Georgia opens play in the 2014 NIT tournament Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum against the No. 7 seeded Vermont Catamounts.
Georgia earned a No. 2 seed in the tournament after wrapping up a 19-13 season with a 70-58 loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament semifinals. After a somewhat lackluster non conference performance, the Bulldogs exceeded all expectations in SEC play. The Bulldogs started 4-1 and closed winning eight of their last 10 to finish at 12-6 and tie the Wildcats for second place behind Florida.
Vermont finished 22-10 and had won 11 straight games before falling to Albany in the semifinals of the America East Tournament. They suffered a 91-90 loss to Duke in overtime at Cameron earlier this season and are a dangerous mid-major club.
Georgia will carry a size advantage into Wednesday night's game. Vermont's Brian Voelkel averages a team-best 8.2 rebounds per game but is listed at just 6-6. Rebounding has been important to the Bulldogs but they would be smart not to underestimate the Catamounts simply due to their size.
Like a lot of good mid-major teams, Vermont is a scrappy bunch. When they match up against schools from the major conferences they are unable to match athletes across the board. They make up for that however by playing hard and with sharp execution. In many ways its a similar formula to what made Georgia successful during the conference season.
Georgia has gone to great lengths to ensure that there will be a strong home crowd for Wednesday's game. A quick start by the Bulldogs would be positive because the longer a team like Vermont hangs around, the more dangerous they can become.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 19, 8 p.m.
Location: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Georgia
Radio: Bulldogs Radio Network