About the Game
- Georgia has advanced to the SEC Tournament second round for the third consecutive year and will play third-seeded Vanderbilt in the late game Friday night. The Bulldogs earned their place in this game by defeating sixth-seeded Mississippi State 71-61 in the first round. It was their third victory in the past four games, their second of the season over State and the 50th in the 3-year tenure of head coach Mark Fox.
- Vanderbilt claimed both regular-season meetings between these two teams: 77-66 in Nashville on Jan. 14 and 61-52 in Athens five weeks later. Vandy, in fact, has won six straight games against Georgia. The Bulldogs last won in this series in the two teams' 2010 regular-season matchup in Athens.
- Senior guard Gerald Robinson enters this game as the most productive of Bulldogs. He's now scored 23 points in each of the past two games and was the team's leading scorer through the SEC schedule at 14.7 points per game.
Fellow senior Dustin Ware comes off his most active offensive game in almost five weeks, a 13-point effort that puts him well within reach of his 1,000th career point. He enters this game needing just three points to become the 42nd player in UGA history to reach the milestone.
- Another noteworthy performance from Thursday night was that from freshman Nemi Djurisic. The native of Montenegro recorded the Bulldogs' first double-double of the season against Mississippi State (11 pts,/11 rebs.).
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named this week to the 2012 SEC All-Freshman team, as voted by the league's 12 head coaches. The Greenville, Ga., native has led the Bulldogs in scoring for much of the season and is currently tops in steals, minutes, 3-pointers and defensive rebounds. He enters this game with 418 points this season, already the fifth-highest total by a freshman in UGA history.
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 50-45 / 3rd season
Overall Record/Years: 173-88 / 8th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore
|F||44||Jeffery Taylor||6-7||225||Sr.||Norrkoping, Sweden||17.1||5.9|
|F||5||Lance Goulbourne||6-8||225||Sr.||Brooklyn, N.Y.||8.9||6.8|
|C||3||Festus Ezeli||6-11||255||Sr.||Benin City, Nigeria||10.1||5.5|
|G||23||John Jenkins||6-4||215||Jr.||Hendersonville, Tenn.||20.0||2.7|
|G||1||Brad Tinsley||6-3||210||Sr.||Oregon City, Ore.||8.6||4.3a|
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Record at Vanderbilt / Years: 257-157 / 13th season
Overall Record / Years: 380-220 / 18th season
Assistant Coaches: David Cason, Brad Frederick, Dan Muller, Tom Richardson
Georgia vs. Vanderbilt
- Friday's game is the 136th all-time meeting between Georgia and Vanderbilt in basketball. Vanderbilt leads the series, which began in 1914 and has been renewed annually since 1951, by an 86-49 count.
- This year marks the 54th time that Georgia and Vanderbilt have played a home-and-home series. Georgia has swept the series just seven times and not since 2001.
- 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 downed 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
Georgia & the SEC Tournament
- 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 10.2 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 12 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 today's game with 1,850 career points, 829 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 one game left, he needs just three 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.
One more note about Ware. Because of Kentucky's recent dominance of the SEC, Ware is one of just three active, non-UK players in the league that have played on winning teams at Rupp Arena. The other two are Dee Bost of Miss. State and Storm Warren of LSU.
Following are some facts about Georgia's past performances at the SEC Tournament:
- Here's a yearly record of Georgia's showing at the SEC Tournament since it was revived in 1979:
|2003:||Did Not Play
- Georgia has a 39-49 overall record
(.443) in Tournament games. That's
eighth-best among the 16 teams that
have participated in the Tournament's
history (includes ex-members Ga. Tech,
Tulane and Sewanee).
- Georgia has reached the finals six
times: 1940, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1997 and 2008. It's reached the semis 12 times, fifth-best among all SEC teams.
- Georgia's first championship came in 1983, and it served as a springboard for the Bulldogs' march to the NCAA Final Four.
- Since the tournament was revived in 1979, an SEC team has advanced from the first round to the title game (four straight games) just nine times. Georgia has done it thrice:
1988 Lost to Kentucky in title game
1997 Lost to Kentucky in title game
2008 Defeated Arkansas in title game
- For 19 straight years, from 1980-98, Georgia played at least into the tournament second round. Its 1st-round exit in '99 ended that string, and the Bulldogs had met a similar fate each succeeding time before an opening-round win over Auburn in 2004.
- Georgia owns at least a share of several tournament records:
- Longest Game: 4 OTs vs. Auburn in 1979.
- Fewest Points: 11 vs. Tennessee in 1937
- Fewest FGs: 3 vs. Tennessee in 1937
- Fewest FTs Made: 1 vs. Mississippi State in 2009
- Most 3-pt. FGA: 17 by Jody Patton vs. Tennessee in 1991
- Most 3-pt. FGM: 8 by Levi Stukes vs. Auburn in 2004 (1 of 5 players to hold the record)
- By beating them in the SEC Tournament, Georgia has had the unusual distinction of playing three recent SEC coaches in their last games at their respective schools: Dale Brown of LSU (1997), Richard Williams of Mississippi State (1998) and Cliff Ellis of Auburn (2004).
- Twelve Georgia players have made the All-Tournament team, six since the
tourney was revived in 1979. Before Sundiata Gaines and Terrance Woodbury made the team in 2008, it had been 11 years since Georgia's last appointment:
Dominique Wilkins (MVP in '81), Vern Fleming (MVP in 1983), Pat Hamilton in 1988, Ray Harrison in 1997; Sundiata Gaines (MVP) and Terrance Woodbury in 2008.
- Since the Chick-Fil-A "Legends" program was introduced in 1999, the following ex-Bulldogs have represented the Georgia program:
1999 - Vern Fleming
2000 - Alec Kessler
2001 - Zippy Morocco
2002 - Dominique Wilkins
2003 - James Banks
2004 - Lavon Mercer
2005 - Ronnie Hogue
2006 - Joe Ward
2007 - Litterial Green
2008 - Hugh Durham
2009 - Shandon Anderson
2010 - Tom Brennan
2011 - Walter Daniels
2012 - Willie Anderson
Fox Rated Nation's Top Developer of Talent
Blogger and hoops junkie Dan Hanner of RealGM.com recently penned an article that annointed Georgia head coach Mark Fox as the top coach in college basketball at player development. In his Feb. 23 blog, Hanner uses 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).
Schedule Among Nation's Toughest
Georgia's schedule features as many as 17 games that could come against teams that played in the 2011 postseason. In addition to the SEC, other so-called "power" leagues represented on the Bulldogs 2012 schedule include the following:
Atlantic Coast; Atlantic Ten; Big East; BigTwelve; Pac 12.
The Bulldogs' current strength-of-schedule rating, according to collegerpi.com, is 18.
"Masters" of their Field
Two Bulldogs, Gerald Robinson and Connor Nolte, are playing the 2011-12 season while pursuing master's degrees. Both transferred to UGA in 2010, Robinson from Tennessee State and Nolte from Furman. Each completed his undergraduate degree and participated in commencement services in 2011. Robinson, whose bachelor's degree is in Speech Communication, is working towards a master's in Adult Education. Nolte earned his first degree in Marketing and is now earning his graduate degree in Sport Management.
Their graduation helped to mark a banner year, academically speaking, for the Bulldogs. Also earning diplomas in the spring of 2011 were Georgia's two 4-year seniors, Chris Barnes and Jeremy Price. The Bulldogs' next group of 4-year seniors is also due to graduate next spring: Matt Bucklin and Dustin Ware.
Georgia and The Twittersphere
The graduate status of Robinson and Nolte isn't the only tie that binds these two Bulldogs together. They're also the only players on the UGA squad that are currently permitted to use their Twitter accounts. And there's a direct correlation between those two facts.
Most other Bulldogs indeed have Twitter accounts but haven't used them since last September, when the current moratorium was instituted by coach Mark Fox.
Upgrades to Stegeman Court, Sound
Just one year after a $13 million cosmetic facelift to Stegeman Coliseum, the 48-year-old arena received two major upgrades in the offseason. A new state-of-the-art sound system was installed duing the summer months by Baker Audio of Norcross, Ga., at a cost of nearly $620,000. In addition, the Bulldogs will enjoy playing on a nearly-new playing court. The UGA Athletic Association purchased the playing surface from the NCAA, which installed it for its 2011 Women's Regional at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. Typically, the NCAA hires Connor Sport Court International of Amasa, Mich., to manufacture courts for its eight Regional sites, as well as the two Final Four sites. It then sells the slightly-used courts to interested schools. Total cost for purchasing, resanding and finishing the floor for use in Stegeman Coliseum: $90,000.
KCP the Latest McD's All-American
When Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named a 2011 McDonald's All-American, it had been almost 20 years since the last Georgia signee earned the prestigious honor. Athens' own Carlos Strong arrived on campus in 1992 as a McD's appointee.
Technically, Damien Wilkins was the most recent McDonald's All-American to play at Georgia, but he signed with and played at N.C. State for two seasons before transferring to UGA in 2002.
UGA signed five McD's all-stars in a 3-year span from 1979-82. They formed the nucleus of the group that reached the 1983 NCAA Final Four.