And so it begins. Georgia men's basketball opens their season this evening with a 7:30 showdown against Mike Young's Wofford Terriers. This will be the second time Mark Fox has gone against the Spartanburg, SC school since arriving in Athens, with the first being a 60-57 defeat in only his second game as a Bulldog back on November 17, 2009.
Unfortunately, the end result tonight may be similar. Having already gone over what to expect from the Red and Black, let's take a look at what the Black and Gold will bring to town.
Mike Young struggled in his 11th season as Wofford's head coach, going 13-19 and bringing his career mark to 169-172. But last year was also a rebuilding year, coming on the heels of a veteran group that made a post season tournament 3 consecutive seasons which included a pair of Southern Conference titles and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. So his squad this season will be expected to show a great deal of improvement, which isn't unreasonable considering they return 8 of their top 9 players from last season, including all 5 starters. That said, they also have just a single senior on the roster (starting C Aerris Smith).
They will be lead by former Walton High School star, junior SG Karl Cochran (who has started 55 of 65 games for Wofford over the last two seasons). The 6'1 shooter averaged over 15 points per game last year, but he also shot just just 36% from the field and made only 30% of his almost 8 attempted 3 pointers per game. Expect a perimeter oriented game from the Terriers, as they have no one over 6'8 and generally keep 3 guards on the floor at all times.
6'6 junior PF Lee Skinner was their leading rebounder last season, at 7.4 per game in addition to 10.3 points. Sophomore SF Spencer Collins, at 6'4, was the only player on the floor for every tip off Wofford had last year, and he averaged 12.4 pts per game in his 32 starts (although like Cochran his shooting percentages left a lot to be desired - 37.6% from the field and under 30% on 3s). Rounding out their starting lineup is 6'4 junior PG Indiana Faithfull. The Australian with an awesome name doesn't score much, as he averaged just 4.3 pts per game last year (only Cochran, Collins, and Skinner put in more than 4.5 pts per game in 2012/2013 for the Terriers), but he led the team in assists and chipped in another 3 rebounds and a steal per game. And did I mentioned he's named INDIANA FAITHFULL!
7:30 tonight in Stegeman Coliseum. Tickets are still available, and a strong crowd could certainly help the Dawgs in a game that will not be easy.