Georgia (15-16) vs. Vanderbilt (21-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 9, 10:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: New Orleans Arena (18,500) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Georgia 11-6, Vanderbilt 13-5. Away Record: Georgia 2-9, Vanderbilt 6-5. Neutral Record: Georgia 2-1, Vanderbilt 2-0. Conference Record: Georgia 5-11, Vanderbilt 10-6. Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 87-48.
GAME NOTES: After pulling off a first-round upset, the 11th-seeded Georgia Bulldogs will be hoping for a similar outcome when they take on the third- seeded Vanderbilt Commodores in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament tonight.
Georgia stunned sixth-seeded Mississippi State on Thursday night, 71-61, and all but deflated MSU's hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Bulldogs of UGA raised their overall record to 15-16, and with a win tonight would advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2008.
Vanderbilt is having yet another impressive season as it currently sits with a 21-10 overall record. The Commodores finished 10-6 in the SEC, tied for second place with both Florida and Tennessee, though they earned the No. 3 seed via the head-to-head tie-breaker. Vandy had the opportunity to finish in second place outright, but it lost to Tennessee in the season finale, 68-61.
The Commodores have won six straight over the Bulldogs to increase their all- time series advantage to 87-46. The series sweep this year by Vandy came by a combined 20 points.
Georgia had an offensive outburst in the first-round victory over Mississippi State, connecting on 51 percent of its field goal attempts while five players recorded double figures in points. Gerard Robinson paced the squad with 23 points, while Nemanja Djurisic tallied a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. This performance was a departure for the Bulldogs, as they rank last in the SEC in both scoring (61.3 ppg) and field goal percentage (.394). Robinson has been the catalyst all season long, registering 14.3 ppg. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also does his fair share, putting up 13.6 ppg and 5.2 rpg. A saving grace for UGA this season has been its stellar defense, as it limits its opponents to just 63.0 ppg on just 42 percent field goal shooting.
Vanderbilt's third-ranked offense in the conference (73.5 ppg, 46.2 FG percentage) was paced by a couple of All-SEC First Team selections. John Jenkins is the league's leading scorer, putting up 20.0 ppg on 48.7 percent field goal efficiency. Most of his damage is done from beyond the three-point line, as he leads the nation in treys with an astounding 118 at an impressive 46.1 percent clip. Joining Jenkins on the First Team is Jeffery Taylor, who provides the Commodores with an inside presence. Amazingly enough, Taylor is the SEC's second-leading scorer with 17.1 ppg, and he also adds 5.9 rpg and 1.3 spg. Center Festus Ezeli has been solid as well, adding 10.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 2.1 bpg to the mix. Vandy has not been terribly strong on defense this season, ranking 10th out of 12 conference teams in average points allowed (66.2).
Georgia is riding some momentum, as it has won three of four dating back to the regular season, but Vanderbilt been clearly the better team this year and has had a decisive advantage over this Bulldogs squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vanderbilt 73, Georgia 62
03/09 10:32:49 ET