Georgia (13-6, 3-3 SEC) vs. No. 4 Tennessee (16-3, 6-1 SEC)
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678) in Knoxville, Tenn.
Series History: UT leads, 98-61
Last meeting: UT, 75-68, on March 1, 2022
Video: SEC Network (Dave Neal, pbp; Jon Sundvold, analyst)
Audio: Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network (WSB AM 750; SiriusXM: 383; SXM App: 973) (Scott Howard, pbp; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)
The Starting Five
• UGA head coach Mike White is the older brother of Danny White, UT’s director of athletics.
• With 13 wins, UGA has already more than doubled its victory total (6) for the entire 2021-22 season.
• UGA entered the week No. 4 nationally in bench minutes, with subs securing 45.6 percent of the Dogs’ total PT.
• UGA’s bench has outscored its opponents’ reserves 457-289, an average advantave of 8.9 points per game.
• UGA’s assist-to-TO ratio is up by +.24 since Thanksgiving, the best improvement by an SEC team during that span.
The Opening Tip
The Georgia Bulldogs return to action on Wednesday evening when they venture to Knoxville to face the No. 4-ranked Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Georgia enters the contest at 13-6 overall and 3-3 in the SEC. The Bulldogs have already more than doubled the 12 wins the compiled during the entire 2021-22 season.
Much of Georgia’s success can be attributed its defense. A year after ranking No. 338 nationally in both scoring defense (78.5 ppg) and field goal defense (.473) and No. 260 in 3-point field goal defense (.439), the Bulldogs are No. 83 in scoring defense (66.1 ppg), No. 78 in opponent FG percentage (.441) and No. 14 in opponent 3-point percentage (.288) this season.
Georgia is looking to bounce back after a couple of difficult setbacks. Last Tuesday, the Bulldogs led by 11 points in the first half and by eight at the intermission at Rupp Arena before falling to Kentucky. Georgia’s perfect 10-0 record at Stegeman Coliseum this season was snapped with an 85-82 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Keeping An Eye On: Entering Today’s Game . . .
Jailyn Ingram is...
• 23 points from 1,500 for his career
Series History With Tennessee
Tennessee enters Wednesday’s matchup with a 98-61 lead in the all-time series between the Bulldogs and Vols, including a 60-15 mark in Knoxville.
On March 1 last season in Athens, Aaron Cook’s team-high 17 points led three Bulldogs in double figures in a 75-68 setback to No. 13 Tennessee at Stegeman Coliseum.
Kario Oquendo added 16 points, including SportsCenter’s No. 3 play of the day on a first-half dunk, and Braelen Bridges added 12, this team-high 23rd double-digit output of the season.
Following a nip-and-tuck first half featuring 11 lead changes and six ties, including a 35-35 score at intermission, the Volunteers used an 11-0 run to build a 54-44 lead at the 14:02 mark.
The Bulldogs used their own 11-0 surge to close the gap to 64-60 with 6:05 left, but Tennessee withstood the rally to earn its first win in Athens since 2011.
In Georgia’s last trip to Knoxville on Feb. 10, 2021, No. 16/15 Tennessee snapped Georgia’s three-game winning streak with an 89-81 win.
That contest featured two dramatically different halves.
Tennessee built a 44-26 lead at the intermission, which was then the Bulldogs’ lowest offensive output in an opening 20 minutes all season.
Georgia responded by scoring a season-most 55 second-half points.
The Vols’ lead bulged to 23 points at 65-42 early in the second stanza before Georgia rallied. The Bulldogs pulled within six with 63 seconds remaining but could not get closer.
The matchup between Georgia and Tennessee wasn’t announced until 81-and-a-half hours prior to tipoff. UGA and UT were slated to meet in the regular season’s regularly scheduled finale on Wednesday, March 3. The contest was moved up after the Bulldogs’ game at Texas A&M and the Volunteers’ matchup with Florida were postponed due to Covid-19 issues for the Aggies and Gators.
Scouting The Volunteers
Tennessee is 16-3 overall and 6-1 in the SEC on the season, leading the Volunteers to be ranked No. 4 in both the AP and USA Today polls this week.
Tennessee’s last two wins have come with regular starters missing action. Last Tuesday at Mississippi State, guards Tyreke Key and Santiago Vescovi did not play due to an illness and injury, respectively. Last Saturday at LSU, Uroš Plavšić registered a DNP due to an illness.
Vescovi leads a quintet of Vols scoring at a double-digit pace for Tennessee at 12.5 ppg, followed by Zakai Zeigler at 10.6 ppg, Olivier Nkamhoua at 10.4 ppg, Julian Phillips at 10.3 ppg and Josiah-Jordan James at 10.1 ppg.
Last Time Out
Jabri Abdur-Rahim poured in a career-high 21 points to lead Georgia; however, the Bulldogs suffered their first home loss of the season to Vanderbilt, 85-82, last Saturday at a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum.
The setback snapped Georgia’s 10-game winning streak at home, which matched the sixth-longest overall and fifth-best single-season stretches of home success in program history.
Terry Roberts added 15 points, Kario Oquendo chipped in 13 and Braelen Bridges contributed 10 for the Bulldogs.
A 3-pointer 85 seconds into the game put Vanderbilt up 3-2, and the Commodores never trailed again.
Georgia trimmed an eight-point halftime deficit to a single possession six times in the second stanza. After Vanderbilt matched its largest lead of the day at 77-65 with 4:51 left, the Bulldogs scored 11 straight to close the gap to 77-76 at the 2:13 mark.
Georgia had possession with a chance to tie or take the lead three times in the final 111 seconds but could not complete the comeback attempt.
A Family Affair
First-year Georgia head coach Mike White is the older brother of Danny White, who has been Tennessee’s Director of Athletics since 2021.
Mike and Danny are just two of several members of the White family who have enjoyed extremely succesful careers in college athletics.
Kevin White, Mike and Danny’s dad, was the Athletic Director at Duke from 2008-21 after previous stops at Loras College (1982-87), Maine (1987-91), Tulane (1991-96), Arizona State (1996-2000) and Notre Dame (2000-08).
In addition, their younger brother Brian has been the AD at Florida Atlantic since 2018 and their sister Mariah (Chappell), who swam collegiately at Duke, is Assistant AD for Administration at SMU.
Defending Outside The Arc
Georgia entered this week ranked No. 14 nationally in 3-point defense, with the Bulldogs’ opponents connecting on just 28.8 percent (115-of-340) of their attempts from outside the arc.
Georgia’s defense from 3-point range has slightly better in league play, a more paltry 28.0 percent (37-of-132).
The Bulldogs are on their way to having one of the best 3-point defense marks in program history. Only once in the 37 seasons since the arc was added nationally in 1986-87 has Georgia held its opponents to less than 30 percent from outside the arc, 29.3 percent in 1993-94.
Rogers Ups Offensive Output
Terry Roberts entered SEC play as Georgia’s second-leading scorer, contributing 14.1 points per game in the Bulldogs’ 13 non-conference outings.
In league action, Roberts’ scoring average has jumped more than five points per game to 19.5 ppg, which ranks second in the SEC.
In 18 games played overall, Roberts has produced team highs of 14 double-figure and five 20-point scoring outputs. Of those, six double-digit and three 20-point performances have come in six SEC contests.
Jabri Rhymes With 3
With his career high-matching five 3-pointers against Vanderbilt, Jabri Abdur-Rahim has now tied Terry Roberts as Georgia’s most successful shooter outside the arc this season.
Both Abdur-Rahim and Roberts have converted on 28 3-point attempts.
While neither ranked among the SEC’s leaders in 3-pointers per game overall entering this week, Roberts (1.7 3pg) is No. 4 and Abdur-Rahim (1.4 3pg) is No. 7 in 3FGs in league games.
He Ain’t Roy Kent, But...
if you peruse SEC statistical leaders, Terry Roberts may have you thinking “He’s here. He’s there. He’s “...and we better stop right there.
The senior from North Amityville, N.Y., entered this week ranked among league leaders in six categories – No. 3 in assists (4.2 apg), No. 6 in scoring (15.9 ppg), No. 4 in free throw percentage (.824), No. 10 in steals (1.7 spg), No. 10 in field goal percentage (.393) and No. 13 in assist-to-TO ratio (1.46).
Roberts also is prominent among stat leaders for SEC games only. Most noticeably, he ranked No. 2 in scoring at 19.5 ppg, with three 20-point outings.
A Very Productive Bench
Georgia’s reserves have scored 457 points this season, 33.8 percent of the 1,351 points put up by the Bulldogs.
Georgia’s bench has outscored its opponents’ reserves 457-289, a by a relatively massive +168 margin...or 8.9 points per game.
The Bulldogs have won the “bench battle” in 16 of 19 games and tied Auburn in another.
According to KenPom.com, Georgia ranks No. 4 nationally in bench minutes, with reserves accounting for 45.6 percent of the Bulldogs’ total PT.
Thankful We’re Less Giving
Georgia’s ball security numbers have taken a distinct turn since Turkey Day.
The Bulldogs recorded more turnovers than assists in each of the first six games prior to Thanksgiving, to the combined tune of 62 assists to 99 TOs. That equated to a paltry 0.63 assist-to-TO ratio.
The Bulldogs have produced even or positive ratios in 10 of 13 contests since then. In those outings, Georgia has delivered 165 assists and committed 161 turnovers, a much more respectable a 1.02 assist-to-TO effort.
But We’re Most Improved...
in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ration since Thanksgiving.
On the season, Georgia ranks 13th in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 0.87; however, the Bulldogs’ improvement taking care of the basketball since Thanksgiving is the best in the league.
Since Turkey Day, six of the SEC’s teams have produced a better assist-to-TO ratio than in their games prior to the holiday, while the other eight’s ratios have stayed the same or dropped. The Bulldogs own the most positive up-tick as outlined below.
Although “Thanksgiving” seems like a random line to draw, every SEC team had played either five or six games as of Nov. 24 so it seemed like a solid reference point to observe.
Assist-To-TOs Since Turkey Day
Team 11/24 1/22 Diff.
Georgia 0.63 0.87 +.24
S. Carolina 0.70 0.83 +.13
Texas A&M 0.96 1.07 +.11
Tennessee 1.18 1.29 +.11
Auburn 1.01 1.09 +.08
LSU 0.92 0.99 +.07
Healthy M-A Makes A Difference
Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe was hindered for much of November after suffering an ankle sprain in the season opener against Western Carolina.
The junior from Ontario missed two games before returning to play in the next four contests. He then recorded two additional DNPs before coming back for the Georgia Tech contest.
In the Bulldogs’ last 10 outings, Moncrieffe has been both Georgia’s most efficient shooter and productive rebounder.
During that span, Moncrieffe has converted on 30-of-48 shots from the field – 62.5 percent. He also has posted his first three double-digit outings as a Bulldog – 11 points at Tech, 15 versus Notre Dame and 10 against Mississippi State.
Moncrieffe is averaging at team-best 5.9 rpg in his last 10 contests and grabbed team-high board tallies against Chattanooga, Rider, Auburn (a season-high nine) and Kentucky.
Anselem Protecting The Rim
The defensive presence of Frank Anselem has increased significantly of late.
The junior from Lagos, Nigeria, enters this weekend ranked No. 8 in blocks in SEC action, swatting 1.2 shots per game against league foes.
That comes after Anselem did not record a block in Georgia’s first eight outings
In the nine games since the Bulldogs returned to action following Final Exams, Anselem has averaged 1.4 blocks, including a career-high three swats against Chattanooga.
White Is Stellar At Stegeman
Although Stegeman Coliseum opened in February 1964, about 13 before Mike White was born, some might say the arena was built for him.
White was 7-1 in Stegeman before he became the Bulldogs’ head coach. He led Louisiana Tech to an NIT victory over Georgia at Stegeman in 2014 and then was 6-1 against the Bulldogs in seven seasons at Florida from 2015-22.
Quick math adding in a 10-1 mark this season reveals White’s 17-2 mark in the venue. A calculator was used to determine his winning percentage of 89.5
Dogs’ Home Winning Streaks
Georgia is 10-0 start at Stegeman Coliseum made this just the sixth bunch of Bulldogs ever to post a double-figure home winning streak.
In fact, this season’s streak tied the Georgia’s sixth-longest overall and fifth-best in a single season as outlined below.
The Bulldogs’ longest stretch of home success in one season came when the 1930-31 Bulldogs produced one of two perfect home records in program history and went 16-0 at old Woodruff Hall.
Georgia’s longest overall home winning streak is 25 games. That span includes the final three home games of the 1929-30 season, the 16-0 mark the following year and the first six dates in Athens during Georgia’s 1931-32 Southern Conference Championship season.
The 10-game winning streak this season was the Bulldogs’ fourth-longest within Stegeman Coliseum.
UGA Hoops Overall Home Win Streaks
Rk. W’s Span
1. 25 1930-32
2. 20 1939-40
3. 15 1989-90
4. 13 2002-03
5. 11 1998-99
6. 10 2022-23
UGA Hoops Single Season Home Win Streaks
Rk. W’s Span
1. 16 1930-31
2. 13 1939-40
3. 12 1989-90
4. 11 2002-03
5. 10 2022-23
Hill, Oquendo Clutch In Wins
Justin Hill and Kario Oquendo produced key scoring surges in consecutive wins over Mississippi State and Ole Miss, respectively.
Hill recorded eight straight Georgia points between the 9:22-6:44 marks of the second half against State, with the last bucket giving the Bulldogs the lead for good.
Oquendo put up Georgia’s final 12 points in a 62-48 road win over Ole Miss. In fact, he scored all of his game-high 15 points in the second half in Oxford, including both ends of a one-and-one with 3 seconds remaining.
Holt Gives Bulldogs Juice
Jusaun “Juice” Holt’s stats in Georgia’s consecutive wins over Mississippi State and Ole Miss were relatively pedestrian – combined totals of six points, seven rebounds and two steals in 33 minutes of action.
However, by the popular “+/-” metric, Holt was the Bulldogs’ most productive player in those outings. With Holt on the floor, the Bulldogs were a combined “+30″ against State (+17) and Ole Miss (+13).
A Milestone Night For Bridges
Braelen Bridges recorded a trio of significant statistical achievements during a Jan. 11 win over Mississippi State.
In his 100th career outing, the Atlanta native grabbed his 500th rebound and scored his 1000th point.
Dogs Notch Historical “W”
This season produced one of Georgia’s most fruitful pre-New Year efforts ever.
The Bulldogs wrapped up their pre-SEC slate at 10-3 following a Dec. 28 victory over Rider – just the fourth time in program history the Bulldogs compiled a double-digit win total prior January.
Each of the previous squads to obtain that standard – from the 1996-97, 2001-02 and 2010-11 seasons – all went on to compete in “March Madness”...although the 2002 appearance was later vacated.
Bulldogs Fight Through
Georgia’s 10-3 start was more impressive considering the DNPs and missed practices endured during non-conference play.
Only four Bulldogs – Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Braelen Bridges, Justin Hill and Mardrez McBride – have played in every contest, and six Bulldogs have a combined 16 DNPs. In fact, the Notre Dame game – UGA’s 11th contest – was the first outing when every player on Georgia’s roster was available for action.
Eight Bulldogs have comprised eight different starting lineups. No player started every game, although three – Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, Kario Oquendo and Terry Roberts – got the nod for every game they’ve played. UGA’s game-by-game starters can be found above.
Bridges Earns SEC POTW
Braelen Bridges was named SEC Player of the Week on Dec. 19, a day after his 18-point performance – on 9-of-9 shooting from the floor – in a Holiday Hoopsgiving win over Notre Dame.
White Secures Win No. 250
Mike White captured the 250th career victory on Dec. 2 against Florida A&M.
White compiled a 101-40 record in four seasons in Louisiana Tech from 2011-15, compiling the best winning percentage (.716) of any coach in program history.
In seven campaigns at Florida from 2015-22, White was 142-88. He reached 100 victories with the Gators in 158 games, the second-fastest pace ever at Florida behind only Billy Donovan (154 games).
Bulldogs Sign Top-25 class
Georgia opened the NCAA’s early signing period on Nov. 9 with a bang, inking a top-25 recruiting class comprised of two of ESPN’s top-100 prospects – No. 72 Lamariyon “Mari” Jordan and No. 94 Dylan James.
James helped lead Winter Haven High to the semifinals of the 2022 Florida Class 6A state tournament. He was selected as the Lakeland Ledger’s Player of the Year after averaging 15.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.4 blocks, 2.0 apg and 1.3 spg per game last season for the Blue Devils, who finished 23-8.
Jordan was tabbed first-team All-State for Class 6A as a junior after averaging 19.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.4 bpg and 1.2 spg per game for Dacula High. Over three seasons, Jordan compiled 1,257 points, 434 rebounds, 128 blocks, 109 assists and 104 steals for the Falcons.
A “March Madness” Pedigree
Five of Georgia’s six first-year transfers played for teams that reached the 2021 or 2022 NCAA Tournaments.
Justin Hill (Longwood) and Jusaun Holt (Alabama) both took part in the “Big Dance” last spring. Frank Anselem (Syracuse), Madrez McBride (North Texas) and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe (Oklahoma State) all had tickets punched to the 2021 edition of “March Madness.”
Oquendo Named All-SEC
Kario Oquendo was tabbed second-team preseason All-SEC by league coaches. Last season, he was Georgia’s scoring leader, both overall (15.2 ppg) and in SEC play (18.3 ppg). Oquendo was the SEC’s leading returning scorer in league action last season.
Bridges Finds Bottom Of Net
Braelen Bridges converted on 63.4 percent of his shots from the floor for Georgia last season. That not only led the SEC and ranked No. 7 nationally, it was one of the most efficient campaigns ever for UGA and in league history.
The Union Grove High School product knocked down 161 of his 264 field goals in his first year as a Bulldog in 2021-22.
Among the best single-season field goal percentages for the Bulldogs and within the SEC, Bridges’ effort ranks No. 2 and No. 17 all-time, respectively.
Bridges became the first Bulldog to pace the SEC in shooting efficiency since Lavon Mercer did so in 1980 at 61.1 percent. Interestingly, Mercer set the UGA record (64.3 percent) in 1979 but did not lead the SEC that season.
Ingram Offers Experience
According to research by Middle Tennessee’s SID staff, Jailyn Ingram is one of five seventh-year men’s players in Division-I basketball this season.
The Madison, Ga., native and Morgan County High graduate, spent five seasons at Florida Atlantic before returning to his home state prior to the 2021-22 season.
Ingram played in 122 games for the Owls from 2016-21, including a redshirt campaign in 2018-19. All told, he recorded 1,334 points and 630 rebounds for the Owls, which are the No. 6 and No. 3 totals in program history.
Ingram played in nine games last season for Georgia before suffering a season-ending injury on Dec. 7 against Jacksonville. He received an additional red-shirt from the NCAA to return to the Bulldogs this season.
That makes Ingram among of quintet of players – including a well traveled Nittany Lion – competing for a seventh college basketball season this winter as outlined below.
7th-Year Super Duper Seniors
Jailyn Ingram FAU, Georgia
DeAndre Dishman EKU, MTSU
Juan Munoz Longwood, Hawaii
DeJuan Clayton Coppin State, Cal
Michael Henn UC-Davis, Cal Baptist, Portland, Denver, Penn State
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