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Georgia Bulldogs at Mississippi Rebels: The Haphazard Ill-Informed Roundball Preview

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I am kind of glad that we go on the road again right away, against a lesser team (Mississippi), in a more conventional arena. We need the opportunity to get right back after this SEC road business and put it to rest.

rbubp (January 13, 2011)

The Georgia Bulldogs were thrown from the horse on Wednesday night, prompting an obviously frustrated Mark Fox to remark afterward: "We hadn't lost since the day after Thanksgiving. It feels the same as it did then - awful." Now, as rbubp notes, the Red and Black will have the opportunity to climb right back into the saddle as they endeavor yet again to claim their first SEC road win under Coach Fox. In fact, having held practice at Lipscomb University, the team will head directly to the Magnolia State by bus, bypassing icy Athens altogether.

After surrendering 18 points to Festus Ezeli, Georgia will arrive in Oxford limping like Chester Goode. Similarly, the Mississippi Rebels come into Saturday’s contest at the Tad Pad following a weekend loss to the Florida Gators that drove Ole Miss fans to drink and a Thursday night tilt with the Mississippi St. Bulldogs that ended in heartbreak.

Georgia’s and Mississippi’s non-conference schedules included three common opponents, as both the Bulldogs and the Rebels squared off with the Arkansas St. Red Wolves, Mississippi Valley St. Delta Devils, and Saint Louis Billikens. The Classic City Canines bested that trio by margins of nine, two, and two points, respectively; the Magnolia State Black Bears, by contrast, won their meetings with those foes by eight, 32, and eight points, in that order.

Through their first 16 games, the Rebels were shooting free throws at a conference-best 74.6 per cent clip, and Ole Miss likewise led the league in field goals inside the arc (47.5%). Fortunately, tomorrow’s host squad is less adept at takeaways, as Mississippi finished the first 16 games on its slate with an SEC-worst 5.0 steals per contest.

The Rebs are led by senior point guard Chris Warren, whose performance in the first 16 outings of the campaign saw him ranked third in the conference in points per game (18.6) and assists per game (4.3), as well as first in the league in free throw shooting percentage (94.4%). Against Mississippi State on Thursday, Warren had a career night from beyond the arc.

Ole Miss is coached by Andy Kennedy, who currently is 42 years old. Georgia is coached by the aforementioned Mark Fox, who turned 42 yesterday. I turned 42 last November. Elvis Presley, whose home I recently visited, died at the age of 42. Coincidence? Almost certainly!

(By the way, this may just be the political science major in me, but I find it odd that the Rebels have a coach named Kennedy and a star player named Warren. If Coach Kennedy is fired under mysterious circumstances, will Chris Warren head a commission to investigate the firing and produce a widely panned report that leaves SEC conspiracy theorists dissatisfied with the explanation that the Mississippi athletic director acted alone? Just imagine how much fun this guy would have poring over grainy photographs of the Grove looking for a second firer on a grassy knoll!)

Excluding victories vacated due to NCAA sanctions---curse you, Jim Harrick!---Georgia leads the all-time roundball series with Ole Miss with a 63-39 record, and Coach Fox’s club played well in defeat against the Rebels last year. Tip-off is at 5:00 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports Net.

Go ‘Dawgs!