Georgia (13-8, 6-8 SEC) vs. Florida (10-6, 6-5 SEC)
Saturday, February 20, at 3:30 p.m. ET
Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center (10,151) in Gainesville, Fla.
Series History: UF leads, 117-105
Last Meeting: UF, 92-84, on Jan. 23, 2021
Watch: SEC Network (Paul Sunderland, play-by-play; Joe Kleine, analyst)
Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 382; Internet: 972 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)
The Starting Five
• Sahvir Wheeler’s 148 assists is the 8th-best season total ever by a Bulldog. He’s just six assists from No. 2 and 21 shy of Pertha Robinson’s school record.
• Of 347 Division I teams, Toumani Camara and Sahvir Wheeler are of only five sets of teammates with five or more double-doubles during 2020-21.
• In his first 20 career games, Jaxon Etter averaged 0.4 ppg, 0.4 rpg and 3.0 mpg. In his last four outings, Etter is averaging 7.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 18.0 mpg.
• Eight different Bulldogs have scored in double figures during the 2020-21 season, combining to produce 84 double-digit performances in UGA’s 21 games.
• P.J. Horne, who generally guards the opposing team’s post player a significant amount, leads UGA with 35 3-pointers made this season.
The Opening Tip
Georgia continues its “February Frenzy” prelude to “March Madness” on Saturday when the Bulldogs face Florida at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gators represent the fourth foe in a stretch of five consecutive outings versus probable NCAA Tourney invitees.
Previously, the Bulldogs suffered setbacks at No. 16/15 Tennessee on Feb. 10 and No. 11/11 Alabama on Feb. 13 before rebounding to top No. 20/19 Missouri in Athens on Tuesday night. The Vols, Tide and Tigers are the three SEC teams included in the NCAA’s initial reveal last Saturday of the projected top-16 seeds for next month’s “Big Dance.”
After facing Florida, Georgia returns home to host LSU next Tuesday evening at Stegeman Coliseum. The Gators and those Tigers were No. 7 and No. 8 seeds, respectively, ESPN’s edition of Bracketology released on Friday morning. FYI, Arkansas is the SEC’s other team included in Joe Lunardi’s prognostications as a No. 6 seed.
Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Today’s Game:
Tom Crean is…
• 4 wins from 400 victories in his career
Andrew Garcia is…
• 10 points from 1,000 for his career
Sahvir Wheeler is…
• 1 assists from No. 7 Rashad Wright (2003) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 2 assists from No. 6 Willie Anderson (1987) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 3 assists from No. 5 J.J. Frazier (2016) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 4 assists from No. 4 Donald Hartry (1986) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 5 assists from No. 3 Rashad Wright (2008) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 6 assists from No. 2 Sundiata Gaines (2007) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 21 assists from No. 1 Pertha Robinson (1995) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 6 assists from No. 17 Bernard Davis (1991-94) among UGA’s best career tallies
• 12 assists from No. 16 Walter Daniels (1976-79)among UGA’s best career tallies
• 37 assists from No 15 Shandon Anderson (1993-96)among UGA’s best career tallies
Series History With Florida
Florida enters Saturday’s game with a 117-105 advantage in the series between UGA and UF, including a 66-39 edge in Gainesville.
Florida is Georgia’s most frequent foe on the hardwood, with today’s matchup being the 223rd all time. Trailing the Gators on the list of most meetings for Georgia are two more of the Bulldogs’ biggest rivals – Georgia Tech with 196 contests and Auburn with 193.
Last month in Athens, five Bulldogs scored in double figures and Sahvir Wheeler notched his fifth double-double of the season, but Georgia still dropped a 92-84 decision to Florida.
Andrew Garcia led Georgia offensively for the second straight game with 17 points.
Florida led 42-39 at halftime following an opening 20 minutes that saw five ties and nine lead changes. The Gators seized control by opening the second stanza with a 16-3 run.
Florida won both ends of the home-and-home series during the 2019-20 campaign. The Bulldogs and Gators were scheduled to play a third time in the second round of last season’s SEC Tourney before that event was canceled on March 12 approximately three hours before tipoff due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the most recent meeting in Gainesville on Feb. 5 last season, freshmen Anthony Edwards and Sahvir Wheeler scored 32 and 16 points, respectively, in an 81-75 loss at Exactech Arena.
Scouting The Gators
Florida is 10-6 overall and 6-5 in league play entering Saturday’s game. The Gators dropped a 75-64 decision to No. 24 Arkansas on Tuesday, Florida’s first action following a 13-day hiatus due to Covid-19.
Florida climbed into both top-25 polls on Feb. 1 after knocking off No. 11/11 West Virginia in Morgantown on Jan. 30 as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. The Gators then lost to South Carolina, 72-66, on Feb. 3 before having their next three games postponed.
Tre Mann leads a quartet of active players averaging double figures for the Gators at 14.1 ppg, while Colin Castleton chips in 13.2 ppg, Noah Locke adds 11.1 ppg and Tyree Appleby contributes 10.6 ppg.
Last Time Out
Georgia upset No. 20/19 Missouri, 80-70, on Tuesday night in Athens as a hot-shooting Justin Kier led five Bulldogs in double figures.
Kier connected on 6-of-7 shots from the field, including 2-of-2 3-pointers, and 2-of-2 trips to the line to pace Georgia with 16 points. In addition, Sahvir Wheeler added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists and in the process ascended from No. 13 to No. 8 among the Bulldogs’ all-time single-season leaders in assists.
Kier started hot, scoring 10 points in the opening 8:31. Georgia led for 12:11 of the first half before the Tigers surged to a 37-33 lead at the break.
Missouri scored the first nine points of the second stanza as the Tigers’ advantage quickly bulged to 13 points. Following a timeout, Georgia chipped away at that margin. The Bulldogs went up 57-55 on a 3-pointer from P.J. Horne with 7:44 remaining and never trailed again.