Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball Preview - Georgia
The 193rd meeting between the state rivals is set for Dec. 20 at McCamish Pavilion
By Wiley Ballard - The first meeting between Georgia Tech and Georgia under new head coach Josh Pastner will take place Dec. 20 at McCamish Pavilion. The Yellow Jackets have won four of the last five meetings between the two teams, including the last two encounters on Tech’s home court.
Location: Athens, Ga.
Conference: Southeastern Conference (SEC)
Home arena: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
2015-16 Record: 20-14 overall, 10-8 in SEC (t-6th), 59th in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: lost to St. Mary’s in second round of NIT, 77-65
NCAA Postseason Appearances: 10 (last in 2015)
All-time series record: Georgia Tech leads 105-87 (first meeting on 3/10/1906)
Head coach: Mark Fox (entering 8th season, 126-103)
Starters returning/lost: 3/2
Top scorer returning: J.J. Frazier (16.9)
Top rebounder returning: Yante Maten (8.0)
Quick preview for 2016-17
Georgia enters the 2016-17 season having won a combined 61 games in its last three seasons, the most wins in a three-year stretch since 1995-1998. The Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the SEC preseason poll behind Kentucky, Florida and Texas A&M. J.J. Frazier led the team in scoring (16.9 ppg) and returns as a pre-season first-team All-SEC selection and the league’s leading scorer. Yante Maten, also a pre-season All-SEC selection, ranks third among returning SEC players in scoring and second in rebounding. Should Georgia breach the 20-win plateau again in 2016-17, coach Mark Fox would pass Hugh Durham for most 20-win seasons in Athens with his fifth in eight seasons.
Quick recap of 2015-16
Georgia finished with 20 wins and a winning record in the SEC for the third consecutive season. After closing out the regular season on a three-game winning streak, the Bulldogs disposed of Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament. In the quarterfinals, leading scorer J.J. Frazier heroically led Georgia to a one-point victory over South Carolina in the final three seconds. The Bulldogs’ run ended in the semifinals as Kentucky scored 93 points, the most Georgia’s defense had allowed all season. In the NIT, Georgia defeated Belmont before traveling to St. Mary’s in San Francisco for a second-round matchup, where it lost, 77-65. J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten earned second team all-conference honors.
Greatest Program Accomplishment
1983 Final Four – In 1983, Georgia made its first and only appearance in the Final Four under head coach Hugh Durham. After a 9-0 start to the season, the Bulldogs struggled in the month of February, losing four straight games at one point. But Georgia’s dominant 74-59 win over Tennessee in the regular season finale salvaged a 9-9 SEC record and catapulted the Bulldogs to a postseason run. In the SEC Tournament, Georgia ran roughshod over their opponents including an 86-71 victory against Alabama in the title game. Coach Durham’s squad survived a first-round scare from VCU, needing a last second tip-in to advance to the Sweet 16. The following weekend, Georgia shocked the country with wins over No. 3 St. John’s and No. 8 North Carolina (despite Michael Jordan’s 26 points). In the national semifinal, Georgia’s historic run was stifled by eventual national champion NC State, 67-60.
Greatest player in program history
Dominique Wilkins (1980-1982) – Born in Paris, France, Dominique Wilkins is widely considered the most decorated basketball player to play at Georgia. Over the course of his UGA career, Wilkins averaged 21.6 points per game. He ranks fourth on the all-time UGA scoring list with 1,688 points in just 78 games. Wilkins owns the single-season scoring record, totaling 732 points (23.6 ppg) as a sophomore. He also ranks fourth in career blocks (142). Wilkins was named the SEC Player of the Year in 1981. He left UGA for the NBA after his junior season, and was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz. Wilkins played for five different NBA teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs. Remembered mostly as a Hawk, Wilkins played 12 seasons in Atlanta. He scored over 26,000 points and averaged nearly 25 points per game during his 16 years as a pro. Wilkins grabbed over 7,000 rebounds and averaged nearly seven boards a game. Known as “The Human Highlight Film,” the nine-time NBA All-Star is considered one of the best dunkers in NBA history.
Place to visit on campus or in the city
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens – Located by the UGA campus, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a 313-acre facility with a conservatory operated by the university. The garden contains 11 botanical and horticultural collections, including a Dahlia Garden, a Heritage Garden with apples, peaches, peanuts, and tobacco, an International Garden with plants from all over the world, an Azalea Collection, and a Rhododendron Collection. In addition to looking at the beautiful gardens, visitors can also spend hours exploring and walking the trails. The Garden has free admission for all tourists and locals to enjoy nature’s beauty.