Nov. 15, 2011
Georgia vs. South Dakota State
Georgia continues its participation in the Progressive CBE Classic this Wednesday when it plays host to the South Dakota State. The Bulldogs began this tournament Sunday evening with a 63-54 victory over Bowling Green in Athens. The Jackrabbits, meanwhile, will return to Georgia next to finish their 4-game stint in the CBE Classic at the Macon Subregional.
Here's how the Progressive CBE Classic tournament works. The 12-team field is guaranteed four total games apiece. Four teams -- Georgia, Cal, Notre Dame and Missouri -- will host 1st- and 2nd-round games before heading to Kansas City next week for the semifinals and finals. The remaining eight teams will convene in Macon (@Mercer) and Bowling Green next week for three more games each.
The event is named after the College Basketball Experience, the college basketball fan facility adjacent to Sprint Center, which also features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Opened in October 2007, the College Basketball Experience is the nation's only facility that celebrates the sport of men's collegiate basketball.
The Bulldogs have posted victories in each of their first two games this season. Just 48 hours before defeating Bowling Green, they dispatched a nemesis of recent years, Wofford, by a 62-49 count.
Georgia also played one exhibition game during the preseason. The Bulldogs dispatched DII opponent Morehouse 74-50 in Athens on Nov. 4.
#Assists Per Game
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Scott Nagy
Georgia vs. South Dakota State
Wednesday's game is the first-ever meeting between Georgia and South Dakota State in basketball.
Georgia has only a minimal history against the current membership of the Summit League. Its only previous game against any Summit member was a 1980 encounter against Oral Roberts, which didn't join the Summit until 17 years later. The Bulldogs won that game 81-65.
The 15 points scored by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on Friday against Wofford marked the highest output by a freshman starter for Georgia -- in his collegiate debut -- in seven years. Sundiata Gaines tallied 17 in his first game against Western Kentucky in November of 2004.
Georgia has now been outrebounded in three of its four halves of basketball thus far this young season.
In his first game as a sophomore, Donte' Williams established career highs in rebounding with 13 (5 better than his previous high) and minutes with 30 (12 better than his earlier high of 18).
The 2011-12 Bulldogs enter 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 last week 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.
The Bulldogs are replacing their entire frontcourt this season: three starters and their top backup. Perhaps the best illustration of their rebuilding job is this fact: Georgia's top returning rebounder, statistically speaking, is 5-11 point guard Dustin Ware, who pulled down a whopping 2.9 boards per game last season.
"Green As the New York Jets"
As his Bulldogs prepared to begin the 2012 season, head coach Mark Fox alluded to the NFL's New York Jets in describing the team's lack of experience. And he's not too far off. Aside from seniors Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson, fellow senior Connor Nolte is Georgia's only other player to have ever started in a college basketball game prior to the 2012 season. Nolte started the Bulldogs' first three games of last season and he also started 15 of 60 games as a freshman and sophomore at Furman University in the 2008-09 seasons.
Additionally, because of the installation of the new court at Stegeman Coliseum, all of Georgia's newcomers had never even taken a shot on their home court until two weeks ago.
Bulldogs, Bearcats in Challenge
Georgia will play host to Cincinnati on Friday, Dec. 2 as part of the expanded Big East/SEC Challenge event. The UGA-UC matchup is one of four games on Dec. 2, the middle day of the 3-day event, all of which will be televised by the ESPN family of networks. This will mark the first-ever meeting between Georgia and Cincinnati, both of whom earned at-large berths in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. This is the fifth year that the SEC and Big East have played each other as part of an in-season event, with the overall series tied at 8-8. For the first time, however, all 12 SEC schools will play against 12 of the 16 Big East teams, with all games taking place at campus sites.
This will be Georgia's second appearance in this event. The 2010 Bulldogs dropped a 66-56 decision to St. John's in the 2009 Challenge in a game played at Madison Square Garden.
"Masters" of their Field
Two Bulldogs, Gerald Robinson and Connor Nolte, will be 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.
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. SEC Race, Tournament to Have Different Looks in 2012
Just shy of their 20th birthdays, the SEC Eastern and Western Divisions have seen their final days. The league's basketball coaches voted first, followed by its ADs and then its presidents and chancellors, to adopt a 1-12 seeding in the conference post-season tournament, with byes going to the top four finishers. All teams will play the unbalanced, 16-game schedule for the coming season but will increase that total for the 2013 campaign, likely to 18 games, as it was before the SEC was pared into divisions for the 1991-92 season.
The SEC Tournament returns this season to New Orleans for the third time ever, but for the first time at the New Orleans Arena, home to the NBA's Hornets. Georgia did not play in the last tournament at New Orleans in 2003. Rule Changes to Look For in 2012
The NCAA Men's Basketball Rules approved a number of rules changes for the 2012 season, some significant, others not so much. Among the most prominent changes include:
In the program's history, Georgia has had just five players leave school early and get selected in the NBA Draft, led by Dominique Wilkins in 1981. Two of those five came last spring in forwards Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie.
Early Entry Draftees from Georgia
Bulldogs Defeat Morehouse in Exhibition
Gerald Robinson led a parade of scorers with 20 points as Georgia easily defeated Division II foe Morehouse College 74-50 in its only exhibition contest of the preseason last Friday night in Athens.
The Bulldogs had little trouble with the Maroon Tigers, needing just eight minutes to build their first double-digit lead. By halftime, when Georgia led 41-19, nine Bulldogs had rung the bell and 12 of their 14 players had seen action.
Frequent shuffling of the lineup in the second half produced a somewhat ragged performance by the victors. Still, Morehouse was unable to capitalize and Georgia maintained its margin in the 20-point range until a 10-2 run midway through the period boosted the lead to its largest at 66-35 with 6:35 left.
Freshman Nemi Djurisic was Georgia's only other scorer in double figures with 12 points, including two-for-two from 3-point range.
A boxscore from this game follows later in this notes package.
Returning Statistical Leaders for Georgia