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January 1, 2010

Preview: Georgia at Missouri

WHERE: Mizzou Arena

WHEN: Saturday

TIME: 4 p.m.

RECORDS: Georgia 7-4, Missouri 10-3

TV: ESPN 360, ESPN Full Court, Fox Midwest

RADIO: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network

NEXT UP: Georgia Tech, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

The Game

• Georgia tips off the 2010 portion of its schedule with its third true road game of the season, an afternoon contest at Missouri.

• The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 7-4 overall record, having posted their third consecu¬tive win three nights ago in a 64-47 decision at home over Pepperdine. After taking command midway through the first half, Georgia was never seriously threatened by the Waves. Its lead reached as large as 23 points in the final period. Today Georgia shoots for the first 4-game win streak since November of 2008.

• Saturday's game is just the third all-time meeting between these two programs. Missouri has won both of the previous meetings, including the first installment of the current home-and-home series, an 83-76 outcome last season in Athens 364 days ago. Their first-ever encounter occurred in the 2001 NCAA Tournament first round, a game won by the Tigers 70-68 on a last-second shot.

• The game marks the beginning of a measurable increase in the difficulty of the Georgia schedule. Its next six games include opponents that are either in the AP Top 25 or are receiving votes, and also a team (Missouri) that reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals last season. Additionally, no team left on the Bulldog schedule currently has a sub-.500 record as of Jan. 1.

This and that

Georgia has only a limited history with cur¬rent members of the Big 12 Conference. In fact, it has played home-and-home series with just four schools: Missouri, Colorado, Kansas and Colorado. A native Kansan, Bulldog head coach Mark Fox mistakenly referenced "Big Eight Country" in his post-game news confer¬ence last Wednesday night.

Georgia has led the SEC in free-throw percentage for the past two weeks, a stark im¬provement from last season, when the '09 team ranked 11th among the 12 SEC teams at sea¬son's end. Georgia has never won the SEC's free throw-percentage title in the 50 years for which those numbers have been tallied.

A couple of other stats that merit a mention: last year's Georgia team averaged nearly 19 3-point shot attempts per game, compared to only 11.8 thus far for the current Bulldogs. The 2010 Georgia team, however, averages over 22 foul shots per contest, compared to just over 17 per game last season. Not only are these Bull¬dogs more frequent foul shooters, but they're also more accurate: 70 percent compared to 64 percent a year ago.

About the Tigers

• Missouri looks to remain undefeated at home on Saturday as it faces an improved Georgia squad ... Fox is familiar with Missouri after spending time as an assistant coach at Kansas State (1994-2000).

• Missouri faces yet another SEC foe on Saturday ... The Tigers dropped a tough decision at Vanderbilt (89-83) earlier this year and narrowly missed facing SEC West favorite Mississippi State in South Padre Island in late November ... The Tigers are 3-3 vs. SEC teams under Mike Anderson, which includes wins over Mississippi State and Arkansas at home and last year's road win in Athens vs. the Bulldogs.

• One year ago J.T. Tiller had a chance to return to his home state to face the Georgia Bulldogs and now the Marietta native gets to welcome his state school into his own arena ... Did you know that last year's trip to Athens was Tiller's first? The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year wasn't even invited on a recruiting trip to UGA.

• Missouri is on a season high five-game winning streak dating back to a 60-59 last-second loss at Oral Roberts on Dec. 9 ... During Missouri's current surge the Tigers are outscoring opponents by 26.2 points per game, own five double-figure wins and are shooting 48 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three-point range ... In fact Missouri's top four scorers during this surge are all underclassmen, Kim English (19.2), Michael Dixon (11.6), Laurence Bowers (10.8) and Marcus Denmon (10.6).

• Missouri has been downright inhospitable at home this year ... Missouri is 8-0 with a +33.6 ppg scoring margin inside Mizzou Arena ... The Tigers are also shooting 52 percent from the floor, 43 percent from three-point range and are turning teams over 22.6 times a game.

• Mizzou has been very good in non-conference games under Anderson ... The Tigers are 44-12 (.786) since his arrival before the 2006-07 season.

• If you dig a little deeper, Missouri has enjoyed double-figure margins of victory in 34-of-38 non-conference home games under Anderson (38-0).



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