For those who want to catch live hoops in Athens, the Lady Dawgs take on South Carolina State tonight in their season opener.
But the men will be helping debut a newly renovated Littlejohn Arena for Clemson after they spent last season playing in Greenville. Last year, the Dawgs dominated the Tigers in Athens for a 71-48 victory. Tonight's game will tip off shortly after 7, and will be on Fox Sports South with Bob Rathbun and the greatest-in-game-dunker-of-all-time plus former Dawg Dominique Wilkins giving the play by play and commentary. We've told you about what to expect from the Dawgs this year, so let's tell you a little about the opposing Tigers tonight.
The marquee matchup will be ready to roll PF Yante Maten and his opposing number for Clemson, Jarron Blossongame. A product of Chattahoochee High School in Alpharetta, Blossongame passed on entering the NBA draft last spring, and brings back an 18 point and near 7 rebounds a night forward for Brad Brownell's squad.
Brownell's teams have tended to play at a slower pace, and be more methodical in their approach. This will likely be even more so tonight with an injury to expected starting PG Shelton Mitchell earlier this week and a suspension for backup Ty Hudson. But that just means senior Avry Holmes slides back to the PG spot he started at last season for the Tigers after he transferred in from the University of San Francisco, instead of becoming more of a scorer with his solid perimeter shot. Holmes joined Blossongame in averaging over 10 points per season last year with Clemson, as did junior SF Donte Grantham. Grantham made more 3s than any other Tiger last season, so he'll be a tough defensive matchup for whoever is up against him in Kenny Paul Geno, Toe Wilridge, and Pape Diatta.
6'10 big man Sidy Djitte should prove a physical contest for Derek Ogbeide inside. Mostly a rebounder and defender, don't look for a lot of offensive moves or outside shots from Djitte as he moves from a bench role to the starting lineup as a senior. 7'er Legend Robertin, out of London, England by way of Chipola Junior College returns for another year as a backup big man, and freshman wing Scott Spencer likely joins him off the bench.
With Mitchell injured at PG though, there is question in who takes over as SG now that Holmes is running the show. Junior Gabe Devoe returns after giving around 20 minutes a night off the Tiger bench last season in the backcourt, while Marcquise Reed is eligible to play after redshirting last year. Devoe brings a better defender, and one more familiar with Brownell's system, but Reed averaged over 15 points per game as a freshman at Robert Morris before coming to Clemson, and Georgia would be wise to be aware of him whenever he steps on the floor.
This is a winnable, but difficult game for Mark Fox as he looks for his 250th W in charge of the Dawgs. They are an NCAA caliber opponent, and should be full of energy on opening night in their arena's re-debut. But Georgia has superior depth, both inside and now in the backcourt as well with the Tigers' injury and suspension, and the two teams seem to match up against each other very well. For a team with NCAA Tournament hopes, getting the season started off on the good foot with a road win against an ACC team is a good way to make those hopes a reality.
We'll have an open thread later this evening for the game. But the relevant media info is below.
GAME & BROADCAST INFO