February 22, 2008

Scouting report: Georgia at Vanderbilt

What: Georgia (12-12, 3-8) at Vanderbilt (13-10, 7-3)
Where: Memorial Gymnasium
When: Saturday
Time/TV: 4:05/Raycom
Series Record: Vanderbilt leads 78-47

Coaches: Seven seasons into his stay in Nashville, Kevin Stallings has put into place a strong base with five postseason appearances, an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2004 and a pair of 20-win seasons. In fact, over the past 28 seasons, success has followed Stallings throughout his basketball career as a player at Purdue, an assistant at both Purdue and Kansas and his previous head position at Illinois State. During the time span Stallings has been a part of 19 seasons with 20-or-more victories. Twenty-three times a campaign has concluded during postseason play. Since coming to Vanderbilt in April 1999, Stallings has compiled a 122-96 record while moving his 13-year overall coaching mark to 245-159. Stallings has guided the Commodores to postseason play in each of the last three seasons. The native of Collinsville, Ill, is two years removed from his most successful season at Vanderbilt. The 2003-04 campaign saw the Commodores advance to their first NCAA Tournament since 1993, reaching the Phoenix Regional Semifinals before bowing out to Connecticut, the eventual national champion.

Last Time Out: Two of Ross Neltner's six field goals came in the final two minutes and provided Vanderbilt the points necessary to hand Georgia its fourth consecutive loss. Nine of Neltner's 13 points, in fact, came in the second half, and his four field goals during the period all came in critical spots. None was more valuable than the good-luck basket he tallied with 56 seconds left, when he picked up a loose ball and put in a reverse layup, giving the Commodores a 65-59 lead.

Last Five Games:
Lost to Vanderbilt 63-58
Lost to Florida 77-67
Beat South Carolina 82-64
Lost to Tennessee 74-71
Lost to Kentucky, 61-55

Beat Auburn 78-71
Beat Georgia 67-59
Beat South Carolina 66-65
Beat Kentucky 93-52
Beat Florida 61-58

Did you know?
• Perhaps more than ever now, the Bulldogs have come to rely upon senior guard Sundiata Gaines. Injuries and suspensions have thinned Georgia's ranks to seven available scholarship players, a list that includes Chris Barnes who will miss the rest of the season with a torn meniscus. Because of the lack of alternatives, Gaines has played all but three minutes over the past four games. He has responded accordingly, though, earning SEC Player of the Week honors for the current week.

• Saturday's game is the second of a particularly uninviting portion of its schedule, where four of five games are on the road. The Bulldogs have struggled in true road games this season, having won just once in seven tries: at Hawaii in the third round of the Rainbow Classic last Decem¬ber.

• The Bulldogs will attempt to reverse their fortunes at a venue that has yielded few positive results for Georgia over the years. Bulldog teams have won just nine times in Memorial Gym since its dedication in 1952. Georgia's most recent win came in a 74-73 victory in 2006.

All Eyes On
Senior guard Shan Foster leads the Commodores in scoring with 18.9 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per contest.

Scouting the Bulldogs
Starting Lineup
F - 50 Jeremy Price 6-8 270 Fr. Decatur, Ga. 8.8 ppg 4.8 rpg.
C - 44 Dave Bliss 6-10 255 Sr. Wausau, Wis. 7.8 ppg 5.1 rpg
G - 2 Sundiata Gaines 6-1 205 Sr. Jamaica, N.Y. 14.8 ppg 6.6 rpg
G - 30 Terrance Woodbury 6-7 220 Jr. Virginia Beach, Va. 9.9 ppg 3.8 rpg
G - 5 Zac Swansey 6-1 175 So. Dunwoody, Ga. 4.6 ppg 1.4 apg

Bench Report
G - 31 Billy Humphrey 6-2 190 Jr. Dacula, Ga. 12.6 ppg 3.4 rpg
F - 34 Albert Jackson 6-10 250 So. Earlington, Ky. 1.6 ppg 3.1 rpg

Scouting the Commodores
Starting Lineup
F - 32 Shan Foster 6-6 205 Sr. Kenner, La. 18.9 ppg 5.0 rpg
F - 41 Ross Neltner 6-9 240 Sr. Ft. Thomas, Ky. 8.3 ppg 5.4 rpg
C - 4 A.J. Ogilvy 6-11 250 Fr. Sydney, Australia 17.2 ppg 6.9 rpg
G - 3 Alex Gordon 6-0 170 Sr. Pensacola, Fla. 10.6 ppg 2.6 rpg
G - 0 Jermaine Beal 6-3 210 So. DeSoto, Texas 7.7 ppg 4.7 apg

Bench Report
G - 13 Keegan Bell 6-1 180 Fr. Hazel Green, Ala. 3.2 ppg 1.2 rpg
F - 11 Alan Metcalfe 6-9 265 Sr. St. Helens, England 6.2 ppg 2.6 rpg

Analysis and Prediction
Yet another road game for the Bulldogs, who will be minus backup forward Chris Barnes who tore his meniscus against Tennessee and will miss the rest of the year. Barnes' absence leaves Georgia with just three post players - Dave Bliss, Albert Jackson and Jeremy Price. Vanderbilt beat the Bulldogs in Stegeman Coliseum 65-59 and will be fortunate to keep it that close. The effort will be there, but at the point, everybody Georgia plays will be deeper and that will ultimately be the difference in the game.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 75, Georgia 60

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