Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
A year after making the NCAA Tournament, the Georgia Bulldogs took a step back in Mark Fox’s third season in Athens. The outlook isn’t much better this season for the Dawgs who lack any real firepower on the offensive end.
Last Season: T-10th, 5-11 in SEC, 15-17 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 10th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Donte Williams (Jr)/John Florveus (So)/Tim Dixon (So)/John Cannon (So)
F: Nemanja Djurisic (So)/Marcus Thornton (Jr)/Houston Kessler (Fr)
G/F: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (So)/Brandon Morris (Fr)
SG: Sherrard Brantley (Sr)/Kenny Gaines (Fr)
PG: Vincent Williams (Sr)/Charles Mann (Fr)
Gone: PG-Gerald Robinson, SG-Dustin Ware, F-Connor Notle
The Dawgs finished 307th in the nation in scoring last season and they lose their starting backcourt of Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware who finished first and third in points per game respectively. That leaves former McDonald’s All-American Kentavious Pope-Caldwell as the only returning player to average more than eight points per night.
He will likely be joined on the wing by seniors Sherrard Brantley and Vincent Williams who were reserves a year ago and combined to average just 4.6 points per game. Williams will run the point while Brantley is an undersized two guard. Both will be pushed by and could ultimately lose their starting spots to freshmen Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann if Fox chooses to go with a smaller, more athletic starting line-up. In fact, if I were a betting man, I’d put money it that Mann and Gaines are starting alongside KPC before the season ends. Also, expect athletic freshman wing Brandon Morris to see quality minutes off the bench due to his defensive ability and knack for crashing the glass.
Up-front, there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about. Donte Williams is the best of the bunch and made a major jump during his sophomore year after pretty much being a non-factor as a freshman. Nemanja Djurisic brings diversity to the frontcourt as a face-up four but isn’t going to terrify any opposing team.
Marcus Thornton is perhaps the most talented player in the frontcourt but has been nothing but disappointing since arriving in Athens. John Florveous, John Cannon, and Tim Dixon provide size and depth inside but very little skill level. Freshman Houston Kessler could work his way into the rotation since he brings more skill to the offensive end.
Like last season, Georgia just doesn’t have the offensive weapons to be a real factor in the SEC. They will have to try to grind out wins which will be hard to come by especially with the conference adding Missouri and Texas A&M, and since their non-conference slate features several quality opponents.
Player to Watch: Kantavious Caldwell-Pope
KCP (he’s like my new MKG or DJO with the hyphenated name) arrived on campus with a ton of hype since he was the first McDonald’s All-American to pick UGA in almost twenty years. At times, his ability was clear but he also forced things too much since the Dawgs needed him to score the rock. He struggled shooting it from the outside and relied on his dribble-drive game. KCP must become a more consistent outside threat this year, and if he displays his stroke, could be league bound after this year.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. Southern Miss
11/19 vs. Indiana (Legends Classic in Brooklyn
11/20 vs. UCLA/Georgetown (Legends Classic in Brooklyn)
11/30 at South Florida (Big East/Challenge)
12/4 at Georgia Tech
12/15 vs. Iona
12/22 vs. USC
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)