Georgia faces Loyola-Chicago

WHEN: Tonight, 9:30 p.m.
RECORDS: Georgia 1-0, Loyola of Chicago 0-1
COACHES: Georgia – Dennis Felton (76-80, 6th year; 175-134 overall). Loyola of Chicago – Jim Whitesell (65-59, fifth year; 343-252 overall)
NEXT GAME: Tuesday vs Eastern Michigan-Purdue winner
TV: None
About the Bulldogs
Georgia hits the road for the first time of this young season when it plays Loyola of Chicago in the first round of the Dick's Sporting Goods Pre-Season Tipoff on Monday night. The Bulldogs are seeded sixth out of the field of 16 teams while Loyola is the 10th seed.
Whoever wins this contest will face the winner of the game between No. 1 seed Purdue and No. 14 Eastern Michigan. This is Georgia's third all-time appearance in what was once called the Pre-Season NIT.
All three times have come in 10-year intervals: 1988-1998-2008. Each of the first two appearances featured first-round wins at home, followed by losses at North Carolina in the second round.
Georgia players to watchInjuries continue to hamper the Bulldog basketball team. Already, freshman guard Ebuka Anyaorah will miss the entire season after undergoing surgery to mend a stress fracture in his left leg. Others who have missed time include fellow rookie Trey Thompkins, who has scarcely practiced because of multiple injuries, most recently an ankle sprain; senior Terrance Woodbury (ankle) and junior Albert Jackson who sprained ligaments in his left ankle in the Albany State game but played in the season-opener against USC-Upstate. Georgia arrives at the Loyola game with a 1-0 record, having pulled away from USC Upstate for a 72-48 victory Friday night in Athens. The Bulldogs needed over 12 minutes to reach double figures in scoring, but their stingy defense facilitated this victory. Upstate committed a whopping 29 turnovers, thanks mostly to 20 Georgia steals, and the Spartans shot just 37 percent from the field. Four Bulldogs hit for double figures, including Zac Swansey and Travis Leslie with 11, followed by walk-on transfer Ricky McPhee with 10.
About the RamblersLoyola and Georgia are meeting for only the second time ever and for the first time since 1986. In the only previous meeting between the schools, Georgia scored an 81-69 victory in the opening round of the Cotton States Classic in Atlanta. Loyola owns a respectable 9-11 record against current members of the Southeastern Conference, but is playing its first SEC foe since facing these same Georgia Bulldogs on Dec. 13, 1986. The Ramblers last posted a win over a current member of the SEC on March 14, 1964, when they upended Kentucky, 100-91, in NCAA Tournament play in Minneapolis. oyola was picked to finish eighth in the annual Horizon League Preseason Poll of the League's coaches, sports information directors and media. The last time the Ramblers were slotted eighth in the preseason poll was 2004-05.
Loyola of Chicago players to watch
J.R. Blount started the 2008-09 season with a bang, scoring a career-best 42 points in Loyola's Nov. 14 tilt versus Rockhurst. The 42 points are the most ever by a Rambler in a season opener and also tied former LU star David Bailey's Gentile Center record for points in a single contest. Bailey netted 42 points versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Nov. 29, 2001.
In addition, Blount's 42-point effort ranks tied for sixth in Loyola single-game history and fell just five points shy of Alfredrick Hughes' school standard of 47 points, which was set against Detroit on Feb. 9, 1985. A Preseason Second Team All-Horizon League pick, Blount enters his final year as a Rambler looking to climb the school's all-time scoring chart.
Heading into Monday night's game against Georgia, the 6-foot-1 guard ranks 22nd on Loyola's career scoring list with 1,195 points and last season became the 37th player in school annals to score 1,000 career points. Last year, the Milwaukee, Wis., native started the season with a bang, scoring in double figures in each of the team's first nine contests, while tallying 17.6 points per game in that stretch.