs.