SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — Here is a closer look at today’s matchup between the Ole Miss Rebels and No. 24 Georgia Bulldogs at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.The Rebels are facing a tough task today as they host the No. 24 Bulldogs. Not only are they coming off a disappointing home loss to Mississippi State on Thursday, but the Rebels (12-5 overall) are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start in SEC play since the 2004 season.
Georgia (12-3, 1-1) is coming off a 73-66 loss to Vanderbilt on Wednesday. The Bulldogs had won nine straight games prior to that setback in Nashville. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said the Bulldogs are a much improved team under second-year coach Mark Fox.
“I think Mark has done a tremendous job. He’s got two very good players that were preseason all-league guys in Trey Thompkins along with Travis Leslie, who is as athletic a player as there is in America,” Kennedy said. “Then they picked up a huge transfer in (Gerald) Robinson from Tennessee State, who had to sit out last year. I think he’s really helped solidify their backcourt. They have size, they have athleticism and Mark does a tremendous job.
“I’ve know Mark for a long time and in coaching circles, he is very well respected. He was with Trent Johnson at Nevada and when Trent left to go to Stanford is when he got the job and he did a tremendous job in that program,” Kennedy added. “A lot of people thought it was strange when he got hired at Georgia because he’s a West Coast guy as it relates to coaching, but he was actually born and raised in the Midwest. I knew that he would come (to Georgia) and do a good job. I always thought Georgia was a sleeping giant and I think he is going to awaken it.”
Georgia averages 69.5 points per game, while allowing 63.7 points to opponents. The 6-foot-10 Thompkins leads UGA with a 17.7 points per game average, while the 6-4 Leslie averages 14.4 points and leads the team in rebounds per game (8.0).
Georgia leads the all-time series between the two schools 65-39, while Kennedy has won four of the five games he has coached against Georgia, including the two prior games played in Oxford. Today’s game can be seen live on FoxSportsNet with David Neal and Larry Conley handling the duties during the broadcast. (January 15, 2011)