Georgia Visits Knoxville

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Will the Vols fans get to see any of Travis Leslie's high-flying dunks on Wednesday?

The Georgia Bulldogs basketball team heads to Knoxville, TN on Wednesday to take on Bruce Pearl’s #20 Tennessee Volunteers (18-6 overall; 6-4 SEC).

Georgia snapped a 10-game losing streak with their thrilling 78-63 blow-out win over the Vols in Athens back in January.

The game on Wednesday will be played at the Thompson-Boling Arena, a place where the Dawgs haven’t won since February 21, 2001.

The road as been anything but kind to Georgia this year, as they are now 0-8 overall and 0-5 in the SEC in true away games.  An outside observer would certainly not give the Dawgs much of a chance in this one.

Georgia, however, is coming off a 66-61 comeback victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks, and looking to build a little momentum.

Tennessee has lost two straight road games at Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and surely this team will be excited about getting home in front of their own fans.

With the dismissal of All-SEC forward Tyler Smith back in early January, senior center Wayne Chism has done a marvelous job of leading this team.  In SEC play this season, Chism is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game.  He is the team’s best inside scorer and certainly the Vols’ “go to” guy in the clutch.

Senior wingman J.P. Prince has been a “do everything” sort of player for Tennessee.  In SEC games, he is averaging 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists.  Prince is also an excellent defender, who can make it very difficult on the opposing team’s perimeter players with his long body and athleticism.

On the perimeter, the Vols are led by sophomore Scotty Hopson and senior point guard Bobby Maze.  Hopson is averaging 11.8 points in conference games, and he has hit 39.2% of his three-point field goals on the season.  Maze is scoring 9.8 points a game in SEC play.

Off the bench, Bruce Pearl has gotten solid play from freshman forward Kenny Hall, who is scoring 5.1 points and grabbing 5.5 rebounds in SEC play.  Junior guard Melvin Goins has scored 25 points over the last two games against Vandy and Kentucky.

Since the last meeting between these two teams, Pearl has reinstated junior center Brian Williams.  Williams has only played a total of 3 minutes in his first two games back, but the 6’10” 267lb Vol is a load inside and could see a significant increase in playing time against the Dawgs’ big frontcourt.

Here is how the Dawgs can pull off an upset in Knoxville on Wednesday: (and yes I understand Georgia hasn’t won a true road game this year)

Zone Defense

Tennessee does not shoot the ball well.  As a team, the Vols are knocking down 42.1% from the field, and only 29.7% from beyond the arc!  In the game in Athens, Fox used a packed-in 1-2-2 zone against Bruce Pearl’s Vols and it frustrated Tennessee into shooting 42.3% on field goals and 18.8% on three-pointers.  As long as the Dawgs’ defenders can contest shots by Hopson, and keep track of Chism when he slips out to the perimeter Georgia should be able to hold the Vols offense in check.

Who’s Got the Better Bench?

In the game in Athens, Georgia’s bench outscored Tennessee’s 16-13.  This was due in large part to the play from EA and Jeremy Price.  In 15 minutes of play, Anyaorah finished the game with 7 points and 4 assists.  Price gave Coach Fox 9 points and 3 rebounds in 25 minutes.  These two guys (along with Vincent Williams and Chris Barnes)  have got to be able to come into the game and contribute.

Outscoring the Vols bench this time around could be more difficult for the Dawgs.  Remember that in the last game Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goins were just being eased back into the rotation following their suspensions.  Add in the return of reserve center Brian Williams, and it is easy to see how the Vols bench could be up to the challenge on Wednesday.

Play Smart Trey

As evidenced by the Auburn game last week, Georgia becomes a much different team when Trey Thompkins is not on the court (that’s what happens when your leading scorer and rebounder and team-leader leaves the game).  I guarantee that Bruce Pearl’s staff took note of this, and I would be willingly to bet that Chism and the other Tennessee frontcourt players attack Trey in the paint on offense.  Albert Jackson and Jeremy Price need to give Thompkins help on the inside, and Trey needs to be careful not to pick up silly fouls because as he goes so go the Dawgs.

A Little Bit of Mojo

Everyone knows that Georgia is 0-8 in true road games this season, and on paper they really don’t have much of a shot to pull off the upset at Tennessee (last I checked UGA was an 11.5 point underdog in this one).  However, for some reason this team thrives against stout competition, as evidenced by the Dawgs 3-2 record against ranked opponents this year.  A lot of Georgia basketball fans thought the Dawgs had a chance of getting their first road win at South Carolina (didn’t happen), and even more thought that Georgia would certainly nab one at Auburn (didn’t come close to happening).  Maybe Wednesday night the Dawgs will steal a game that no one expects them to?  Before dismissing this possibility, please think back to this season’s SEC opener at Kentucky in which Georgia came very close to shocking the then ranked #3 Wildcats on their own court…

The game tips off at 8PM EST and will be televised on Peachtree TV – channel 7 for Comcast and 802 for Comcast HD.

Anyone else giving Georgia  a chance in this game?

19 thoughts on “Georgia Visits Knoxville

  1. I’m sure it will come as no surprise, but yes, I do believe we will win tonight. Everthing is lining up as well as it could for this game considering that we are coming off a win and they are coming off two tough losses. I’m sure that their beat down in Athens will still be fresh in their minds and they could come out on their heels to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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  2. I just dont see it tonight, Pearl will have some tricks up his sleeve- The Vols are playing for their seeding life,right now. I expect Chism and Prince to go off tonight. We are getting better, but if we cant beat Auburn on the road, how can we feel good about going to Kville. But if we do win, I will drive around chattanooga all day tomorrow with my flags up.

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  3. Hate to say it, but I’m with Macdaddy on this one. If we can put Chisim in foul trouble and make 8 or 10 3s we might pull the upset, but I don’t have a good feeling.

    I think the intangibles really favor UT: playing at home, 2 game losing streak, the fact that we whipped them in Athens.

    The biggest problem I see is that UT has reestablished their depth and will press us hard (not like the token press they used in Athens). I’m afraid we will once again commit 20 turnovers.

    I’ll be rooting hard for the Dawgs, but I wouldn’t bet on them.

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  4. Turnovers. Last time out, we turned the ball over 10 times. Was that a fluke or a trend? This team is still learning how to handle success, and for all of the stats we lead or are near the top in, turnovers have a nasty way of undoing all the good.

    If we don’t turn the ball over more than 10 times, we win. I just don’t see it happening, but we do tend to play up (generally) to the level of competition (or, down as the case may be).

    But a win up there would be HUGE.

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    1. You are right, Dawgs are last in conference in turnover margin. However, they did turn the ball over 18 times in the first game…but, they probably will not be able to get away with that on the road.

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      1. This may be wrong, but I think I heard teh announcers say during a recent game that the Dawgs lead the conference in assists. So if our margin is last, that means we have an ungodly number of turnovers.

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        1. Dawgs lead SEC in FG%, 3PT% and Assists with 14.4 per game.

          Dawgs are last in conference with a turnover margin of -5.5.

          According to my math, that makes 19.9 turnovers a game?

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  5. As we’ve said since the beginning of the season, it all comes down to guard play. We are completely overmatched in the backcourt athletically and physically against just about every team we play….plus they all have better perimeter shooters. Our backcourt doesn’t have to necessarily outplay UT’s backcourt, but they have to at least be somewhat competitive. When we get beat badly, we are generally getting outscored by 15-20+ behind the arc. It’s uncanny how many times our opponents have gotten a wide open 3 and made it to swing the momentum in their favor, especially on the road. Perimeter defense and making our fair share of 3 ball’s have had a huge impact on every game we’ve played and I expect this game to be no different.

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  6. I want to believe we can win tonight but I just don’t see it happening. UT will be fired up to play and I just can’t see a team of their caliber losing 3 straight. Not to mention, our road woes and how we’ve played after a win..see AU, FL. We beat UT and Vandy before them and those are quite possibly our worst conference games we’ve played.

    We just have to hope UT is not shooting well and that we keep turnovers down to 10 or less, win the glass battle, and hit some threes…that’s really all! That’s a lot to hope for.

    With that said, I will be pulling hard for these guys as I’ve enjoyed seeing them improve and the players excited again!

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  7. At two or three points this season (e.g., right before the Illinois game) I have been pessimistic about the Dawgs chances and was pleasantly surprised. Here’s hoping that trend holds. We haven’t won at UT in a coon’s age–in fact we’ve won two in Rupp since winning in Knoxville. But, then again, we usually lose on the road at Auburn, even when we have the better team. I’ll be watching and rooting tonight (if I can find the game on direct TV in the Greenville SC viewing area), so Goooooo Dawgs!!!!!!

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  8. We shouldn’t win. But we can. I won’t say that we will because I have a way of jinxing these things. But I will say that I think Jeremy Price is the key to the game.

    In the previous contest with Tennessee, Price’s 9 points seemed like an aberration (when compared to his season average of 6.9). However, in the last 4 games, Price is averaging 10.5 points a game and 5 rebounds. If he can repeat that type of performance, it will indeed help open things up for Trey and that could be all the difference we need.

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    1. Good point RedCrake…Price has been playing great recently.

      I wonder if he will start again? I know Ajax is back, but Price has proved that he can be a much more effective scorer.

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  9. Guard play killed us tonight, especially in the second half. Also, too many runouts from the Vols, they must have gotten at least 15-20 points on the break. Better effort than I thought I would see.

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