The Mike White Era is Off to a Solid Start in Athens. Georgia Looking to Continue SEC Winning-Streak Against UK
As football continues to dominate the athletic landscape in Athens, Georgia, a new era in basketball has begun for the Georgia Bulldogs.
After a mediocre four years that saw just one winning-record season, UGA let go of Tom Crean and opted to bring in former Florida skipper Mike White – who was also fired after the 2021-22 season.
White was in charge of the Gators for seven seasons, winning at least all 15 games each season and making four NCAA tournaments in the process. UF was only able to get out of the first weekend once, making the Elite Eight in the 2017 tournament. His Georgia pick came as a surprise.
Bettering on last season’s 6-26 (1-17 SEC) record hasn’t been much of a challenge for this edition of the Bulldogs, but White and his team have gotten off to a great start and will move into the Rupp Arena on Tuesday night with a 13 -4 record that includes three conference wins.
The Dawgs are currently #93 in the NET rankings and #83 in KenPom. Opponent quality hasn’t been great for UGA, but they’ve taken care of business – for the most part. In games against Quad 3 and 4 teams, Georgia is 10-1, with the only slip being a 79-77 on-road loss at Georgia Tech on Dec. 6.
The record against opponents from Quad 1 and 2? Just 3-3, although it’s highlighted by a 12-point triumph over the current no. 16 Auburn in Athens opens SEC action. Since then, UGA has fallen seven points behind Florida in Gainesville, held Mississippi State to 50 points in a comeback win, and then even clinched its first road win of the season by beating Ole Miss 62-58 at Oxford.
It’s nothing overly impressive, but the Dawgs have made a far bigger impact than any other team in the post-Mark Fox era to date.
At the helm of White’s club is point guard Terry Roberts. Roberts, a transfer from Bradley, is averaging 15.6 points per game on 38.9 percent shooting. His score is fifth in the SEC, and his numbers have inflated over the conference competition so far, rising to 20.3 PPG. He’s also third in the SEC with 4.2 assists per game, though the Bulldogs are second-bottom in the conference averaging just 12 APG.
Behind Roberts is a familiar face in Kario Oquendo. The 6-foot-4 junior guards recorded a team-high 22 points in UGA’s 92-77 loss in Lexington last season — the only meeting the teams had in 2021-22. Oquendo adds 13.1 PPG, 3.4 rebounds per game and shoots 3-pointers at a 36 percent clip, a top 20 mark in the conference. In Georgia’s win over Ole Miss, Oquendo finished the game with a 12-4 solo run.
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White’s team makes a living on defense, allowing just 63.9 PPG, the 47th-best mark in the nation and third-best in the SEC. UGA performs well on the glass, amassing 39.1 RPG, just 0.8 behind UK. It’s a spread attack as eight Dawgs average across three boards, led by forward Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe’s 5.5.
Georgia is still a long way from being considered an NCAA tournament team, but it’s currently on a much faster trajectory than anyone expected when White took over into the 2022-23 season. Kentucky has had its number over the years, winning 130 of 157 total matchups, including 15 of the last 16 games.
The last time the Bulldogs won at the Rupp Arena was in 2009. The game is the first of two between the teams this season as the Wildcats return the trip and will play at the Stegman Coliseum on February 11th.
British coach John Calipari’s record against UGA is 20-3, while White has an all-time record of 4-10 against the Wildcats. Tipoff between Kentucky and Georgia on Tuesday is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST and will air on ESPN.
More on how a players-only meetup changed Kentucky’s momentum HERE.
John Calipari found justification in Kentucky’s victory over the Volunteers. More here.
Winning game notes can be found HERE.
Hear HERE what Antonio Reeves and Jacob Toppin had to say about the win.
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