GAME NOTES: The Georgia Bulldogs will try to climb their way back to .500 on
the season, as they pull into Knoxville for a SEC clash with the Tennessee
Georgia has been incredibly streaky on its way to a 10-11 record, as it has
pieced together two winning streaks of at least three games, as well as a pair
of equally-long skids. The Bulldogs have been on the upswing in recent weeks
with three consecutive triumphs to pull even in conference play at 4-4, most
recently claiming a road matchup at South Carolina on Saturday, 67-56.
Tennessee has been slightly better than Georgia overall on the campaign
(11-9), but it has struggled through much of its SEC slate (3-5). The Vols
dropped a 73-60 decision at Arkansas on Saturday, but the good news is that
now they return home where they have won nine of 11 games this season.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Georgia by a 93-53 margin, which
includes a 55-14 record in Knoxville.
The Bulldogs controlled their recent contest by shooting a lofty 58.1 percent
from the field while holding South Carolina to a mere 35.8 percent. Kentavious
Caldwell-Pope was the catalyst in the victory with 19 points and seven
rebounds, and paired with his double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) in the
win against Auburn on Jan. 30, he claimed the SEC Player of the Week. Charles
Mann and Kenny Gaines were both impressive off the bench with 11 points each,
while Mann dished out six assists as well. Georgia's scoring offense has often
left much to be desired, ranking 13th in the SEC with just 59.6 ppg, but it
yields just 61.4 ppg on defense and holds opponents to less than 40 percent
field goal shooting. Caldwell-Pope is the league's second-best scorer at 17.5
ppg, and he does plenty of damage elsewhere with 6.6 rpg, 2.3 spg, and 51 3-
pointers. The supporting cast around him isn't strong however, with Nemanja
Djurisic (7.5 ppg) the next best option.
The Vols went into one of the most hostile buildings in the nation over the
weekend and fell behind Arkansas by double-digits at the half, and could never
recover. They shot a respectable 43.8 percent from the floor, but only two of
their field goals came from 3-point range, and they lost the turnover battle
by a hefty 20-8 margin. Jarnell Stokes posted his third straight double-double
with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Kenny Hall shot 6-of-7 from the field for 14
points, and Josh Richardson added 11 points in the setback. On the season,
Tennessee allows just 62.1 ppg to its opponents, but barely supports that
solid defensive effort by netting a modest 63.9 ppg at the other end. Jordan
McRae is typically the top threat to score with 13.9 ppg, but he has failed to
put up more than seven points in either of the last two games after pouring in
20 or more in five of the previous seven. Stokes mans the paint with 11.9 ppg
and 8.4 rpg. Trae Golden (10.0 ppg, 3.9 apg) is questionable for this matchup
with a hamstring injury.
In terms of momentum, Georgia clearly has the edge, and it has proven recently
that it can win tough road games in conference. That said, Tennessee's
impressive play at home gives it the advantage.