Dawgs’ out-of-conference schedule earns a “7”

Georgia Bulldogs basketball coach Mark Fox will be breaking in a lot of new players this season, navigating them through a challenging out-of-conference schedule that should have them prepped and ready for SEC play by the time January rolls around.

Pretty ambitious for a coach who lost nearly 45% of his scoring to the NBA…

ESPN blogger Diamond Leung, of the site’s College Basketball Nation Blog, rated Georgia’s O.O.C. schedule a “7” out of a potential “10”.  In his analysis of Georgia’s schedule, Leung comments:

The CBE Classic gives the Bulldogs an opportunity to measure themselves in Kansas City against a veteran Cal team and then either Missouri or Notre Dame. It won’t be easy to pick up road wins against Top-25 Xavier or across the country at USC. Cincinnati is another ranked team and playing in the thin air of Boulder will be a challenge. This schedule gets it done. Will the Dawgs survive?

I am hopeful that Georgia comes out of this slate of games with a 9-5 record, including big home victories over Cincinnati and Georgia Tech.  Anything better than that would be cause for some serious optimism heading into conference play, because it would assume wins away from Stegeman against Cal, Missouri or Notre Dame, Xavier, Colorado or Southern Cal.

Any other predictors out there?

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s Eligibility

I realize that we are still in the initial stages of football season, and that the Dawgs have another “must win” kickoff against the other Bulldogs in four hours.  However, the basketball Dawgs received some great news last week when incoming freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was cleared by the NCAA to play this season.

If you are a Dawgs‘ basketball fan, insert your sigh of relief here _______.

With the departures of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, who are now both circling somewhere in “NBA Limbo Land”, the biggest uncertainty about the 2011-2012 team has always been in regards to the paint.  In other words, it’s hard to envision which players – Marcus Thornton, Donte Williams or one of the frosh -are going to step up and fill those inside roles.

The strength of this year’s basketball team is going to be in the backcourt, with returning seniors Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Dustin Ware being joined by freshman sensation Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (KCP).  If KCP is every bit as good as advertised – legitimate three-point shooter and smooth ball-handler – then Georgia undoubtedly posses one of the better backcourts in the Southeastern conference.

While it may still seem a bit early to be thinking about basketball, believe me, everyone’s November through March is going to be a whole lot better with KCP inside Stegeman, donning the Red and Black.