Big home game for Dogs tonight; big road turnaround this season

Big basketball game in Athens tonight, Georgia vs. Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. It’s big for Georgia because:

  • A win over a team with Vanderbilt’s RPI (15) would be helpful come Selection Sunday.
  • A win would put the Bulldogs, who have finished fifth or sixth in the  SEC East for seven consecutive seasons, in sole possession of second place in the division with five games to go.
  • A win at home would be well-advised and well-timed, what with the Bulldogs’ next two games at Tennessee and Florida.
  • A win would achieve a split of the season series against Vanderbilt, which beat Georgia 73-66 in Nashville.

———-

Lost in the shuffle of Saturday’s crazy game at South Carolina is that the victory assured Georgia a winning road record — a feat that definitely should be noted in the context of recent history.

Georgia is 6-2 on the road this season — a dramatic turnaround from its 0-11 road record last season, 2-28 over the past three seasons and 8-63 over the past seven seasons.

Georgia hasn’t had a winning record on the road since the 2002 team went 6-5. This season’s three remaining road games are Saturday at Tennessee, Feb. 24 at Florida and March 5 at Alabama.

———-

Vanderbilt shooting guard John Jenkins was the SEC Player of the Week after averaging 26 points in two games last week, including a career-high 32 in Saturday’s victory over Kentucky.

Asked Tuesday how the Bulldogs would defend Jenkins, coach Mark Fox said: “Oh, my gosh, guard him with six guys?”

Jenkins, a sophomore, is the SEC’s leading scorer at 19.8 points per game.

“He’s terrific, having a phenomenal year,” Fox said.

———-

And if you missed it, here’s a story I wrote for today’s paper sizing up Georgia’s position on the NCAA tournament bubble, which isn’t a bad place to be after the past few years.

– Tim Tucker, UGA Blog

139 comments Add your comment

Fair and Balanced

February 16th, 2011
5:22 am

As far as I’m concerned, Fox is on the bubble. After last year’s predicted record, everyone was saying GA was poised to do something outstanding this year. Well, I’m still skeptical. If he has the goods, it’s time to show it with a few critical wins.

Satchmo

February 16th, 2011
5:30 am

Crunch time, who”ll step up?

Flynn

February 16th, 2011
5:32 am

Who cares. It’s UGA, the Cesspool of the South.

dtc

February 16th, 2011
5:38 am

Fair and balanced – if you can’t see the improvement in UGA’s men’s basketball team, because of Mark Fox, you are not paying enough attention. Road record improved. Standings improved. The home seats are filled. Players and most fans attitudes improved. Only you have said something this ignorant.

dawgerbrown

February 16th, 2011
5:39 am

Fox on the bubble? He has two and one-half, maybe three legit starters. Thompkins being hurt early in the season and banged up lately has hurt his performance. In turn, has hurt the team.

German Shepherd Dawg

February 16th, 2011
5:55 am

Fair and Balanced is the only person on the planet concerned about Fox being on the bubble. He’s done a phenomenal job.

The only bubble involved with UGA basketball is NCAA-related. Tonight will be a huge win…if we get it.

But opinions are like a-holes. Everybody has one.

German Shepherd Dawg

February 16th, 2011
5:56 am

Flynn,

What we don’t care about is what you think.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Tech Alum

February 16th, 2011
6:13 am

“Fair and Balanced” and “Flynn” must be the same. There can’t be 2 people on Earth this stupid!!! Great season UGa…wish my Jackets could do as well!!!

bgdawg

February 16th, 2011
6:26 am

mark fox is on the bubble? tech would like that wouldn’t they? since CMF is undefeated when playing the jackets i’m sure that Tech would love CMF to get fired.

Americus dawg

February 16th, 2011
6:27 am

As of right now, every sports writer has u in the dance at an 8 or 9 seed, but we still have 5 to go! Man i hate tech! GATA!

FanSince59

February 16th, 2011
6:46 am

It’s not Fox that is on the bubble; it’s Richt that is on the bubble.

NCdawg

February 16th, 2011
6:49 am

Flynn,

SUCK IT!

dmr

February 16th, 2011
6:54 am

“FAIR AND BALANCED” woke up this morning, rolled over, nudged “FLYNN” and said “Flynn, you can type your comments after me.” Their perception of Mark Fox and Georgia Basketball as it stands today is way out of whack.

Georgia is 6 – 2 on the road, after going 0 – 11 last season and 8 – 63 over the last seven seasons. Fox has proved so far that he can change perception, culture, and attitude. This team is on the NCAA bubble; when last year they were not even close to an invite.

Fox can coach. It appears as though he can recruit well too. The team is 17 – 7…and last I checked, Fox had no control over the non-call at the end of the Tennessee game or the hail-mary three point shot in the Florida game. Two games that could have easily gone our way. Also, a few losses early without Trey Thompkins could have been different had he been available.

Flynn and Fair and Balanced need to go sit down and put their heads on their desks and clear out the cobwebs before typing again.

BobDawg

February 16th, 2011
7:48 am

We win tonight and we’re pretty assured of a 20 win season.. Great turnaround with basically the same team as last seaon that had 14 wins…. Vandy is really playing well though… this would be a huge win….

Buckeye

February 16th, 2011
7:53 am

Jenkins outside and Festus inside will have their way with Howard ( before I was Trey) Thompkins and Co.

Go ‘Dores.

[...] Big home game for Georgia tonight vs. Vandy, writes Tim Tucker of the AJC. [...]

D A DoubleU G

February 16th, 2011
8:04 am

I’ve been saying for a while now that this UGA team is bound for a 2nd round SEC Tourney loss, and a NIT Sweet 16 capping off an “improvement year”.

Travis Leslie will deservedly go pro early over the offseason, and unfortunately Trey Tompkins will go pro prematurely, never to be seen again unless you follow Euro-League basketball. Trey really needs to look at his film trying to guard Florida’s Vernon Macklin, and realize if he goes to the NBA, there will be many, many players larger and better than Vernon, who made Trey look like a High Schooler.

If Trey stays, this team will only get better next season. He leaves, and we will be back to square one in Winter November 2011.

But…… it’s only 199 days til kickoff…….

kydawg

February 16th, 2011
8:17 am

UGA has about the same record as UK and is ahead of them in the East with a lot less talent…and Fox is on the bubble? Yeah right!!!

6 road wins this year vs 8 road wins over the past 3 years…boy, UGA is in basketball pergatory…lol.

D A DoubleU G

February 16th, 2011
8:18 am

Buckeye,

My condolences for the state of Ohio being a REALLY, REALLY crappy place, and forcing you to find greener pastures in the state of Georgia for you and your very large wife to graze.

But welcome. We are glad you reside in this great state, and pay taxes, which unbeknownst to you contribute to funding THE University of Georgia Athletics.

kydawg

February 16th, 2011
8:18 am

sorry…purgatory

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
8:42 am

UGA just needs to somehow get to 9-7 in the league and it won’t matter what the haters/idiots say or think.

They will be in the NCAA’s.

Kentucky and UGA can’t be compared schedule wise. Non conference UK played UConn, UL,NC,UW,ND and beat 3 of the 5.

Joey

February 16th, 2011
8:43 am

“But…… it’s only 199 days til kickoff…….”
****************************
Man, I just hope that after the first two Saturdays of football, you aren’t writing, “But……it’s only 90 days til tipoff……..”

That Boise game is gonna be the most important one UGA has had in years . . .

jim r

February 16th, 2011
8:51 am

Fair and balanced? If you’d pull your head from where the sun don’t shine you might have noticed that this is the best uga basketball team we.ve had since the forgettable Jim Harrick days and I believe he has done it honestly. A lot more to come if we can keep him. Pay up Ga or somebody else will.

nerds! nerds! nerds!

February 16th, 2011
8:51 am

Fox on the bubble? Hahahahahahahaha. All you haters wish. This guy can flat out coach. Also, look at the recruits he has already brought in. Next year we get a McDonalds All American too.

Fair and Balanced: “You are really, really dumb. For real.”- Antwan Dodson

Apples II Oranges

February 16th, 2011
8:52 am

Win 2 outta 3 and that is a big deal. Fox has more than exceeded expectations in Athens. Going to be great watching March Madness with UGA in it. Also note the lose to Xavier, remember come tourney time teams with great backcourts go far. Xavier by all accounts has that type of backcourt to make a deep run. Remember that come office pool time.

nerds! nerds! nerds!

February 16th, 2011
8:53 am

Jim. UGA did pay him and his buyout is huge. I think we learned our lesson when Tubby left us hanging.

Joey

February 16th, 2011
8:54 am

Thompkins has to elevate his game, a lot, for UGA to make the dance. He hasn’t looked like a NBA first rounder this season at all.

His ankle must be the reason. Someone on here said the high ankle sprain can hurt you for 6 months.

UGASlobberknocker

February 16th, 2011
8:55 am

“Fairly Balanced” ..Im guessing you prob are someone who has been screaming for Richt to get fired for the past three yrs. What else would you have Fox do? He has turned things around, recruited big time players, and is def taking us in the right direction. Yeah, we could use a good win, but have you forgotten about the last 6 or so yrs when we couldnt beat anyone? This isnt exactly Duke that he took over in Athens. An asinine post by any measure..

Flynn's dog

February 16th, 2011
8:57 am

Even I think Flynn is a jerk. The only cesspool Flynn knows about is his front yard.

Flynn and Fair and Balanced's proctologist

February 16th, 2011
8:58 am

Good news guys, I found your heads.

claytondawg

February 16th, 2011
9:22 am

I’m not sure why so many naysayers here; however, CMF has done a tremendous job at UGA. The ‘Dog Nation will get even more excited when more of the recruits from the state of Georgia realize this. Go ‘Dogs!!

Dawg Fud

February 16th, 2011
9:24 am

Who cares. It’s Flynn, the Douchebag of the South.

Who Cares

February 16th, 2011
9:45 am

Time for a reality check for UGA b.b fans. The road wins have come against Tech, S.C, Ark. Mercer. Haven’t beaten a team with winning conference record on the road. So don’t get to excited about Fox and his team. You will see the real UGA team when it goes on the road against teams with .500 or better conference records, Bama, Tenn, and Fl. You will see an 0-3 in those games, yet everyone is talking about what a great turnaround Fox is doing this year. The only reason UGA has a winning conference record is because the Western Division is God AWFUL this season. Uga has beaten Ark, Auburn, Miss, &Miss.St from the west, and Kentucky&S.C from the east. None of these teams have a winning conference record. So stop drinking the coolaid and be realistic. This team hasn’t beaten a good conference team this year, and it want beat one this year. You can count of losses to Bama, Tenn.Fl& Vandy. They will not get in the big dance, and they shouldn’t. As a matter of fact, Fox and this team is worse than last year’s team. At least last years team beat Tenn,&Florida at home, and came within the final minute of beating Kentucky on the road. So i would say Fox is overrated, and this will show next year when he has none of Felton’s players left(Leslie, THompkins, Price&Barnes). This coach has shown he can’t recruit in Atlanta or the state of Ga, and it will start to show next year. There are 8 players from the state of Ga. in this year’s top 100, and UGA got one of them. Tenn, got 2, Vandy got one, Tech got one, and Auburn for crying out loud got one. That is pathetic. So Dream on UGA fans, just like in football, UGA can’t win the big conference games.

Ben

February 16th, 2011
9:45 am

HUGE game. Need to go 2-1 in the next 3 games, minimum I think, to have a chance at an at-large.

It would be a huge accomplishment and a big step forward for this program.

Problem is, which team will show up, Jekyl or Hyde? I’d love to see someone just go nuts tonight for 40. Seems like we haven’t had someone do that this year. It’d be nice if Dustin Ware would go off from 3.

Ben

February 16th, 2011
9:48 am

Who Cares, Fox just got UGA’s first McDonald’s All American in almost 10 years this and Mr. Georgia Basketball last year. I’d say Fox is doing okay on the recruiting trail.

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
9:53 am

Who cares,

UGA beat UK who has a winning conference record and also has an RPI of around 10. They are projected as a 4 seed in the NCAA’s. UGA is currently projected as being in the NCAA’s as well but clearly has some work left to do.

Fox is not a crook and doesn’t have a son teaching at UGA.

He is doing things the right way. Just because you don’t like UGA doesn’t change the facts hater boy.

Buckeye

February 16th, 2011
9:56 am

D A Double UG,

Your words reflect a great deal of class, civility and sportmanship. Good lord.

If you are, in deed, a representation of the UGA fanbase, you reflect very poorly on your team. You are what I that thought you were.

It was a pleasure to hear from you this morning and hope you enjoy the day.

Buckeye

Buckeye

February 16th, 2011
10:02 am

D A Double,

Curious, how is life on the bubble? Going to Stegman tonight to root on your boys?

I can tell you, it’s sweet to be 25-1 and a likely # 1 seed.

Hope to see Howard ( before I was Trey) Thompkins and Co. in the Tourney, assuming you make the field.

Good luck tonight!

REALLY

February 16th, 2011
10:03 am

Who Cares- Georgia has not lost to a West team; every other Sec east team has lost to an SEC west team. You mean UGA is awful losing to two buzzer beaters to UT and UF. UT has horrible losses and UGA has none. UK we beat and they are projected as a 4 seed in the tourney. UGA beat UAB a top 50 win. Georgia is 3-1 on the road in conference play. UGA is tied for second in the East. ” As a matter of fact, Fox and this team is worse than last year’s team.” What kind of statement is this? are you kidding UGA did not even win on the road last year; they have turned that around this year and that is reality…

Paul in RDU

February 16th, 2011
10:03 am

Who Cares
I am a GT fan and even I think you are a troll and an idiot. UGA has obviously improved under Fox and has a good chance of making the NCAA. It is tough to win conference games on the road, no matter which conference you are in and UGA has a good record away from Athens. On top of that, they have a marquee win over UK. UGA under Fox has a long way to go before anyone will confuse them with UK, Duke, UNC, MSU, Kansas, etc. but they are vastly improved.

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
10:10 am

Buckeye,

IU 76 is Indiana 1976. The last team to go undefeated and win the NCAA’s.

RaleighDawg

February 16th, 2011
10:11 am

Fair and Balanced – don’t let the uninformed and unaware homers get you down. Clearly these folks only knowledge of UGA basketball is that: a) in years gone by (with very few exceptions) UGA men’s basketball has a losing record; and b) this year, UGA men’s basketball has a winning record.

I’m willing to bet that I’m one of very few real UGA men’s baskeball fans who have actually seen every game this year (and I’ll admit it, taped them to re-watch) and while I do appreciate the winning the record and improvement, there are some very real questions about Coach Fox and the team.

Coach’s continued insistence on having JP jump every tip is mystifying to those who have seen UGA lose EVERY tip this year – every one. What is the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results ? You’d think the man would mix it up at least once just for giggles – not to mention I’m willing to bet both Trey and Travis easily can outjump JP.

His coaching during games at least raises questions – why didn’t he have us foul UF when we were up 3 with 8 seconds to go in the first OT ? Why was the best play we had coming out of a full time out against Auburn at the end of the game was to throw the ball away to Auburn ? And when Auburn scored, why was the team not coached up on what to do in the event this happened ? When Gerald got the ball back after the Auburn basket he dribbled around for a couple of seconds not knowing whether to call a time out or attack the basket.

And who coaches these guys on defense – Spike the inflatable mascot ? Looks like it since Trey, JP, and Chris seldom move their arms and feet (well, that’s not fair. JP does more than his share of reaching – particularly toward the end of games when he’s tired). Which leads to player rotations and development.

Last year he didn’t have a bench so he couldn’t use but six players. This year he recruited Mr. Georgia Basketball and Georgia’s AAAA player of the year, plus got Connor as transfer but do any of them get off the bench ? Connor started the first four games averaging 30 minutes per game while Trey was out with the ankle sprain, then has only had double figure minutes twice…and has been DNP’ed five times. Marcus Thornton averages just under 11 minutes per game and Donte Williams a little less than 7.

Forget the fact that the two freshmen aren’t getting a chance to develop and help out over the next three years, but utilizing them and Connor for more minutes would help to keep his bigs (Trey and JP) fresher and out of foul trouble for the end of the games. Also, if I was a recruit looking to come to UGA I’d be sure to notice that in all likelihood I’d be on the rock for most of next year.

…and a couple of more things – would someone, anyone, please coach Trey on what to do when double teamed ? At least against SC he called timeout the last instead of his usual throw the ball away…and likewise, someone/anyone please coach up Gerald to know what he’s going to do BEFORE he jumps into the air ? I’m thinking sit these guys down for some significant minutes and they might learn to make better choices when they are in the game. JP had some marked improvement (for a while) when Coach started Chris one game.

Don’t get me wrong – I am a UGA alum (class of 78) and want very much for these guys to be successful. I’m choosing to believe that Coach Fox, like the current state of UGA men’s basketball, is young and hopefully learning. I just want them – and Coach Fox – to learn faster from what isn’t working.

Go dawgs !!

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
10:16 am

Raleigh,

Coach Fox obviously does not believe in fouling at the end of the game when up by 3 since he was screaming at the team to not foul.

The kid threw the ball away against Auburn. Coach Fox didn’t diagram a play designed to commit a turnover.

Thornton is not ready to play significant minutes. There is a reason Calipari didn’t foam at the mouth to get him. He wouldn’t be playing at all in Lexington.

Jump ball? Could it be you want your best athletes CATCHING THE TIP?

My $.02.

Buckeye

February 16th, 2011
10:18 am

DawginLex,

Thanks. New it was Indiana. Who hit that winning shot – about 12 feet from the side?

aaron in arizona

February 16th, 2011
10:20 am

D A doubleU G,
That post responding to “Buckeye” was hilarious!!!!!!! Who is this Buckeye, anyway? Better name would be “Blackeye” w/that 1 – 9 record vs SEC in bowls. Shoot, they just “eeked-out” a win vs Ark in Sugar Bowl (with many inelligable players – for some reason that were allowed to play).

Ted Striker

February 16th, 2011
10:21 am

Thanks for the column, Tim.

Craig

February 16th, 2011
10:21 am

Let’s be realistic with this team. They play very hard, but are now just learning how to win. Coach Fox has them moving in the right direction, but it is time for Thompkins to step up and put the team on his back. This is a tall task for any player, but if he wants to be a pick in the top half of the first round he needs to prove he can do it.

Fans be patient with the team. There might be some growing pains, but the team always plays hard and I have yet to hear about them having problems off the court. Keep working hard Dawgs.

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
10:21 am

Winning shot for IU in 1976? I don’t remember the championship game being close in 1976.

You may be thinking of 1986 versus Syracuse. Can’t remember the kid’s name.

DawginLex

February 16th, 2011
10:22 am

Just came to me. Keith Smart