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NL East teams at the start of spring training
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NL East teams at the start of spring training

NL East teams at the start of spring training
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File
FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2017, file photo, Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez speaks with the media during the baseball club's Winter Fest celebration with fans at Washington Convention Center in Washington. Tirst-time manager Dave Martinez takes over the team that has won two consecutive NL East titles but never won a playoff series.(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

NL East teams at the start of spring training

A team-by-team look at the National League East entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:

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Washington Nationals

Manager: Dave Martinez (first season).

2017: 97-65, first place, lost to Chicago Cubs in NLDS.

Training Town: West Palm Beach, Florida.

Park: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

First Workout: Feb. 16/21.

He's Here: 1B-OF Matt Adams, C Miguel Montero.

He's Outta Here: Manager Dusty Baker, LF Jayson Werth, C Jose Lobaton, 1B-LF Adam Lind, RHP Matt Albers.

Going campin': It's become an all-too-familiar story for the Nationals and their fans: terrific regular season, followed by quick playoff exit, followed by a managerial change. Martinez will be the latest skipper to try to lead the club to postseason success — and GM Mike Rizzo has made it clear that ownership expects nothing less than a World Series championship. Martinez has been Joe Maddon's right-hand man with the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays and now gets his first shot in charge of a team. He replaces Baker, who lost his job after two NL East titles in two years as Washington's manager — and two one-run Game 5 defeats in the NLDS. The core of the team did not change at all, with RF Bryce Harper leading the lineup in what could be his last go-round with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall. He can become a free agent after this season and is expected to command a record-breaking contract. 2B Daniel Murphy (coming off knee surgery), 1B Ryan Zimmerman (coming off a career year of .303, 36 HRs, 108 RBIs but also 33 years old), 3B Anthony Rendon and SS Trea Turner should provide plenty of offense, while three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg anchor the rotation. The back end of the bullpen (Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler) returns intact. Not much in the way of camp competition anywhere.

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Miami Marlins

Manager: Don Mattingly (third season).

2017: 77-85, second place.

Training Town: Jupiter, Florida.

Park: Roger Dean Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: INF Starlin Castro, OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Sandy Alcantara, RHP Jorge Guzman, 1B Garrett Cooper, RHP Jacob Turner, OF-1B Scott Van Slyke, RHP Jumbo Diaz.

He's Outta Here: RF Giancarlo Stanton, LF Marcell Ozuna, CF Christian Yelich, 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Tom Koehler, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Dustin McGowan, C A.J. Ellis.

Going campin': The perennially downtrodden Marlins reboot yet again, this time under a new ownership group led by former Yankees captain Derek Jeter. The group has already antagonized the tiny fan base by trading major league home run champion Stanton, stolen base champ Gordon, All-Star Ozuna and Yelich, netting in return Castro and prospects. Jeter says the payroll dump was necessary because budget discipline and a stronger farm system are the only path to sustained success. The Marlins haven't had a winning season since 2009, and .500 may now be at least a few more years away. Mattingly's challenge during spring training will be to find five starting pitchers and build a lineup around Castro and catcher J.T. Realmuto — although both could exit in trades for more prospects.

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Atlanta Braves

Manager: Brian Snitker (third season).

2017: 72-90, third place.

Training Town: Kissimmee, Florida.

Park: Champion Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: RHP Brandon McCarthy, LHP Scott Kazmir, INF Charlie Culberson, OF Preston Tucker, OF Ronald Acuna, 3B Austin Riley, OF Jeff Decker, 2B Christian Colon, RHP Shane Carle.

He's Outta Here: OF Matt Kemp, RHP R.A. Dickey, 3B Adonis Garcia, 1B Matt Adams, INF Jace Peterson, RHP Jason Motte.

Going campin': It would be no surprise if top prospect Acuna makes a big push this spring to open the season in Atlanta. For at least a few weeks, however, Lane Adams and Preston Tucker might share the job in left field. Similarly, Johan Camargo and Rio Ruiz may lead the competition at third base, but Riley is another top prospect who could try to show this spring he's ready for the job. Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and McCarthy should have spots in the rotation, and leading contenders for the other two slots are left-handers Sean Newcomb and Luiz Gohara, plus Lucas Sims, Max Fried and Kazmir, if healthy. The Braves are concerned about a lack of power in the lineup after losing Kemp and Adams. The team might add a bat on a short-term contract. Left-hander A.J. Minter, who impressed in a late-season audition, could eventually push Arodys Vizcaino for ninth-inning work.

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New York Mets

Manager: Mickey Callaway (first season).

2017: 70-92, fourth place.

Training Town: Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Park: First Data Field.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: 3B Todd Frazier, RF Jay Bruce, RHP Anthony Swarzak, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, C Jose Lobaton, INF-OF Ty Kelly, LHP Matt Purke, OF Zach Borenstein.

He's Outta Here: Manager Terry Collins, LHP Josh Smoker, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Chasen Bradford, OF Norichika Aoki, RHP Erik Goeddel, LHP Tommy Milone, OF Travis Taijeron.

Going campin': While many teams were reluctant to spend in free agency, the Mets shopped around for sensible deals and filled a few holes with Frazier, Bruce and Swarzak. It's enough to give them hope for a bounce-back season, but their chances to contend probably depend on the 3-4-5 spots in the rotation. Can injury-plagued Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler provide quality innings? If not, can Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo fill in adequately the way they did in 2016? Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, back from a torn lat muscle, give New York a 1-2 punch to rival anyone at the top of the rotation. But the Mets are counting on Callaway, coming off an impressive stint as Cleveland's pitching coach, and new pitching instructor Dave Eiland to repair the rest of a staff that ranked 28th in the majors with a 5.01 ERA. There are three or four jobs available in a bullpen that could be solid at the back end with Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Swarzak. Bruce, Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes provide power in a plodding lineup that hopes to get All-Star slugger Michael Conforto (shoulder surgery) back in May. Until then, Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares figure to platoon in center field. Nimmo, a first-round draft pick who turns 25 next month, quietly made strides last season and might be ready to make an impact. New York will be looking for marked improvement from 22-year-old prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, too. Both struggled in their first taste of the majors. A slimmed-down Smith will compete at first base with the 35-year-old Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star beset by a bad back with the Dodgers last season. Also in big league camp, former star quarterback Tim Tebow as the minor league outfielder begins his second pro baseball season. It's hard to envision the Mets challenging star-studded Washington for NL East supremacy, but with better health in a weak division they could rejoin the wild-card hunt.

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Philadelphia Phillies

Manager: Gabe Kapler (first season).

2017: 66-96, fifth place.

Training Town: Clearwater, Florida.

Park: Spectrum Field.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: 1B Carlos Santana, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, INF Will Middlebrooks.

He's Outta Here: Manager Pete Mackanin, SS Freddy Galvis, INF Andres Blanco, OF Daniel Nava, OF Hyun Soo Kim, RHP Clay Buchholz.

Going campin': The Phillies have had five straight losing seasons and finished last three times in the past four years, but they have reason for optimism. They were 35-35 in the last 70 games after young hitters Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Rhys Hoskins and J.P. Crawford joined the team. The addition of Santana bolsters a lineup that includes Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr. It could be quite formidable. Neshek and Hunter add depth in the bullpen, giving the team a potentially strong 7-8-9 setup with closer Hector Neris. The rotation lacks a proven ace but there's talent led by Aaron Nola. If a couple of starters step up and Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez return to 2016 form, it could be solid. Kapler has limited managerial experience but he's a progressive thinker who embraces analytics and sports science. It'll be interesting to see how he handles his first spring training.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Georgia Sports News

  • Bubba Watson was feeling low about his health and even worse about his golf. It reached a point that he wondered if he would ever win again, and he says he talked with his wife on a dozen occasions about retiring. Being back at Riviera changed his outlook and made him a winner again. Watson stayed in the game with three key putts early on the back nine, then fulfilled a playful pledge he forgot he even made on the par-3 14th by holing a bunker shot for birdie that allowed him to seize control Sunday in the Genesis Open. He never gave anyone a chance the rest of the way, closing with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Tony Finau and Kevin Na. Watson won for the first time in two years, his longest drought of the decade. He joined Lloyd Mangrum and Ben Hogan as three-time winners at Riviera. And he won for the 10th time in his PGA Tour career, an important milestone to him. 'Nobody thought that Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Florida, would ever get to 10 wins. Let's be honest,' Watson said. 'Without lessons, head case, hooking the ball, slicing the ball, can't putt, you know?' He put on a clinic at Riviera, somehow managed to keep his focus, carved shots around, over and through the trees, and he made all the right putts. Watson talks the way he hits the ball — all over the map — and he was particularly elusive about what caused him to lose so much weight last year. He says he reached close to 160 pounds, which he says affected his game and ultimately his confidence. 'I'm here. I'm healthy,' he said. 'There are people that are a lot sicker than me in this world, so the illness is nothing.' Watson, who finished at 12-under 272, moved from No. 117 to No. 41 in the world, making him eligible for the World Golf Championship in Mexico in two weeks. Na hit a wedge close to perfection from the worst angle on the reachable par-4 10th hole for a birdie and two-putted for birdie on the 11th to briefly take the lead. He fell back with consecutive bogeys from the trees and shot 69. Finau lurked all day. His last chance was an eagle putt on the 17th that stopped inches short of the hole. Patrick Cantlay had a one-shot lead going to the back nine until he ran into tree trouble on the 12th and 13th holes. The UCLA alum could do no better than pars the rest of the way for a 71 to tie for fourth with Scott Stallings (68). Phil Mickelson also was in the hunt. He was within one shot of the lead when he hit a 4-iron from a deep bunker on the 15th hole to just right of the green. But he went after birdie and watched the ball roll 20 feet down the hill, leading to bogey. Mickelson shot 68 and tied for sixth. Coming off good weeks at Phoenix and Pebble Beach, Mickelson has three straight top 10s for the first time since 2009. The biggest moment for Watson involved his desperation to find a bathroom after they teed off on the 14th. Cameron Smith, who shot 71 and tied for sixth, told him there was one off the 15th tee and he was only a couple of shots away. 'I said, 'Nah, I'm just going to hole it and go to the bathroom.' And then I holed it,' he said. His caddie, Ted Scott, mentioned before Watson stepped into the bunker that he hadn't holed out in some time, so after the ball splashed out of the sand and rolled against the pin before dropping, he turned to Scott and said, 'You called it.' Smith came over and told Watson, 'You called it.' By then, Watson had forgotten their conversation. No matter. He never came close to bogey until it didn't matter, and he holed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th. The tears began flowing moments later. 'You never know if you're going to play good again,' Watson said as his voice choked. 'You never know if you're going to lift the trophy.' It was that four-hole stretch that carried him — a 10-foot birdie putt after hitting his approach into the bunker on the par-5 11th; the 8-foot par save after coming up short on No. 12; another 8-foot save on No. 13 when another shot came up short; and the bunker shot on the 14th. 'It went real fast where I went from losing to winning,' he said. With that, he wrapped up another fun-filled week in L.A. He won Riviera with a 64-64 weekend in 2014. He won Riviera in 2016 while filming a cameo in 'Girl Meets World.' This time he made a cameo in the NBA All-Star celebrity game, which included an infamous highlight of Tracy McGrady rejecting his shot . The distractions helped. The health helped even more. As for that retirement talk? 'I was close,' he said. 'My wife was not close. My wife basically told me to quit whining and play golf. I would rather be healthy than play golf, so that's what I was focusing on. I was focusing on the wrong things. Pitiful me, not how beautiful my life was.
  • After a dispiriting month that saw University of Georgia basketball becoming something of a dumpster fire, two exciting upset wins this week over Florida and Tennessee have breathed some life into the Dawgs’ season. Yes, there’s still a chance of Georgia making up enough ground to get into the Big Dance. Senior forward Yante Maten has been one of the few bright spots this season for the Bulldogs. (Steffenie Burns/UGA) But, if it doesn’t happen, another promising Georgia basketball season will have fallen short of expectations, despite three wins over ranked teams. That would leave coach Mark Fox with a measly two first-round-and-out NCAA Tournament appearances, and no SEC Championship Game appearances, in nine years at Georgia. Barring some sort of miracle run to finish the season, the Fox hot-seat talk likely will intensify. And, as usual, his relative strengths and weaknesses make it difficult to come to a clear-cut conclusion on which is the better path forward for the UGA basketball program:  Should Georgia continue to exercise patience with Fox, who runs a clean program, graduates his players, and has had four 20-win or better seasons in Athens, never a hotbed of basketball success? Or, does Fox’s slim postseason record — especially in comparison with what other SEC “football” schools have done — mean UGA should cut and run? Seems like we were having this discussion just about a year ago and, in fact, we were. It was early last March that Yahoo Sports quoted sources as saying UGA was “exploring its options” to replace Fox and “gathering information on potential successors.” Athletic director Greg McGarity quickly shot down the “unfounded rumors” and announced Fox would be back this season. But, despite preseason predictions that Georgia was almost a lock for an NCAA Tournament berth, and the Dawgs getting off to a relatively strong 9-2 start in the nonconference portion of the schedule, Fox’s team is a disappointing 15-11 overall and 6-8 in the conference. Included in that loss column are some really ugly games, most notably losing by 15 to Vanderbilt, one of the worst teams in the SEC. Senior forward Yante Maten leads the conference in scoring, but Fox has not come up with a satisfactory replacement for the departed J.J. Frazier in the back court, leading to streaky offensive production. And, even the normally stout Georgia defense has faltered in some recent losses. Fox’s reputation as a game strategist also has come into question over the past couple of years. “I know it’s frustrating to our fans. I’ll take full responsibility,” Fox said after the Vanderbilt loss. “I can’t get this group right now to play as hard and as effectively as we need to.” Georgia has been selling out games at Stegeman Coliseum, despite its mediocre record. (John Kelley/UGA) However, perhaps because of the latest Stegeman Coliseum renovations (with new seats and video screens), the roundball Dawgs have notched their best home attendance mark in several seasons this year, averaging 8,104 over 12 home dates so far, the highest since drawing 8,250 fans per game in 2010-11.  The team’s game Saturday against Tennessee was a sellout, and its game next Saturday against LSU also is sold out, so the Bulldogs are likely to top 8,000 tickets sold per game for the sixth time in the 2000s. Imagine how the Steg would be rocking if Georgia had a really good team! (Those of you over age 30 probably can recall the exciting atmosphere of games in the mid-1990s, starting with the arrival of Tubby Smith.) In some ways, the Fox situation is reminiscent of the debate a couple of years ago over Mark Richt, who won consistently, just not at a high enough level. Only, this is Georgia basketball we’re talking about, so the pressure on McGarity to do something about a program that has plateaued is a whole lot less intense. Even so, Fox’s lack of progress might have made an easy case for ending his run in Athens if it weren’t for the fact that, after years of the Georgia program rarely attracting top-flight talent, the Dawgs actually have put together a 2019 recruiting class that’s currently ranked No. 1 in the nation. Is that reason enough to keep Fox, or do the disappointing results he’s gotten the past two seasons with decently talented lineups argue in favor of making a change? Keep in mind, there’s always the chance that firing Fox at this point might endanger that recruiting class and send 5-star Ashton Hagans and 4-star Elias King  elsewhere. In fact, preserving the recruiting class is the prevailing argument I’ve heard of late for keeping Fox, who has two years remaining on a contract he signed in 2015. (The buyout if Georgia let him go at this point would be $1.1 million.)   As tempting as it might be, keeping a coach in order to hold on to recruits is a dangerous game. What happens if Kentucky whiffs on someone and swoops in at the last minute to snatch one of Georgia’s commitments? Then you’re stuck with the same old, same old. Assistant coach Jonas Hayes (center) has been mentioned as a possible successor to Mark Fox. (Steffenie Burns/UGA) On the other hand, there’s no guarantee Georgia could do better than Fox. Let’s face it, head basketball coach at UGA, which doesn’t have much of a basketball history, is a pretty middling job — and always will be in the shadow of the head football coach. Hoping for some outside perspective, I put the question to a diehard Kentucky basketball booster I know named Herb. He said he really respects Fox and thinks he deserves more time. Still, Herb noted, “Georgia’s a big school. It can compete with the best of them. It certainly can recruit with the best of them. It ought to be doing better in basketball.” As for the idea of keeping Fox, m y buddy Owen, a lifelong UGA fan, thinks that “if we finish strong, I could see giving Fox one more year.” But, he said, “If we continue to bomb out and miss the NCAA, it would be hard to justify keeping him.” Another UGA fan, Joel, noted that, “ Since UGA basketball is a WAY distant second to football, for me at least, I say give him a chance to coach the upcoming recruiting class. I was firmly of the belief that Fox would never get it done, but that was mainly because of his mediocre recruiting. I’m not sure what is wrong with this year’s team; it’s a fairly talented bunch. But, I think we can be patient and see how he fares with some elite talent. If we were talking football, it would be past time for him to be fired.” For other fans, there’s no question a change is needed — now. Said my brother Tim, “ It’s down to this for me: Fox is a terrible game coach, and not much of practice coach, either. He can have five blue-chip players and they’d still lose games, because they wouldn’t know what to do in pressure situations.” My son Bill, who has degrees from both UGA and North Carolina (where basketball rules), also thinks “it’s pretty clear that Fox cannot orchestrate an offense that is workable. Every year is the same plodding offense without much shooting prowess or good shot selection. They usually play pretty good defense, and they seem to try hard consistently. But, offensive skill is always lacking. And his personnel/sub management is sometimes baffling. We’ve been passed by a lot of programs this year.” If Fox stays, Bill said, “it’s because of the recruits and, frankly, Kirby’s success giving everyone else some breathing room.”  If a change is made, many observers think Georgia stands little chance of stealing a head coach from a top-level program. So, what should McGarity do? Should he go with another rising coach from a mid-major, or an assistant from a top program (as he did in football, hiring Kirby Smart from Alabama). Blawg reader Jim P. likes the idea of “hiring a top assistant, great recruiter, from a proven championship program, such as Duke, North Carolina.” Actually, the natural successor to Fox already might be on Georgia’s bench: former Bulldogs player Jonas Hayes, who is UGA’s main basketball recruiter and probably would have more of a chance of hanging on to that 2019 class. Any way you look at it, there are no easy answers. As for me, I’ve always liked Fox, and thought it was recruiting difficulties holding him back. But, with those less of a factor now, his game coaching does seem to be more and more in question. His team this season was expected to be his best, and it started out pretty good, but, too often, it hasn’t held on to leads and, hasn’t even stayed in the game against some lesser teams.  What will it take to generate excitement around the UGA basketball program? (Nicole Adamson/UGA) Still, as my old friend Dan said, the past two games are very encouraging, with Fox making greater use of his freshmen. Would another couple of big wins be enough, or does Fox have to make the NCAA Tournament to survive? I don’t know. My gut feeling is that Fox might squeak by this year, but I’m not sure that he should. I worry that, if a stellar recruiting class buys him another year, it still might not produce much more in the way of sustained success than did the extra year Dennis Felton got thanks to the “tornado tournament” win. What concerns me more is that I’ve encountered quite a few UGA diehards who tell me basketball has completely fallen off their radar: “Let’s talk about Jake Fromm and Justin Fields instead.” That’s a shame. I’m convinced that, if Georgia could put a consistently winning product on the court, Dawgs fans once again would be excited about the program, and basketball might truly matter at UGA. Maybe that still can happen with Fox.  The post Is top 2019 recruiting class reason enough for UGA to keep Mark Fox? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – It was a rather general, and predictable, question. And Mark Fox decided to use it to say something on his mind. Something the Georgia head coach evidently had read and didn’t like. Was there any moment a week ago, when all seemed lost, that he could pinpoint that a bounce-back was coming? Fox, as he often does, offered up a preamble before answering. A pointed preamble. “I know some people don’t like our players. I mean some of you, don’t like our players,” Fox said, speaking slowly to reporters gathered after his team’s 73-62 win over Tennessee. “But I love them. And this league is a monster. And you’re going to have ups and downs. We had a couple of games where we didn’t play well. They stuck together, and just kept trying to get better and play the game the right way. “We didn’t make any drastic changes. We just kept doing what we do. And this week they were able to play sound basketball and beat two really good teams. So even though some of you don’t like them, I was pretty proud of them.” Well then. Afterwards a few beat writers quickly consulted and try to figure out what Fox was referencing. No one was quite sure. This particular reporter actually wrote a week ago that this may be Fox’s most talented team, which made the team’s record at that point – 13-11, losers of eight of their past 10 games – so disappointing. This past week has not fixed everything. But the Bulldogs did exactly what they had to do, getting two good wins, including on paper their best win over the season, over No. 18 Tennessee. That followed an overtime win over Florida. “We’re a good basketball team. We proved that this week,” Georgia senior forward Yante Maten said. But what took so long into the season for that to happen? “I mean, if I knew the answer to that question it would have never happened,” Maten said. “We’re just trying to play together, play as a team. Play defensively, try to do everything that correlates to winning.” It’s almost not worth pointing out Georgia’s NCAA tournament resume’, because at this point we don’t know which team we’re going to get one week to the other. But if Georgia can keep this going – and the schedule is definitely manageable – then the Bulldogs will definitely be in the mix: Georgia now has five “Quadrant 1” wins, per the NCAA’s revised formula. (Home wins over top 30 RPI teams, neutral-site wins over top 50 teams, and away wins over top 75 wins), and four “Quadrant 2” wins. Georgia’s own RPI is in the 60s. It still may not be very likely now. But it’s a lot likelier than it was a week ago. “This was a quality win for us. This was solid week,” Fox said. “But there’s more games in front. We’ve got to get ready for the next one.” That would be at South Carolina, which helped get the slide going with a seven-point win on Georgia’s home floor on Jan. 13. The Gamecocks are not the same team that made the Final Four last year. They did beat Auburn on Saturday, but they are definitely beatable – and Georgia needs to do it to keep the run going. The margin for error is very small. Maten and his teammates seemed to realize that. “We’ve just got to focus on the next game and still play with that hunger we played this week with,” Maten said. “Every time we touched the court this week we were really hungry, and we showed that to ourselves, to the crowd and to the coaches. So we’ve just got to keep playing hungry.”   The post Georgia gets back on track, and Mark Fox has pointed words for the press appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – Yante Maten still has life in his Georgia career. So does Mark Fox. Their Georgia men’s basketball team, assumed done for a week ago, is trying to work its way back into the thick of things. Georgia got its second straight win, and its third this year over a ranked team, this time 73-62 over No. 17 Tennessee on Saturday night at Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs (15-11 overall, 6-8 in the SEC) now head for the final two weeks of the regular season with their fleeting postseason hopes still alive. They appeared done this time last week, but bounced back first with an upset win at Florida, and then another NCAA tournament resume’ win on Saturday. Maten did his usual part. But, as the case with Georgia’s other big wins this year, he had help from key players. And the biggest two were from bench players. Derek Ogbeide had a double-double, making a number of put-backs and grabbing numerous key rebounds, both offensive and defense. Tyree Crump hit several key 3s down the stretch. He also grabbed the rebound in the final minute that basically sealed the win, and sent the appreciative home crowd to its feet. Three who mattered Maten. The senior forward also moved to sixth on Georgia’s all-time list for field goals, passing Alec Kessler. Ogbeide: The junior forward, coming off the bench again, had a great game underneath. Ogbeide was responsible for a number of put-backs, saving several key possessions for the Bulldogs. And his three-point play stemmed a Tennessee run with just over five minutes left. Crump: The sophomore guard also came off the bench and played extensive minutes, especially down the stretch. He hit two keys 3s, one to make it 57-51 and the next to give UGA a 62-54 lead with just under two minutes left. Turning point Georgia, after leading since early in the game, was on the verge of losing the lead with about six minutes left. Tennessee missed several shots and committed a turnoer. On the other end Ogbeide made a layup while being fouled, and finished with the free throw. Then Crump buried a 3, and Ogbeide added a put-back to make it 59-51. Tennessee didn’t ever geet back within one possession. Observations Lineup: Georgia used the same starting lineup – with two freshmen forwards – for the third straight game. It was the third straight start for Rayshaun Hammonds, and the fourth straight for Nicolas Claxton. But Ogbeide and Crump, who have started this season, have continued to star off the bench.   Free throws: Georgia benefitted from an enormous free throw disparity: 38 to just 15 for Tennessee. The Volunteers’ leading scorer entering the game, forward Grant Williams, had foul trouble in the second half and fouled out with just under two minutes left. Only Maten at the start. Maten scored 11 of Georgia’s first 13 points, and it took more than 10 minutes (the 9:41 mark) for someone else to score. But when others got going, so did Georgia, which pulled out to a 19-11 lead. At that point he picked up his second foul and came out. Surviving (barely) without Maten. MAfter’s Maten’s exit, Tennessee almost immediately hit two straight 3s to make it 21-18. Maten re-enetered at 2:15 then left after a couple possessions. He stayed out until halftime, when Tennessee whittled it down to 28-26. But Maten stayed out of foul trouble in the second half. Worth mentioning It was Georgia’s third win this season over a team that was ranked at the time: The Bulldogs also knocked off then-No. 21 St. Mary’s and then No. 23 Florida, which was unranked when UGA beat the Gators a second time on Wednesday. What’s next Georgia plays at South Carolina on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldogs lost at home to the Gamecocks in January, 64-57. The post Georgia basketball: Resurgent Bulldogs get second straight key win appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs’ run to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game wouldn’t have been possible without the work of Kirby Smart’s staff. And now they’re going to be compensated because of it. Smart’s 10 on-field assistants will earn nearly $2 million more in 2018 than they did in 2017. In 2017, Smart’s assistants made $4.56 million. In 2018, they’ll make $6.42 million. Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker has received a raise to $1.5 million, up from $900,000 last year. Georgia’s defense was one of the best in the country this past season. Assistant coach James Coley, who is expected to move from receivers coach to another position, has been bumped to $850,000 from $450,000 last year. Coley turned down a job offer from Texas A&M to become offensive coordinator. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman will now earn $825,000, after earning $660,000 last year.  Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney received a $100,000 raise and will now earn $950,000. Strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair also received a significant bump and will now earn $450,000. Sinclair earned $300,000 last year.  2018 staff: Mel Tucker - $1,500,000 Jim Chaney - $950,000 James Coley - $850,000 Sam Pittman - $825,000 Dell McGee - $550,000 Tray Scott - $420,000 Cortez Hankton - $375,000 Glenn Schumann - $325,000 Dan Lanning - $325,000 Scott Fountain - $300,000  2017 staff:  Mel Tucker - $900,000 Jim Chaney - $850,000 Sam Pittman - $660,000 James Coley - $450,000 Tray Scott - $400,000 Kevin Sherrer - $375,000 Dell McGee - $350,000 Shane Beamer - $300,000 Glenn Schumann - $275,000 Smart himself is expected to receive a substantial increase from his $3.75 million base salary, but that has not been announced yet.  New roles and titles on the staff could also be in order, but were not announced.  Georgia’s salary rule compares favorably with that of the staffs of two other powerhouse programs, who have also announced their assistant coach salaries for 2018.  Ohio State’s assistant coaches now make $7.06 million, with raises this offseason that totaled $3.4 million. So it nearly doubled, helped by the addition of the 10th assistant coach, Alex Grinch, who received $800,000 to leave Washington State for Ohio State.  Eight of Ohio State’s 10 assistants are earning at least $500,000.  The salary pool for Clemson’s assistant coaches is now $6.58 million, with raises this offseason of just under $1 million. Four of Clemson’s assistant coaches are earning at least $500,000. This article was written by Seth Emerson, DawgNation.