Daily Dawg Thread: March 26, 2024

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Daily Dawg Thread: March 26, 2024

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MBB: Georgia (19-16) vs. Ohio State (22-13) – Georgia travels to Columbus today to face the Buckeyes in the quarterfinal round of the NIT

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Value City Arena (19,049)





Location: Columbus, Ohio

Series History: UGA leads, 1-0

Last Meeting: UGA, 84-80 in OT, on 12/28/77





TV: ESPN (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Cory Alexander, color analyst)

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network – SiriusXM 380 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, color analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• The Bulldogs are making their third appearance in the NIT quarterfinals and their first since 1998.

• With Sunday’s 72-66 win over Wake Forest, the Bulldogs are now 28-2 when holding their opponents under 70 points during Mike White’s two seasons at Georgia.

• With last Tuesday’s 78-76 win over Xavier, Georgia upped its records to 9-8 in games that were one-possession contests in the final 5:00 and 7-5 in matchups that were separated by three points or less in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

• Mike White improved to 9-0 in first-round games of the NCAA Tournament and NIT with last Tuesday’s win over Xavier. White is now 15-8 (.652) in the postseason, 6-4 in NCAAs and 9-4 in NITs. 

• Georgia enters the Ohio State matchup ranked No. 20 nationally in bench scoring at 28.6 ppg. The Bulldogs’ bench has outscored the opponents’ reserves in 28 of 35 games en route to compiling a season scoring margin of +367…or +10.5 ppg.

Watch a fullscreen slideshow HERE.

The Opening Tip

The Georgia Bulldogs will trek from Winston-Salem, N.C., to Columbus, Ohio, to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the quarterfinals of the NIT on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. 

Georgia enters the contest at 19-16 after Sunday’s 72-66 victory at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons were 17-1 at home before the Bulldogs handed Wake just its second home loss. 

Georgia’s two NIT victories continued a common storylines for the Bulldogs this season.

Georgia’s win over Xavier in the opening round was not decided until the final horn. All told, 17 of the Bulldogs’ 35 contests were one-possession games in the final 5:00. Georgia is 9-8 in those. Of those, 12 were still within three points in the final 30 seconds of regulation. The Bulldogs are 7-5 in those. 

With the victory at Wake Forest, the Bulldogs improved to 15-1 this season in which they have held their opponents under 70 points…and 28-2 in Mike White’s two seasons in Athens.

Noah Thomasson is the Bulldogs’ leading scorer at 12.9 ppg and also paces Georgia with 25 double-digit and four 20-point performances. With Russel Tchewa missing the Wake Forest game due to an illness, Thomasson is now the only Bulldog to start every game this season.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim is scoring at a double-figure pace for the Bulldogs as well at 12.2 ppg, largely due to sporting team-high shooting percentages of .356 from 3-point range and .887 at the free throw line. However, Abdur-Rahim has missed the last six games with an injury, the first DNPs of his career at Georgia. Prior to that, Abdur-Rahim had played in 93 straight contests. 

A balanced offensive attack features three more Bulldogs contributing between just south of double figures, with RJ Melendez at 9.7 ppg and Silas Demary Jr. and Justin Hill both at 9.6 ppg.

Among UGA’s career leaders…

Jabri Abdur-Rahim is

• 3 3FGs from co No. 13s Ty Wilson and Ray Harrison

• 9 3FGs from No. 12 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

• 2 3FGAs from No. 14 Turtle Jackson

• 9 3FGAs from No. 13 Sundiata Gaines

Among UGA’s season leaders…

Noah Thomasson is

• 1 3FG from No. 9 J.J. Frazier

• 2 3FGs from No. 8 Ezra Williams

• 5 3FGs from No. 7 Bernard Davis

• 6 3FGs from No. 6 G.G .Smith

• 8 3FGAs from No. 5 Kenny Gaines

• 11 3FGAs from No. 4 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

UGA’s NIT History

The Bulldogs are making their 15th appearance in the NIT and now have a 15-14 all-time record in the tournament. 

Georgia earned its first postseason bid of any kind to the 1981 NIT and also participated in 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

The Bulldogs’ best NIT finishes came in 1982 and 1998 when they advanced to the semifinal round. Georgia lost to Purdue, 61-60, in the 1982 semis. The Bulldogs fell to Penn State, 66-60, in the 1998 semis but bounced back to defeat Fresno State, 95-79, in the third-place consolation contest.

Sunday’s win at Wake Forest was Georgia’s first road victory in NIT play since the Bulldogs bested N.C. State, 61-55, on March 17, 1998.

Series History With OSU

Georgia won its only previous meeting with Ohio State, an 84-80 overtime decision on Dec. 28, 1977 in the opening round of the Louisville Classic.

The Bulldogs then went on to top No. 7 Louisville, 73-70, the following night, also in overtime. That victory is one of two top-10 non-conference road wins ever for Georgia.

Mike White Vs. Ohio State

Georgia head coach Mike White is 2-0 against Ohio State, securing a pair of wins during his tenure at Florida.

The Gators defeated the Buckeyes, 74-66, on March 20, 2016 in the second round of the NIT.

Florida topped OSU, 71-68, on Nov. 24, 2021 in the championship game of the Fort Myers Tip-off.

Scouting The Buckeyes

Ohio State upped its record to 22-13 with Saturday’s 81-73 win over Virginia Tech. The Buckeyes compiled a 9-11 record in Big Ten play this season, tying for ninth.

Bruce Thornton leads the Buckeyes on the offensive end, averaging 15.8 ppg. Thornton – whose father, Bruce, and mother, Tiaunna, played football and basketball at Georgia, respectively – also ranks No. 2 nationally in assist-to-turnover at 3.85.

Jamison Battle and Roddy Gayle Jr. also score at a double-digit pace for Ohio State. Battle is averaging 15.1 ppg, while Gayle contributes 13.6 ppg.

BSB: No. 24 Georgia Bulldogs face the Mercer Bears Tuesday at Foley Field with first pitch at 5:02 p.m.

The No. 24 Georgia Bulldogs face the Mercer Bears Tuesday at Foley Field with first pitch at 5:02 p.m. The game will be streamed on SECN+ and be available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.

The Bulldogs (21-4) aim to keep the momentum going after a splendid week where they won four straight games while batting .358 with 18 home runs and outscoring their opponents 43 to 21. On Monday, Georgia made its debut in the Baseball America and the USA TODAY Coaches Sports Top 25 rankings at No. 24.

C+C Hitting Factory: Formed in 1989, C+C Music Factory had hit singles like “Gonna Make You Sweat,” “Here We Go and “Things That Make You Go Hmmm..” Now located in Athens, there’s “C+C Hitting Factory of Charlie Condon and Corey Collins that have pitchers sweating, fans barking and producing mammoth home runs that make everybody go hmmm.

Collins, a 6-3, 236-pound first baseman, is the reigning SEC Player of the Week after batting an SEC best .647-6-13 in helping Georgia go 4-0 last week. He started three games off with a home run.

Condon, a 6-6, 216-pound infielder/outfielder, is a National Player of the Year candidate and the potential number one overall pick of the 2024 MLB Draft. Condon leads the nation in batting (.519), slugging percentage (.664), home runs (17) and on base percentage (.637). This season, he has started all 25 games with 11 at third base, five in left field, four in right field, three in centerfield and two at first base. Condon has a 1.000 fielding percentage in 73 total chances.

Watch a fullscreen slideshow HERE.

About Mercer:  The Bears (14-9) are coached by Craig Gibson. Last year, they went 33-25. Mercer welcomes back 22 players and brough in 24 newcomers (14 transfers and 10 freshmen). Senior outfielder Conner Todaro is the leading hitter at .413-2-10 while redshirt junior designated hitter Jackson Cherry is next at .333-6-16. They are batting .263 as a team with 28 home runs and are 21-for-30 in stolen bases. The team ERA is 4.37 with a .978 fielding percentage.  This past weekend in Southern Conference action, they lost a road series to UNC Greensboro.

Series History: Georgia leads the all-time series over Mercer 90-27-1 dating to 1897. The teams last faced each other in a 2019 NCAA Regional in Athens with the Bulldogs posting a 13-3 win. The last regular season meetings came in 2017 as the Bears won 6-5 in Macon and then 4-3 in 12 innings in Athens.

Tuesday Pitching Matchup: Georgia will start senior righthander Zach DeVito (2-0, 1.29 ERA). It will be his second career start. He has made six appearances this year for a total of seven innings. DeVito began his career as a reliever at Tulane where he made a combined 40 appearances from 2021-22. Last year, he was recovering from an internal brace procedure and was limited to 14 innings with the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have used a staff approach in their midweek games this season. Mercer has not announced a starter. 

On Deck: On Friday, Georgia returns to SEC action when it begins a road series with No. 5 Tennessee (21-4, 3-3 SEC). Game times are 6:30 p.m. (SECN+), 5 p.m. (SECN) and 2 p.m. (SECN). Last weekend, the Bulldogs swept No. 8 Alabama in Athens while the Volunteers won a home series 2-1 over Ole Miss.

Rutherford Street Closure: Please note this season that one hour before game time, Rutherford Street, next to Foley Field, will be closed to vehicle traffic until 30 minutes post-game. 

Today vs. Mercer at 5:02 p.m. ET (SECN+)

Radio: 960TheRef (Jeff Dantzler & David Johnston)


TV: SECN+ (Kaleb Frady & Jason Jacobs)


Live Stats: https://georgiadogs.com/sidearmstats/baseball/summary

Foley Field Tickets/Parking/Promotion Information

*General Admission Seating: $5

*Call 1-877-542-1231 or order online at https://georgiadogs.evenue.net/list/BBS

*Foley Field Gates/Ticket Windows open one hour before game time.

*Free parking is available in the commuter surface lot behind the outfield. 

*Please note this season Rutherford Street, next to Foley Field, will be closed to vehicle traffic one hour prior to baseball games until 30 minutes post-game.

*UGA Student Tickets: Free Admission with UGA ID; Enter Student Gate G on Rutherford Street

*Special Promotions/Giveaway: None

BSB: Corey Collins named SEC Baseball Player of the Week

Collins, a 6-3, 236-pound first baseman, tallied an SEC best 29 total bases, six home runs, 13 RBI, 11 hits and eight runs in helping No. 24 Georgia to a 4-0 week including a sweep of eighth-ranked Alabama. Collins batted .647 (11-for-17) for the week and .583 (7-for-12) against the Crimson Tide. Also, he provided perfect fielding in 27 total chances.

Collins started off three games with a home run, doing it twice in the Alabama series and once against Wofford. In an 18-6 win over the Terriers, he homered in his first three at bats and posted a career-best eight RBI. For the year, Collins is batting .425-10-23 with a 1.175 slugging percentage and .615 on base percentage in 17 games including 11 starts.

Georgia made its debut in a couple of national top 25 polls Monday, checking in at No. 24 in both Baseball America and the USA TODAY Sports Top 25 rankings.

Up next, No. 24 Georgia (21-4, 3-3 SEC) plays host to Mercer (14-9) Tuesday. First pitch at Foley Field will be at 5:02 p.m. and be streamed on SECN+ and available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network. 

Watch a fullscreen slideshow HERE.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.