Feb. 19, 2013
About the Game
Georgia plays the second of consecutive road games when it travels to Arkansas for a Thursday night contest. The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 12-13 overall record, 6-6 in SEC games. Most recently, they dropped an 84-74 decision in overtime at Ole Miss five nights ago.
Georgia trails 16-13 in the series against Arkansas, but the Bulldogs have won three straight against the Razorbacks, including last year's only meeting by an 81-59 score in Athens. Georgia won the last meeting in Fayetteville two years ago 60-59 on a last-second free throw. The outcome seemed improbable, given the Bulldogs' weather-related travel problems that delayed their arrival in town until just hours before tipoff.
Leading the way throughout this season has been sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Greenville, Ga., native enters this game averaging 17.7 points per game, which ranks second in the SEC. In fact, he ranks among the SEC leaders in nine of the 13 categories for which individual stats are compiled. During Georgia's recent 5-game win streak, Caldwell-Pope shot 63 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and 91 percent from the FT line, averaging 19 points and 6.8 boards per game. All these numbers included a season-low 10-point game in last Saturday's win over Texas A&M, a game in which he did not score a field goal for the first time of his young career.
Several Bulldogs have taken their turns in a supporting role to Caldwell-Pope. In Georgia's recent run of success, that status was shared between reserves Kenny Gaines (three double-figure games in past five) and Nemi Djurisic (dbl figures in consecutive recent games).
All SEC teams must take their turns playing the Thursday-Saturday swing of the schedule. Tonight marks the start of Georgia's first go-round through this exercise. The Bulldogs will return home in time to play host to South Carolina on Saturday afternoon. Georgia will conclude the regular season with another pair of games within 48 hours of one another, hosting Kentucky on March 7 before playing at Alabama on the 9th.
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||205||Fr.||Lithonia, Ga.||4.0||2.0|
|F||15||Donte' Williams||6-8||230||Jr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.4||4.7|
|F/C||32||John Florveus||6-11||240||Sr.||Miami, Fla.||2.6||3.2|
|G||11||Vincent Williams||6-0||165||Sr.||Homestead, Fla.||4.9||2.2#|
|G||1||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||6-5||205||So.||Greenville, Ga.||17.5||6.6|
#Assists Per Game
|F||4||Coty Clarke||6-7||225||Jr.||Birmingham, Ala.||6.8||4.9|
|F||33||Marshawn Powell||6-7||240||Jr.||Newport News, Va.||15.2||5.4|
|G||1||Mardracus Wade||6-2||176||Jr.||Memphis, Tenn.||6.7||1.4|
|G||11||BJ Young||6-3||180||So.||St. Louis, Mo.||16.5||3.9#|
|G||3||Rickey Scott||6-3||205||Jr.||Irving, Texas||4.9||2.1#|
Head Coach: Mike Anderson
Record at Arkansas / Years: 34-23 / 2nd season
Overall Record / Years: 234-121 / 11th season
Assistant Coaches: Melvin Watkins (Assoc. HC), Matt Zimmerman, TJ Cleveland
Georgia vs. Arkansas
Thursday's game is the 30th all-time meeting between Georgia and Arkansas in basketball. Arkansas holds a 16-13 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 21 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 6-3
SEC Tournament Games: Arkansas leads 6-3
A month ago, Georgia began its SEC schedule with an RPI rating of 205. The Bulldogs enter tonight's game with an RPI of 121. Why the significant jump? Mostly because three of Georgia's past five wins were against Top 100 teams, two on the road, to boot.
Right now, Georgia has just one player (KCP at 17.7 ppg) averaging in double-digit scoring. Not only is it the sole 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 seven times...
Georgia has used 12 different starting lineups this season. The one constant through all 12 lineups is, of course, has been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Five other teammates (both Williamses, Morris, Florveus and Djurisic) now have double-digit starts.
KCP is on pace to reach 1,000 career points by season's end. If he gets there, he'll be the 42nd player in UGA history to reach that milestone, but he'll be the first since Jarvis Hayes (2002-03) to reach it in just two seasons.
One more interesting tidbit about Caldwell-Pope. He's one of just 11 players in all of NCAA Division I that have scored in double figures in each of their team's games. He's the only SEC player to accomplish this feat and one of just five from the "BCS" leagues to do so. Last Saturday, he needed two free throws with 17 seconds left to keep that streak intact.
Nemi Djurisic was the fifth-leading scorer on last season's Georgia team at 7.0 points per game. This year he's raised his average to 7.8 per game but is now the No. 2 scorer on the current squad.
Some revealing observations from Georgia's recent 5- game win streak:
Its starters were outscored 204-170 (avg. 41-34). The Georgia bench, however, outscored the opposing reserves 133-61 (avg. 27-12).
In those five wins, Georgia shot 46 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range. Caldwell-Pope led this surge, with shooting percentages of 63 and 50 percent, respectively.
In the last 5 minutes of these five games, Georgia shot 70 percent from the field, 75 percent from the line, 75 percent from 3-point and outrebounded the opposition 23-16.
Georgia's recent 5-game win streak was the longest in SEC play under coach Mark Fox. The longest win streak, period, of the Fox era is a 9-game run in the 2010-11 season. The school record for consecutive SEC wins is six, established three times: in 2001, 1992-93 teams (spanning both seasons) and also the SEC championship team of 1990. The last time for a 7-game league win streak occurred in the 1930-31 season, when the Bulldogs belonged to the Southern Conference.
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 is 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 picked up a series with new member Texas A&M and renewed 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.
Frazier, Parker Sign with Dogs in Early Signing Period
The early national signing period began Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Georgia got signatures from a pair of high school seniors:
J.J. Frazier, Guard, 5-9, 160, Glennville, Ga. (Faith Baptist Christian Academy - Ludowici, Ga.)...Frazier is regarded as the top point guard of his class in the state of Georgia...he averaged 26.2 points, 4.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals as a junior at Faith Baptist Christian, which won 33 games last season...played AAU basketball for the South Georgia Kings program from Hinesville, Ga.
Juwan Parker, Guard, 6-4, 190, Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington HS)...Averaged 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds as a junior at Washington, which won Oklahoma 5A state championships in his freshman and sophomore seasons...Rated the nation's No. 30 shooting guard prospect by Scout.com, No. 39 by Rivals.com. Named the 2011 Player of the Year in his home state by the Tulsa World...Two-time Tulsa World All-State pick, and also twice a "Super 5" selection by The Oklahoman newspaper...Older brother Jason Parker played at Tulsa and was coached by current UGA assistant Kwanza Johnson.
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.