Georgia vs. Cincinnati
- Georgia plays its first home game in over two weeks when it entertains Cincinnati in the 2011 HTC Big East / SEC Challenge. Tonight's game is one of four contests taking place at campus venues this evening. The shift to on-campus sites is a new feature to this 5-year-old event, which pairs teams from the SEC against teams from the Big East Conference.
Georgia has participated once before in the Big East / SEC Challenge. That was in December of 2009, when the Bulldogs dropped a 66-56 decision to St. John's at Madison Square Garden in New York.
- Most recently, Georgia fell 70-68 at Colorado on Monday night, completing a 4-game road swing that covered the past 10 days. Also on that trip were a pair of losses to Top 25 members Cal and Xavier, as well as a victory over Notre Dame.
- The Bulldogs are currently in the midst of a 7-game stretch that would rival any program's in degree of difficulty. When it concludes with a Dec. 17 game at Southern Cal, the Bulldogs will have faced three Pac-12 schools and at least one each from the Big East, ACC and A-10. Just two of these seven games are scheduled at home. This string of games perhaps explains Georgia's current RPI standing of 53 (according to www.collegerpi.com). It surely explains the Bulldogs' strength-of-schedule rating of 20th.
- Friday's game will be the first-ever meeting between Georgia and Cincinnati in basketball, as well as the 25th all-time game against the current membership of the Big East Conference. Georgia is 10-14 in those previous games, most extensively vs. Pitt (3-2) & Villanova (2-2).
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 39-32 / 3rd season
Overall Record/Years: 162-75 / 8th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore
|F||34||Yancy Gates||6-9||260||Sr.||Cincinnati, Ohio||14.2||9.3|
|F||5||Justin Jackson||6-8||210||So.||Cocoa Beach, Fla.||5.5||6.8|
|G||23||Sean Kilpatrick||6-4||215||So.||White Plains, N.Y.||13.8||5.2|
|G||3||Dion Dixon||6-3||195||Sr.||Chicago, Ill.||12.5||5.0|
|G||1||Cashmere Wright||6-0||175||Jr.||Savannah, Ga.||10.0||4.7a|
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Mick Cronin
Record at UC / Years: 83-82 (6th season)
Overall Record / Years: 160-103 (9th season)
Assistant Coaches: Larry Davis (Assoc. HC), George Jackson, Darren Savino
Georgia vs. Colorado
- Friday's game is the first-ever meeting between Georgia and Cincinnati.
- This will be Georgia's 25th all-time game against the current membership of the Big East Conference. Bulldog teams are 10-14 in those games, most frequently against Pitt (3-2) and Villanova (2-2). Georgia has already played and defeated one Big East school this season: Notre Dame (61-57 on 11/22).
"Green As the New York Jets"
- Georgia this season is tasked with overcoming the early departures of two All-SEC players, forwards Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie. Their absences, combined with the graduation of seniors Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes, have left a significant hole in the Bulldog frontcourt. Together this foursome averaged 43.4 points and 23.7 rebounds per game last season.
- Georgia's top returning rebounder heading into the 2012 season is senior point guard Dustin Ware, who brought down a whopping 2.9 boards per game last year.
- This is the 26th season of the 3-point shot in college basketball. Georgia's current per-game average of 23.2 treys attempted per game is on pace to be the most ever by a Bulldog team. The previous high average was the 22.9 attempts per game in the 1998 season.
- Vincent Williams had two inconspicuous seasons in 2010 and 2011. This year, however, he has thrust himself prominently into a crowded backcourt rotation, even starting two of the past three games. He's already established new career highs in scoring, rebounds and minutes.
- Sophomore Donte' Williams has also benefitted from a greatly increased role this season. The 6-9 forward has become Georgia's top frontline offensive threat, with double-figure scoring twice already, including a career-high 17 points against South Dakota State. He also leads Georgia in blocked shots with 14.
- 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 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.
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.
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
Additionally, the Bulldogs are slated for at least 16 national television dates and 12 more regional TV appearances. They've been tabbed twice as part of ESPN's "Super Tuesday" coverage of college basketball, both times against SEC Eastern Division rivals: Jan. 10 at Florida and two weeks later at home against Kentucky.
"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:
- The addition of the 3-ft arc under the basket (similar to the NBA) where a defender is not considered legal for the purpose of drawing a charge.
- The elimination of the term "intentional foul," to be replaced with Flagrant 1 (which features much of the same rationale as the previous intentional foul rule as well as elbow contact above the shoulders of an opponent) and Flagrant 2 (previously known as flagrant foul). Flagrant 1 = 2 shots and ball; Flagrant 2 = 2 shots and ball + ejection of the offender.
- Officials' jurisdiction now extends 30 minutes prior to tipoff. At least one official has to remain on the floor the entirety of that time period leading to tip-off.
- Timeout administration: The NCAA is attempting to quicken the pace of teams' return to the court after a timeout. Officials are now instructed to give a team a formal warning the first time they are not ready to play at the time of the second horn. For subsequent offenses, the official shall put the ball in play by setting it on the floor and starting his 5-second count.
- Finally, this rule change does not affect the men's game, but there will now be a single 3-point line in men's and women's basketball at 20 feet, 9 inches.