Georgia Visits SEC's Top Dog, Kentucky

Feb. 29, 2012

NOTE: The one and only Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) will be on hand in Lexington on a strictly social media mission. Jay is going to be faciliiating a conversation about the game using the hashtag #askbilas. Fans are encouraged to use that hashtag to talk about the game and ask Jay questions, and the best tweets will even make it to air! Please help support the Bulldogs and show them the love tonight on Twitter!

Georgia Bulldogs (13-15, 4-10) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (28-1, 14-0)
Thursday, March 1, 2012 - Tipoff Time: 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Rupp Arena - Lexington, Ky.
TELEVISION
Live national TV coverage by ESPN (Rece Davis and Hubert Davis)
GEORGIA RADIO

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

Local station: In Atlanta: 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. Tonight's game is on XM 200. For more SEC programming info, see: SEC Programming Info
ON THE INTERNET
For up-to-date information, log on to: http://www.georgiadogs.com
Online radio broadcasts of Georgia games can be found on the Georgiadogs GTV web site (subscription required).

GameTracker - Live stats updated throughout the game.




Kentavious Caldwell-Pope


About the Game

  • Georgia concludes the regular season with a pair of games virtually within 36 hours of each other. The Bulldogs play at Kentucky on Thursday night before returning for their home finale Saturday afternoon against South Carolina.
  • Georgia arrives at Thursday's game with a 13-15 overall record, 4-10 in the SEC, after one of its best efforts of the season five days ago. The Bulldogs got their fourth conference win by defeating 11th-ranked Florida in Athens by a 76-62 count. It was their second win over a Top 25 team this season and the sixth such victory of the Mark Fox era at Georgia.
  • Significant factors contributing to Georgia's win over Florida included: a) The Bulldogs outscored an SEC opponent at the free-throw line for just the second time of the league schedule; b) They shot over 50 percent from the field for the second time of the SEC schedule and fourth time overall; c) The Georgia defense limited Florida to 16 points below its per-game average, as well as half its per-game average of 10 three-point shots.
  • By the time this game tips off on Thursday, standings in the SEC will have clarified only slightly. As the week began Georgia needed a pair of wins, along with winless weeks from either Arkansas and/or Mississippi State, to finish any higher than 10th place. The Bulldogs will even require help from Auburn -- with which it was tied this week -- to achieve the 10th spot.
  • Georgia and Kentucky met for the first time this season in Athens 37 days ago. The Wildcats finished first-half scoring with a 10-1 run, breaking open a tight game, en route to a 57-44 victory. Georgia established a tempo it preferred, yet was unable to shake its errant shooting that produced 34 percent overall, 28 percent from 3-point range.
  • The Bulldogs will return home early Friday morning and, with one day's preparation, play host to South Carolina in its own Senior Day celebration.


Probable Starters

GEORGIA BULLDOGS
No.NamePos.Ht.Wt.Cl.PPGRPG
F 15 Donte' Williams 6-9 220 So. 7.6 5.4
F 42 Marcus Thornton 6-7 235 So. 3.0 5.0
G 1 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 6-5 200 Fr. 13.9 5.1
G 22Gerald Robinson Jr. 6-1 180 Sr. 14.3 3.8#
G 3 Dustin Ware 5-11 172 Sr. 8.0 2.3

#Assists Per Game

Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 48-44 / 3rd season
Overall Record/Years: 171-87 / 8th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore

KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Pos.No.NameHt.Wt.Cl.HometownPPGRPG
F3Terrence Jones6-9252So.Portland, Ore.12.26.7
F14Michael Kidd-Gilchrist6-7232Fr.Somerdale, N.J.12.07.8
F23Anthony Davis6-10220Fr.Chicago, Ill.14.39.8
G25Marquis Teague6-2189Fr.Indianapolis, Ind.9.84.8#
G1Darius Miller6-8225Sr.Maysville, Ky.9.92.7

#Assists Per Game

Head Coach: John Calipari
Record at Kentucky / Years: 92-13 / 3rd season
Overall Record / Years: 495-151 / 20th season
Assistant Coaches: Orlando Antigua, Kenny Payne, John Robic


Georgia vs. Kentucky

  • Thursday's game is the 140th all-time meeting between these two schools in basketball. Kentucky leads the series, as it does against all of its longtime SEC brethren, by a lopside count: 114-25.
  • Though Georgia has defeated Kentucky just 25 times ever, eight of those wins have come in the past 10 years.
  • The 2009 Georgia team, led by Interim coach Pete Herrmann, was the last UK foe to win in Lexington, taking a 90-85 decision on March 4 of that year.
  • Since the twice-per-season scheduling format began in 1965, Georgia has taken regular-season sweeps over Kentucky just three times: 1985, 2002 and 2004. The first one was the only time in which the second half of the sweep took place in Lexington.
  • A geographical breakdown of the series follows: Games in Athens: UK leads 40-16
    Games in Lexington: UK leads 55-5
    Neutral-Court Games: UK leads 8-3
    SEC Tournament Games: UK leads 5-1
    UK has also won single games in Baton Rouge; Columbus, Ga.; Knoxville; Memphis; Nashville and Owensboro, Ky.
Noteworthy...
  • Georgia was indeed the last team to defeat Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Just one Bulldog participant from that 2009 contest returns for the game Thursday: senior guard Dustin Ware, who contributed 18 of his team's 90 points that night.
  • 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 10.5 miscues per game, a figure that ranks 6th among 338 Division I teams (the NCAA does indeed keep this stat.). Already this season it has had 11 games of single-digit turnovers, including a season-low four TOs on Feb. 11 in their overtime win at Miss. State. Game-by-game stats are available only back to the 1979-80 season. There is no game during that time span -- 1979 to the present -- where Georgia committed fewer than its four turnovers from that game.
  • Counting his two seasons at Tennessee State, Gerald Robinson enters tonight's game with 1,821 career points, 800 at Georgia and 1,021 in two seasons (2008-09) at TSU. That combined figure would rank 2nd on Georgia's career scoring list, behind only all-time leader Litterial Green (2,111 pts.).
  • There likely hasn't been as valuable a freshman to Georgia as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 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, however, was All-SEC forward Jumaine Jones in 1998 (14.7 ppg).
  • Dustin Ware remains within reachable distance of becoming the 42nd player in UGA history to score 1,000 career points. With a minimum of three games left, he needs just 29 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. Should Ware reach that 1,000-point mark, he'd also become the third member of UGA's 2007-08 recruiting class to achieve the milestone. Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, also members of that class, reached 1,000 in three seasons before departing for the NBA last spring.
  • Dustin Ware last season ranked 5th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. This season he doesn't meet the minimum qualifying standard for national ranking (3.0 assists/game). Still, his current A/TO ratio of 3.04 would rate him fifth among all Division I players in that statistic.
  • Georgia's win at Miss. State on Feb. 11 was its first road victory over a Top 25 opponent since Jan. 17, 2004, when the Bulldogs defeated then-No. 5 Kentucky 65-57 in Rupp Arena.
  • Despite a scoring margin of -1.2, the Bulldogs have tallied more total field goals and more 3-pointers than their opponents this season. The discrepancy rests at the free-throw line, where Georgia's opponents average scoring 4.0 more points -- and 5.8 more attempts -- than the Bulldogs. In the 14-game SEC schedule, the margin is even greater. SEC opponents are averaging 16.9 FT points compared to 10.0 by Georgia.
  • Sophomore Donte' Williams has benefitted from a greatly increased role this season. The 6-9 forward has become Georgia's top frontline offensive threat, with double-figure scoring eight times, 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 38.
  • 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) by Jody Patton, 1988-91
    2. .429 (194-453) by Bernard Davis, 1991-94
    3. .396 (231-583) by D.A. Layne, 1999-2001
    4. .395 (215-544) by Litterial Green, 1989-92
    5. .366 (188-513) by Dustin Ware, Present

Of RPIs and Such

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

  • Georgia began this week with an RPI of 112, having climbed just eight spots after its win over Florida..
  • Georgia's win at Miss. State caused a 14-point improvement in the Bulldogs' RPI, from 112 to 98. Conversely, the outcome caused State's RPI to balloon from 31 to 45.
  • Georgia now has five victories vs. RPI 100 teams. Chronologically, they are:
    1) 72-61 at home on Nov. 16 vs. No. 58 South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are currently 23-7 with a 19-point win at Washington on their resume.
    2) 61-57 neutral-court win vs. No. 35 Notre Dame, which has improved to 20-8 after nine straight Big East wins.
    3) 81-59 at home over then-No. 59 Arkansas on Feb. 8
    4) 70-68 at then-No. 31 Miss. State. on Feb. 11
    5) 76-62 vs. then-No. 17 Florida on Feb. 25

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 13 games and the latter in eight.

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 has played in 31 games, starting in five.

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 487-720 (.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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