Georgia basketball is drawing a crowd; big game vs. Gators on Tuesday

Drawing its biggest basketball crowds in eight years, Georgia expects a fourth consecutive sellout at Stegeman Coliseum for Tuesday night’s game against Florida.

And just as the fans have responded to the team’s improved play, the team has taken note of the fans’ increased interest.

“When we look up in the stands, it’s a very packed crowd and we see a lot of red and black,” senior forward Chris Barnes said. “It’s not like previous years, when we look up and we see other teams have got more fans than us.”

The fans have “definitely been giving us that extra edge, giving us extra energy that we need,” guard Dustin Ware said. “That’s a big part of college basketball, and it’s something we’ve been taking advantage of here lately.”

The Stegeman crowd might be even more charged Tuesday night, when Georgia (9-1 at home, 14-4 overall, 3-2 in the SEC) will be playing on ESPN for a share of first place in the SEC East against the rival Gators. Florida (15-4 overall, 4-1 SEC) enters the game with a one-game lead in the division over three teams tied for second place: Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina.

As of Monday afternoon, Georgia had sold out of 3,200 general-admission student tickets for the game and had about 500 reserved-seat tickets remaining, according to director of marketing John Bateman, who expressed confidence of a sellout by game time.  Georgia sold out the 10,523-seat coliseum for the Jan. 8 game against Kentucky and last week’s games against Tennessee and Mississippi State.

Already, Bateman said, Georgia has its longest streak of  sellouts since 2002-03, when the Bulldogs sold out their final nine home games in Jim Harrick’s last season as coach.

“One of the things I felt like was important was that we reestablish the atmosphere in the building and create some sort of home-court advantage,” coach Mark Fox said Monday. “Now, when our team plays here, when recruits come here, when fans come here, they get to participate in really the experience that college basketball is all about.”

Georgia had two sellouts last season -– its most in any season since 2002-03, Bateman said –- and two other games in which all reserved seats (but not all student seats) were sold. Student attendance has increased this season, which Georgia attributes partly to a decision to sell student tickets on a single-game, rather than season-ticket, basis and partly to efforts by Fox and others to reach out to campus groups.

The $12-million Stegeman Coliseum renovation, which expanded the concourse and added a dramatic glass facade, also might have drawn the interest of some fans. But the on-court improvement is undoubtedly the big draw.

“Anytime you are winning and competitive in this league,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said, “people are going to show up and watch you play.”

Etc.

Donovan said before the season that Georgia could be the team to beat in the SEC, and he remains bullish on the Bulldogs.  “I think they have the ingredients and makings now of being a special and great team,” he said Monday, “because they have answers at about every spot.” . . . Donovan said transfer Gerald Robinson has been an invaluable addition to a lineup that returned starters Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie and Ware. “I would liken [Robinson's impact] to when Jim Harrick was there and they got Jarvis Hayes as a transfer,” Donovan said. “That is what Robinson has done for their team.” . . . In its past two games, Florida held Auburn and Arkansas to 40 and 43 points, respectively. . . . Georgia has lost 12 of its past 14 games against Florida, but has beaten the Gators in Athens by two points in each of the past two seasons. . . . Florida is 4-0 in true road games this season, posting wins at Tennessee, Auburn, Florida State and Xavier. . . . The Gators are ranked No. 23 in this week’s coaches’ poll and No. 24 in the media poll. Georgia received votes in both polls but not enough to be ranked.

– Tim Tucker, UGA Blog

129 comments Add your comment

f

January 24th, 2011
4:11 pm

HA HA HA I M FIRST, see how stupid you people sound

Georgia Fan 101

January 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

Nice Article. It has been really fun watching Georgia Basketball win this year! Go Dawgs!!:)

Auburn

January 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

the only time i’m first is when i cheat

rashad wright

January 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

stegosaurus is rockin baby!

collegeballfan

January 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

Wonderful. It is about time Georgia grads decided to support basketball. UGA has a great coach who will build a great program, if Stegeman is full of fans and Georgia is a basketball program that matters.

Good luck dogs.

I am a GT fan and we have the exact opposite program. The GT program is heading down and the UGA program is headed up.

ncb24

January 24th, 2011
4:23 pm

how much fun would a blackout/redout be for a basketball game?? DO IT

SimpleDawg

January 24th, 2011
4:31 pm

The Foxhounds are for real….when they’re focused and inspired, they are a complete basketball team….very difficult to beat.

PTC DAWG

January 24th, 2011
4:33 pm

BEAT the Gators…

Sopwith Camel

January 24th, 2011
4:33 pm

All of the UGA fans are supporting the basketball team. GO DAWGS!! The football team let us down this year, but here’s hoping the BB team can make up for it!! BEAT FLORIDA!!

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South Georgia Dawg

January 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

Let’s keep it up and get the Diamond Dawgs back on track. Football is not the only game in the Classic City.

Buckeye

January 24th, 2011
4:40 pm

Just like in football, UGA is unranked. 89 votes in the latest AP but outside thetop 25.

Ohio State is # 1.

And to remind you “dwag” naysyers, all 5 juniors involved in the tatoo/memorabilia deal ARE coming back. None, repeat, none, entered the draft.

Still a Howard “Trey” Thompkins fan, Watched countless of his high school games going back to his freshman days.

I’d love to see him and our freshman stud Jared Sullinger go after it!

Gary

January 24th, 2011
4:46 pm

It’s great to be excited about Georgia basketball again. Harrick was a great coach, but apparently felt he had to cheat to win. I feel a lot better pulling for a coach like Fox, who wins by out working everyone else.

run the ball

January 24th, 2011
4:57 pm

Buckeye, if ya’ll played an SEC schedule in football you would be 7-5. Tell me I’m wrong.

SoCal Dawg

January 24th, 2011
4:57 pm

DawginLex

January 24th, 2011
4:58 pm

Buckeye,

You posted that why?

To make yourself feel better?

Congrats.

You seem pretty classy for a Buckeye so I’m going to ask you, don’t you think those 5 players should have sat out of the bowl game?

The win using them seemed pretty hollow to me.

My $.02

Bruce Pearl

January 24th, 2011
5:02 pm

UGA is playing great right now, and the fans are making it tougher than ever to win at Stegman. I had to double what I usually pay the refs to get the no-call on the shot clock violation….and not call my mutant center for over the back on that last play.

DawginLex

January 24th, 2011
5:04 pm

Bruce,

I saw you peeking through the door into the GYM DAWGS locker room.

WBDAWG

January 24th, 2011
5:09 pm

During the meaningless Xmas games the Stegmann crowds were up about 40%! Now that the conference schedule is here WHAMOOOO! We need to hold serve at home and win a few from the west on the road! NCAA’s, here we come!!!!!!

SoCal Dawg

January 24th, 2011
5:17 pm

Can’t wait to play the Vols again. I think the Dawgs will be looking for a little revenge.

Valdosta Cat

January 24th, 2011
5:31 pm

Question…….why is there a Buckeye fan on this blog? Don’t give me that ….”it’s a free country”…….

GTBob

January 24th, 2011
5:38 pm

Can’t wait to play the Vols again. I think the Dawgs will be looking for a little revenge.

That will be a really tough game to win. It will be at Tennessee and Bruce Pearl won’t be suspended anymore. The next two games will shape the rest of the season for UGA. They really need to beat Florida and Kentucky(again) to vault themselves up another level. Kentucky is coming off a bad loss to Alabama and a mediocre game against South Carolina. It’s as good a time as any to possibly get a win at Rupp Arena.

SoCal Dawg

January 24th, 2011
5:44 pm

GTBob- Could not agree more. I’m not claiming a victory@ TN but I do think UGA will play with a chip. The game ending play is one thing but the Dawgs got out manned. I think they will be looking to be physical. Hoping for a win. Go Dawgs!

N.Az.Dawg

January 24th, 2011
5:52 pm

Nice article Tim, but Gerald Robinson’s not a JuCo transfer. He played 2 years at Tenn. Tech, which is small, but still a D-1 school.

Billy Jack

January 24th, 2011
5:53 pm

I think we win tomorrow…but Sat. in Lexington I’m not so sure…the crowd will be wearing blue and the refs will be wearing panties…the no calls we got against UK in Athens won’t happen this sat…they won’t let the big guys “play”…just my opinion..Vegas likes us tomorrow nite..UGA is favored by 2pts…

Billy Jack

January 24th, 2011
6:00 pm

@ DawginLex …My wife caught me watching the GYM DAWGS recently….I had some trouble explaining that….she was “confused”..and I was stuttering…

Beast from the East

January 24th, 2011
6:12 pm

The Dawgs are certainly a threat in the east this year. May the best team win.
That being said……..Go Gators!

Barkin'Dog

January 24th, 2011
6:20 pm

N.Az.Dawg
January 24th, 2011
5:52 pm
Nice article Tim, but Gerald Robinson’s not a JuCo transfer. He played 2 years at Tenn. Tech, which is small, but still a D-1 school.

Don’t mean to be argumentative, but his former school was Tennessee State. UGA site says:
Offensively skilled transfer from Tennessee State University… Sat out the 2010 season in compliance with NCAA rules regarding transfers.

tenn.DAWG

January 24th, 2011
6:20 pm

I sure hope CMF and the team get the type of support they deserve.I f they do, the instate kids will take notice and get on board.

Tim Tucker

January 24th, 2011
6:21 pm

N.Az.Dawg: Corrected that. Thank you.

mike bobo garbage play calling

January 24th, 2011
6:22 pm

Georgia needs to prove that a must win sec game it can win.We had numerous times to take it against Tenn. but we didnt make shoots when needed instead turnovers cost us the game.GO DAWGS

BirdDog

January 24th, 2011
6:37 pm

It’s great to see people talkin bout UGA b-ball!

jp

January 24th, 2011
6:38 pm

only if this team had a legitimate center.

From Where I Sit

January 24th, 2011
6:46 pm

Gators will once again SCHOOL UGAY in basketball.

Enough Said!!!!

Billy Jack @ jp

January 24th, 2011
6:49 pm

Price and Barnes are solid PF’s…a true center is like wanting to win the lottery…just my opinion…(I wish we had a zone buster..like Ricky McPhee last year)…that said…Robinson and Ware have been hitting 3’s lately when that happens the dawgs are scary good…if those guys hit 3’s and we play solid defense we can beat anybody…JMHO

boots

January 24th, 2011
6:56 pm

Coach Fox and the team have done a tremendous job. It is painful (and thankfully hard) to look back on the past ten years and some of the bone-headed things our coaching has done to take UGA down. Now, however, we are on the rise, and it is going to be a great future. I, for one, am excited to drive from North-metro to go see them play. It is a blast and really a great experience for the family. Go Dawgs!

jim

January 24th, 2011
7:27 pm

A Buckeye likes basketball? When you have to luck out to beat Arkansas I guess football is out. One and nine.

Palm City Dawg

January 24th, 2011
7:45 pm

Buckeyed…what the hell are you doing here. You are welcome here, but seems strange to see a post coming this way from Ohio. Anyway, we really don’t give a crap about your Bucked eyes, but it is a free country. Never know, maybe we will see you in a BCS game soon.

441North

January 24th, 2011
7:48 pm

Another sellout is great, but if all those empty courtside seats are still there tomorrow night, it will be embarrassing. Whoever bought those tickets needs to get their lazy butts there or give them to somebody else. Recruits are watching . Fill ‘em ALL up.

VinceVanGo

January 24th, 2011
8:12 pm

I thinks the B-Ball Dogs are fantastic and even though they play in one of the toughest divisions in college basketball I think that they will get better and better and make the Big Dance this year. I love to see Marcus Thornton get better each game. By the end of the season he’s going to be big off the bench and going to be a monster next year as a sophomore when Thompkins/Leslie/Price and Barnes are all gone.

harold

January 24th, 2011
8:37 pm

GEORGIA IS NOT COMMITTED TO BASKETBALL. FLORIDA KENTUCKY AND CERTAINLY TENNESSEE OWN GEORGIA BASKETBALL.WATCH THE LADY DOGS. THEY ARE BETTER!

BornADawg

January 24th, 2011
9:14 pm

Harold, can you back up your claim that “Georgia is not comitted to basketball.” I guess you have a right to your opinion but damn, that’s a stupid thing to say. Are you even a Georgia fan?

Upstate Dawg

January 24th, 2011
10:05 pm

Can’t wait to rock the Steg tomorrow night….three in a row at home over the Gators would be sweet. GO DAWGS!

Tuna

January 24th, 2011
11:10 pm

Exciting things going on with the Bulldogs B-ball team. However, until they prove they can stay focused and take things seriously game after game I am going to go ahead and chalk this next game up as a loss against the Gators. I see an NIT bid this year, with possible NCAA bid if we end the season 7-9 or 8-8 in conference but win a couple of games in SEC Tourney. Hope the Dawgs prove me wrong!

the sham

January 24th, 2011
11:24 pm

@harold – are you still there? I think some other troll just stole your bridge. Now where are you going to live?

@BornADawg – he’s got to be North Ave Troll. Sad thing is that he can’t even find a sliver of positivity to make a pitiful case for them so he has to attack us. Sad, sad existence…

Gary

January 25th, 2011
1:16 am

Really great to see fans being supportive of the dogs,Has anyone imagine how deadly they would be if only the Srs,left and Trey and Travis returned for their Sr year they would be ranked in the top 20 easy.Will Stan Rome play basketball for the dog?

Buckeye

January 25th, 2011
8:09 am

I appreciate all the feedback. For the record, I have lived in ATL fo 25 years and pay Georgia taxes ( thereby financially supporting UGA but not by choice).

I post to support the Buckeyes just as y’all post to support the SEC, Bama, “dawgs”, “nerds”, etc.

I post to lay claim that Ohio State is a top 5 program – football and basketball – and UGA is not.

As a fan, I am glad the 5 played in the Sugar Bowl. We won. You lost the Liberty Bowl as I recall.

As a father, I support the kids even though they made a dumb mistake as most 19-20 year olds do.

As an adult, I do not blame the kids. They had no role in the decision to play/not play.

I support Tressel. He asked for their commitment, they gave their word and have lived up to their word – NONE declared for the NFL draft.

I am a fan of UGA basketball soley due to the fact that I’ve watched and rooted for Howard ( yes, that’s his pre-tatted up name) Thompkins since he was a freshman in high school. It’s been fun to watch a kid with that much god-given talent grow up, stay on the straight and narrow, and be a credit to his school – unlike his compadres Ealey (the spitter) and King (the non achiever).

I would love to see an Ohio State/UGA match up with Jared Sullinger v. Thompkins.

And, the fact remains, we were 12-1, won the Sugar Bowl and you were 6-7 and lost the Liberty Bowl.

And, the fact remains, for now anyway that Ohio State sits atop college basketball.

Funny, UGA/FL at 7PM ESPN is kinda like the JV game before the big boys play at 9PM.

Enjoy and good luck. I hate FL too.

Snoop Dawg

January 25th, 2011
8:30 am

Fox might be the best decision that that goon Demon Evans ever made. He is everything that Mark Richt is not. Passionate, a knowledgeable student of the game, motivational, energetic, who demands excellence and discipline. Maybe he could coach football during the off-season!

Dawglasville

January 25th, 2011
9:29 am

Am I having flashbacks from the one time I tripped in 1984? What is up with that picture and the huge head? Is that suppose to be Fox?

Hey Buckeye

January 25th, 2011
9:30 am

Why don’t you go find a Big 10 message board to go post on?

I’m sure we’re all really impressed with all the topics you addressed in your latest post and how convincing you were. Great work d-bag!