March 12, 2013
About the Game
As the No. 8 seed, Georgia opens play in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament against 9th-seeded LSU on Thursday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn. The Bulldogs and Tigers finished the SEC season with identical 9-9 records. Georgia, however, won the tie-breaker based upon the only head-to-head matchup between the two teams: a 67-58 Bulldog victory in Athens on Jan. 19. It was the first of Georgia's nine SEC wins this season.
Georgia arrives at this tournament with a 15-16 overall record. The Bulldogs completed the regular season with a 61-58 loss at Alabama five days ago, a game in which Georgia trailed throughout but managed a 58-58 tie inside the final minute. It was the second straight road loss on a buzzer-beater and a third straight that was decided on the final possession.
Still, Georgia's 9-9 league mark represents just the third .500 SEC record for the Bulldogs in the past 10 years. It also marks quite an accomplishment for a team that played its first five league games with a 1-4 record.
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 65-62 / 4th season
Overall Record/Years: 188-105 / 9th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore
||Andrew Del Piero
||Johnny O'Bryant III
||New Orleans, La.
Head Coach: Johnny Jones
Record at LSU / Years: 18-11 / 1st season
Overall Record / Years: 223-173 / 13th season
Assistant Coaches: Robert Kirby, Charlie Leonard, David Patrick
Georgia vs. LSU
Saturday's game is the 104th all-time meeting between Georgia and LSU in basketball. LSU leads the all-time series by a 61-42 count.
LSU has accrued this fairly large lead in the series despite a run by Georgia since 1992, when the SEC expanded, was pared into divisions and interdivisional play took place just once per season. Since that year, Georgia has won 16 of 27 meetings.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UGA leads 26-21
Games in Baton Rouge: LSU leads 34-12
Neutral-Court Games: LSU leads 6-4
SEC Tournament Games: LSU leads 4-3
Projected LSU starter Charles Carmouche, a transfer from the University of New Orleans, has prior experience playing against Georgia. He started and scored 20 points for the Privateers in a 67-59 Georgia victory on Nov. 13, 2009. It was the first regular-season game of the Mark Fox era at UGA.
On this day five years ago, a category F2 tornado struck the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where Georgia was preparing to play Kentucky in the SEC Tournament 2nd round. The tornado rendered the Dome an unfit facility, precipitating a move to Georgia Tech's Alexander Coliseum. Georgia went on to win the 2008 SEC Tournament, first by winning its 2nd-round and semifinal games on Saturday and then by beating Arkansas on Sunday in the title game.
Georgia is within a hair's breadth of riding a 7-game road winning streak. In backwards order, its last four road games -- all following a 3-game road win streak -- have ended in close losses: at Alabama (buzzer beater), at Vandy (buzzer beater), at Arkansas (decided on final possession) and at Ole Miss (overtime after narrow miss at end of regulation).
Right now, Georgia has just one player (KCP at 18.0 ppg) averaging in double-digit scoring. No Bulldog team of the past 50 years has had that distinction.
Even with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope starting all 31 games, the Georgia starters this season have been outscored by an average of 7.3 points (37.9 - 45.2). The Bulldog bench, however, has outdone its counterparts by an average score of 22.9 - 16.2 (+6.7). In fact, Georgia reserves have been outscored just once through the entire SEC schedule: in the opener at Florida (16-22).
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 enters this tournament 19 points shy of reaching 1,000 for his career. 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.
Caldwell-Pope is just the second Bulldog ever to win SEC Player-of-the-Year honors. Dominique Wilkins, also as a sophomore in 1981, was the first Georgia player to win POY.
One more interesting tidbit about Caldwell-Pope. He remains one of just nine 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. Only four SEC players have accomplished the feat over an entire season since 1996: Glen Davis of LSU (2005-06), Marquis Daniels of Auburn (2002-03), Ron Slay of Tennessee (2002-03) and Ansu Sesay of Ole Miss (1997-98).
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 7.9 per game but is now the No. 2 scorer on the current squad.
Caldwell-Pope and Charles Mann each surpassed the 150 free throw attempts mark last week. It's been 23 years since Georgia had two players try that many in a single season (Alec Kessler and Litterial Green in 1989-90). Mann's current total is the most by a freshman guard at UGA since Green in 1989.
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.
Georgia & the SEC Tournament
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:
1979: 1-1 (Second Round)
1980: 0-1 (First Round)
1981: 2-1 (Championship Game)
1982: 0-1 (Second Round)
1983: 3-0 (Champions)
1984: 1-1 (Second Round)
1985: 1-1 (Semifinals)
1986: 0-1 (Second Round)
1987: 1-1 (Semifinals)
1988: 3-1 (Championship Game)
1989: 1-1 (Second Round)
1990: 0-1 (Second Round)
1991: 1-1 (Semifinals)
1992: 1-1 (Second Round)
1993: 1-1 (Second Round)
1994: 1-1 (Second Round)
1995: 0-1 (Second Round)
1996: 1-1 (Semifinals)
1997: 3-1 (Championship Game)
1998: 1-1 (Second Round)
1999: 0-1 (First Round)
2000: 0-1 (First Round)
2001: 0-1 (First Round)
2002: 0-1 (Second Round)
2003: Did Not Play
2004: 1-1 (Second Round)
2005: 0-1 (First Round)
2006: 0-1 (First Round)
2007: 1-1 (Second Round)
2008: 4-0 (Champions)
2009: 0-1 (First Round)
2010: 1-1 (Second Round)
2011: 1-1 (Second Round)
2012: 1-1 (Second Round)
> 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 sixtimes: 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 has won at least one SEC Tournament game each year since Mark Fox arrived in 2009.
> 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
2013 - Tim Bassett
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
With its premiere March 3, the latest episode of ESPN's "SEC Storied" series focuses 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.
Several former Bulldogs, including seniors Sundiata Gaines and Dave Bliss are featured in the 60-minute show.