Georgia Bulldogs Basketball Season Starts Friday!


The 2015-16 Georgia Bulldogs Men’s Basketball Season begins Friday Night when the Dawgs take on Chattanooga. Can UGA get back into the NCAA Tourney in 2016?

The Georgia Bulldogs enter the 2015-16 NCAA Season with some decent expectations. HC Mark Fox is in his 7th year with building the program in Athens and Georgia has a great opportunity to make some noise in a highly competitive SEC this winter.

Fox’s Dawgs made the 2015 NCAA Tournament last season as a 10-seed, falling to grossly under-seeded Michigan State in their opening game. Michigan State ended up making it to another Final Four under HC Tom Izzo. UGA also won over 20 games for the second consecutive season under Fox.

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UGA returns a terrific trio of back court players in Seniors Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines, as well as Junior J.J. Frazier. Fox will more than likely go with all three guards as starters in the onset, though he could opt to bring Frazier off the bench as a sixth man.

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What Georgia needs help is with depth down low. The program lost Nemanja Djurisic and Marcus Thornton to graduation and Cameron Forte to a transfer after the 2014-15 NCAA Season. Players like Sophomores Yante Maten and Osahen Iduwe need to step up and play some big minutes in the front court.

Out on the wing, injuries hurt the club last year. Hopefully Juniors Kenny Paul Geno and Juwan Parker can have a healthier 2015-16 campaign. Fox could likely go with either as a starter forward in 2015-16.

From the looks of it, the Georgia Bulldogs are very much a Top 6 team in the SEC entering the season. ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the UGA program as one of his First Four Out on his most recent rankings system. Many believe that UGA will finish either fifth or sixth in the SEC this season. Could that be enough to get the Dawgs back into the Tournament?

At first glance, it seems like Kentucky, LSU, and Vanderbilt are the three best teams in the SEC entering 2015-16. Georgia is in that next tier with Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Florida, and South Carolina. Florid and South Carolina are now home-and-away rivals in the SEC for the Georgia Bulldogs this season, as well as Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers.

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The SEC is a growing conference in the eyes of the Tournament Selection Committee. Five teams got into the Big Dance a year, as opposed to three the year before. After nearly going the distance against Kentucky at home last year, the Georgia program that Mark Fox is building is certainly on the national radar. UGA received an invitation to play a part in the Big 12/SEC Challenge after missing out on the first two.

Georgia seems to have a strong schedule in the non-conference (Murray State, Seton Hall, Kansas State, Clemson, and Baylor), that if the team should navigate it decently and play in the SEC, then UGA could get back into the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. Twenty wins or more should stand as an attainable goal for the program in 2015-16.

What could prove as a roadblock for this team is that they have an inexperienced front court. That could prove problematic, as UGA likes to play aggressively on the glass under Mark Fox. Expect growing pains down low, but someone should rise to the occasion in the UGA front court in 2015-16.

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If the back court is as good as we think it is, then the Dawgs might have enough pieces to make another Tournament run. That’s the goal of this team: to get back into the NCAA Tournament. Anything else is going to look like a failure for the program, even if they do end up eclipsing the 20-win threshold. Big Dance or Bust in 2016!

The Georgia Bulldogs will host the Chattanooga Mocs on Friday night at 7 PM ET in the Stegeman Coliseum. SECN+ will have the telecast. Let’s Go Dawgs!