Georgia Heads to South Carolina to Battle Gamecocks
Feb. 21, 2014
About the Game
#Assists Per Game
#Assists Per GameHead Coach: Frank Martin
Record at South Carolina / Years: 23-34 / 2nd season
Overall Record / Years: 140-88 / 7th season
Assistant Coaches: Matt Figger (Assoc. HC), Perry Clark, Lamont Evans
Georgia vs. South Carolina
Saturday's game is the 102nd all-time meeting between Georgia and South Carolina in basketball. Georgia holds a 53-48 lead in the series.
Georgia is 7-2 versus South Carolina under head coach Mark Fox.
In the 21 years of divisional play (1992-2011), Georgia and South Carolina split their regular-season games evenly at 21 apiece. That includes regular-season sweeps by Georgia (1994, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011) and by Carolina (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2009).
Just once have these two teams met in the post-season SEC Tournament. That occurred in the 1997 tourney in Memphis, where Georgia won a semifinal matchup, 78-63.
Before 1992, these two schools were annual opponents -- mostly once a year, other times twice and occasionally thrice -- from 1938 until 1964.
Georgia has won seven of its last eight match-ups with the Gamecocks dating back to 2/7/09.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Offense on the Uptick
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 25 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:
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.
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