Dec. 26, 2013
About the Game
Georgia begins the completion of its pre-conference schedule with a Saturday road game at No. 21 Colorado. The Bulldogs are riding a 5-game win streak, longest since a streak identical in length during the SEC schedule in 2013.
Most recently, they needed a pair of foul shots by Charles Mann with 2.5 seconds left to defeat Western Carolina at home 65-63 on Dec. 21. The win improved Georgia's overall record to 6-4 on the season. The Bulldogs dispersed for a short Christmas break after the game before gathering back in Athens for an afternoon practice on Dec. 24.
The Western Carolina game marked Georgia's second consecutive game with sub-averaged offensive numbers. Still, this year's Bulldogs remain far ahead of their predecessors in that regard. The 2014 Georgia squad is averaging nearly 13 points more than last season (73.6 to 60.8) and shooting almost eight percentage points higher (48.1 to 40.8 percent). Four regulars are currently shooting over 56 percent, including Nemi Djurisic, who also leads the Bulldogs in shooting 56 percent from 3-point range.
Saturday's game is the ninth all-time meeting between Georgia and Colorado, and it also marks the beginning of the fifth home-and-home series between these two schools. Georgia leads the series 6-2, having won all four times in Athens and twice in Boulder. The last series took place in the 2011-12 seasons, with the home team winning each time. Most recently, Colorado took a 70-68 decision on Nov. 28, 2011.
The Colorado game begins one of the most challenging stretches of the 2013-14 season for Georgia. Five of the Bulldogs' next six games are against teams currently included among the nation's top 60 RPI teams. Four of those contests are on the road. Saturday's game will be the Bulldogs' first true road game of the season. They'll follow up with a Jan. 3 game at George Washington, which began this week with a 10-1 record.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||6.3||4.7|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||7.2||5.7|
|G||3||Juwan Parker||6-4||200||Fr.||Tulsa, Okla.||5.0||4.3|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.4||2.8a|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||11.8||2.4|
#Assists Per Game
|F||1||Wesley Gordon||6-9||225||RFr.||Colorado Springs, Colo.||7.0||6.3|
|F||2||Xavier Johnson||6-7||220||So.||Los Angeles, Calif.||9.3||6.0|
|F||40||Josh Scott||6-10||245||So.||Monument, Colo.||13.0||8.9|
|G||0||Askia Booker||6-2||170||Jr.||Los Angeles, Calif.||12.1||2.8|
|G||25||Spencer Dinwiddie||6-6||200||Jr.||Woodland Hills, Calif.||15.7||3.9a|
Head Coach: Tad Boyle
Record at Colorado / Years: 79-40 / 4th season
Overall Record / Years: 135-106 / 8th season
Assistant Coaches: Jean Prioleau (Assoc. HC), Mike Rohn, Rodney Billups
Georgia vs. Colorado
Saturday's game is the ninth all-time meeting between Georgia and Colorado in basketball. Georgia leads the series by a 6-2 count.
These two schools have staged four previous home-and-home series. Just the most recent series occurred while the current head coaches occupied their positions:
Dec. 7, 1991 @Boulder: CU 69, UGA 58 Dec. 30, 1992 @Athens: UGA 75, CU 63
Dec. 22, 1996 @Athens: UGA 62, CU 52 Dec. 9, 1997 @Boulder: UGA 84, CU 73
Dec. 1, 2001 @Athens: UGA 81, CU 73 Dec. 3, 2002 @Boulder: UGA 71, CU 70
Nov. 16, 2010 @Athens: UGA 83, CU 74 Nov. 28, 2011 @Boulder: CU 70, UGA 68
Georgia is 13-13 all-time against the current membership of the Pac-12 Conference. Colorado is its most frequent opponent with a 6-2 record. Arizona is the only Pac-12 school that Georgia has never played. Others include Arizona State (0-1); Cal (1-2); Oregon (0-1); Oregon State (1-1); Stanford (0-2); UCLA (0-3); USC (3-0); Utah (1-0); Washington (0-1); and Wash. State (1-0).
Much has been made of the new enforcement of existing rules, as well as new rules, this season. Specifically, the following are supposed to be different from past seasons:
Under the revised block/charge call in men's basketball, a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass. If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul. Previously, a defender had to be in legal guarding position when the offensive player lifted off the floor.
It is believed that the rule change will:
1) Allow for more offensive freedom; 2) Provide clarity for officials in making this difficult call; and
3) Enhance the balance between offense and defense.
Additionally, officials will be required to adhere to new points of emphasis, all designed to encourage "freedom of movement" in the game of basketball. They include:
1) When a defensive player keeps a hand or forearm on an opponent;
2) When a defensive player puts two hands on an opponent;
3) When a defensive player continually jabs by extending his arm(s) and placing a hand or forearm on the opponent;
4) When a player uses an arm bar to impede the progress of an opponent.
Thus far, as all participants adjust to these changes, the volume of called fouls rose in the beginning but has leveled off recently. There has been an average of 40 fouls called in each of Georgia's games thus far this season, compared to 36 fouls per game last season.
Georgia began this season amidst low expectations...externally, anyway. The Bulldogs were picked by the media that cover SEC basketball to finish 11th in the 14-team league, ahead of only South Carolina, Mississippi State and Auburn. This, despite a 9-9 SEC record last year and an eighth-place tie in the final standings. Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee were picked 1-2-3 in the same poll. Additionally, no Bulldogs were selected to the 16-player pre-season All-SEC lists.
About the Schedule
Conference expansion manifests itself in many strange ways, not the least of which occurs in scheduling. Georgia fans noticed this oddity most recently as their football team has traveled to Auburn in consecutive seasons.
This season their basketball team will experience one of the oddest quirks to its schedule in years. Kentucky will not travel to Athens for a game this season for the first time since the 1962-63 season. Same for Tennessee. For Florida, which also won't play a game in Athens this season, the last time it didn't play in Athens was in 1961-62. The Gators are the most frequent opponent in UGA hoops history.
It took a World War to keep all three schools out of Athens together in the same season the last time. Not since the 1943-44 season -- when Georgia dotted its schedule with random groups like Lawson General Hospital and Robins Airfield -- has this phenomenon occurred.
Saturday's game is Georgia's first true road game of the season and also its first against a Top 25 opponent. The Bulldogs have played seven home games and three neutral-court games thus far at the Charleston Classic in late November. Georgia is one of four SEC schools that began this week having yet to play a true road game (Arkansas, Missouri and Texas A&M are the others).
Offense on the Uptick
One thing is apparent through the early going this season: Georgia's offense appears to be measurably more effective than last season, even without its best scorer from 2013. In nine of 10 games thus far, the Bulldogs have scored well over their seasonal average (60.8) of last season. The team's overall shooting percentage has also risen from 40.8 of last season to its current mark of 48.1.
Already, Georgia has shot over 50 percent from the field in six games, twice more than in all of 2012-13. The Bulldogs began this week ranking 45th nationally in FG percentage.
Williams a Seasoned Veteran
With Marcus Thornton receiving a medical redshirt season from 2013, Donte' Williams became the Bulldogs' lone senior this season. He is already the most experienced Bulldog, having started 59 games in the past two seasons. That's more than twice the total of Thornton, who is second on the team in career starts with 27, including seven in his truncated season of 2013. Williams enters this season with 471 career points, second among all Bulldogs behind Nemi Djurisic, who has tallied 475 in two seasons.
Morris Makes 2013-14 Debut
Sophomore forward Brandon Morris missed the season's first three games at the discretion of head coach Mark Fox. His return to action in the middle game of the Charleston Classic made a distinct difference in the Bulldogs' on-court performance.
The Lithonia native made his first start of the season Dec. 14 against Lipscomb, replacing point guard Charles Mann. Previously, Morris had seen only limited time at the point, including high school and AAU experience.
A Glance at the Stats
As Georgia finds its best rotation in the early going, the Bulldogs are one of six SEC schools with no player currently averaging 30 minutes of playing time per game. Alabama and Kentucky lead this category with three 30-minute players each.
Georgia has built a fairly significant average rebounding margin (+5.8/game) by committee. No Bulldog averages over the 5.7 mark by Donte' Williams. Georgia outrebounded Western Carolina last Saturday 28-25, its fifth straight opponent it had outdone in that category.
One effect of not having Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on this year's team: last year, 30 percent of Georgia's total field goals were scored from 3-point range. This year, just 17 percent thus far have come from beyond the arc.