(My apologies to anyone who happened to read my post from earlier today – it contained some errors about the Wofford Terriers that I have since corrected)
The Georgia Bulldogs open up the 2011-2012 regular season this Friday, playing host to the Wofford Terriers of the Southern Conference. The Terriers are coming off of back-to-back SoCon Championships, however, they will begin this year attempting to replace four starters, including leading-scorer Noah Dahlman, and Tim Johnson, the team’s leading rebounder. Despite Wofford’s recent successes, expectations have been tempered this season; Rivals.com picked the Terriers to finish third in their half of the conference.
Wofford won’t be the only team in Athens looking to find new scorers and rebounders, though. The Dawgs, after making a rare at-large trip to the NCAA Tournament last season, will need to find a way to exist without Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, both of whom left school early to be a part of the “NBA Lockout Party”. Senior guards Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Dustin Ware are the Bulldogs’ lone returning starters, and Robinson, who averaged 12.0 ppg last season, will most likely shoulder a bigger part of the team’s scoring load.
Rivals projected the Dawgs to place 8th in the Southeastern conference, and with all of the question marks surrounding the frontcourt it’s hard to blame them.
In the team’s exhibition win over Morehouse last Friday, the much-heralded recruit, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (KCP for brevity’s sake), started the game in an unfamiliar place – the bench. Coach Fox opted to give Sherrard Brantely the nod at guard, and KCP responded by going 2 of 9 from the floor (although his two makes were both from beyond the arc). On Friday night, however, I predict that the McDonald’s All-American is in the lineup when the game tips off.
The expectations for the Georgia Bulldogs basketball team might be significantly lower than they were a year ago, but I have confidence that Fox will get the most out this team and that they will in fact improve throughout the season.
A win on Friday at Stegeman would be a nice step in the right direction.