Feb. 26, 2013
About the Game
Georgia plays its only meeting with Vanderbilt on Wednesday night in Nashville. For the first time in 50 seasons, these two programs are playing each another just once in a regular season, thanks to the SEC's new scheduling arrangement.
The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 13-14 overall record, 7-7 in SEC play. Most recently, they rallied to tie South Carolina in the final seconds of regulation last Saturday, then defeated the Gamecocks in overtime, 62-54.
The win gave Georgia a pair of regular-season sweeps thus far, over Carolina and Texas A&M.
Wednesday's matchup is the 136th all-time meeting between these two schools in basketball. Vanderbilt leads the series, which began in 1914 and has been renewed annually since 1951, by an 86-49 count. Vandy, in fact, has won six straight games in this series, including a second-round SEC Tournament game in 2010.
Leading the way throughout this season has been sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Greenville, Ga., native enters this game averaging 17.6 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 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 the 2nd 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 six) and Nemi Djurisic (dbl figs in three of past 5 games).
Georgia will complete this week with a Saturday afternoon game at home against Tennessee, which the Bulldogs defeated in Knoxville 68-62 three weeks ago tonight.
|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||0||Rod Odom||6-9||212||Jr.||Central Islip, N.Y.||10.5||4.2|
|F||40||Josh Henderson||6-11||220||So.||Roanoke, Va.||5.3||3.0|
|G||2||Kedren Johnson||6-4||215||Wo.||Lewisburg, Tenn.||13.4||3.5#|
|G||15||Kevin Bright||6-5||210||Fr.||Mannheim, Germany||6.5||5.5#|
|G||24||Dai-Jon Parker||6-3||190||So.||Baton Rouge, La.||6.2||4.0#|
Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Record at Vanderbilt / Years: 272-174 / 14th season
Overall Record / Years: 395-237 / 20th season
Assistant Coaches: David Cason, Brad Frederick, Tom Richardson
Georgia vs. Vanderbilt
Wednesday's game is the 136th all-time meeting between these two schools in basketball. Vanderbilt leads the series, which began in 1914 and has been renewed annually since 1951, by an 86-49 count.
In the 54 years that Georgia and Vanderbilt played a home-and-home series. Georgia swept the series just seven times and not since 2001. The two schools have split their series nine of the past 12 years.
Vanderbilt took both regular-season matchups last season: 73-66 in Nashville in early January and 64-56 five weeks later in Athens.
Oddly, these two programs have met twice in post-season play on their respective home courts. Georgia defeated Vandy at Memorial Gym in the 1991 SEC Tournament second round. Seven years later, Georgia defeated Vandy at Stegeman Coliseum in the NIT third round, earning a trip to New York for the NIT Final Four in the process.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UGA leads 33-28
Games in Nashville: Vandy leads 53-13
Neutral-Court Games: Vandy leads 5-3
A month ago, Georgia began its SEC schedule with an RPI rating of 205. The Bulldogs enter tonight's game with an RPI of 122. 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 17.6 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.
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. By comparison, Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins reached 1,000 points in his 46th game at UGA, which came near the end of his sophomore season. Wilkins played in just 16 games as a freshman because of a foot injury. Jacky Dorsey, 2-time All-SEC forward in 1975-76, is the fastest Georgia player ever to 1,000 points, reaching the mark in the 43rd game of his career.
One more interesting tidbit about Caldwell-Pope. He remains 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.
OK...a couple more items about KCP. This week he ranks 56th nationally in scoring at 17.6 ppg, 77th nationally in 3-pointers per game at 2.44, and 30th nationally in steals at 2.15/game.
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.
A key for Georgia's success this season: Defense. Georgia is 10-1 when allowing less than 59 points. Georgia ranks fourth in the league in defensive rebounding (24.8/.699), and ranks second in the league field goal percentage defense (.390)
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.
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 2nd in the SEC in minutes at 33.7 per game. Georgia's next most active player is Nemanja Djurisic at 23.5 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.
"SEC Storied" Series Spotlights 2008 SEC Tourney In Next Episode
Premiering this Sunday, the latest episode of ESPN's "SEC Storied" series will focus on the 2008 SEC Basketball Tournament. Georgia captured the `08 championship by winning four consecutive games, including two overtime contests and two on Saturday. A category F2 tornado struck the Georgia Dome during 2nd-round play, causing the postponement of the Bulldogs' game vs. Kentucky and the moving of the tournament's remainder to the on-campus arena at Georgia Tech.