Vol Basketball Opponent Preview: Georgia

Photo Credit: John Monroe / Orange & White Report

After going 11-1 in non-conference play, notching some key victories, including a win over No. 1 Gonzaga, the Vols now turn their attention to SEC action.

Last season, Tennessee was picked to finish 13th in the SEC, and instead won a share of the regular season conference title. They swept Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and defeated Florida in their lone meeting of the season. They also made it to Championship Sunday in the SEC Tournament before losing a close one to UK.

This season, the Vols are the favorite to win the conference, as they should be. They look like the most complete team in the SEC, and arguably in the nation, for that matter.

And it all starts this Saturday in Knoxville at 3:30 p.m. ET with a tilt against Georgia. (The game will air on the SEC Network) The Bulldogs fired head coach Mark Fox after last season, and made a splash hire with Tom Crean. Georgia currently sits at 8-4 and has only one decent win under their belt. That victory came over rival Georgia Tech on the road. One has to believe that it’s a matter of time before Crean has the Bulldogs off and running but as of right now, it looks like he’s in a clear rebuild.

Interestingly enough, however, Tennessee has struggled to beat Georgia on the hardwood in recent years. The Vols are a staggering 3-9 vs UGA, dating back to Bruce Pearl’s last game against the Dogs.

But this Tennessee team is no joke.

Grant Williams is averaging 20.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and Admiral Schofield is averaging 18.2 ppg and 6.0 rpg.

But perhaps the biggest reason for this team’s elevated level of play is because of Jordan Bone, who is averaging 14.3 ppg and 6.5 apg. He has turned into an elite point guard, and that has turned this team into a very dangerous one.

If Georgia still had players like J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten, I might be worried a bit about this one. But they don’t. Sophmore forward Rayshaun Hammonds leads the team in scoring, averaging 15 ppg. Hammonds is followed by forward Nicolas Claxton at 13.3 ppg and pesky guard Tyree Crump, who is adding 11.2 ppg.

UGA won’t simply roll over and die but the game is in Thompson Boling Arena I don’t expect Tennessee to have much trouble, assuming they come out ready and focused.

Vols win big.