2008-09 Basketball Game Preview: Georgia

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The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team is back on the road again tonight.
This time they’ll travel to Athens to take on Georgia in a key out-of-conference
matchup. The Bulldogs are struggling this year, but a road win for the Hokies
could be big for the RPI.

Georgia isn’t a particularly good team, though they have shown the ability to
play well in spurts. After posting a 4-12 SEC record during the regular season
last year, they went on to win the SEC Tournament and punch their ticket to the
Big Dance, where they were promptly knocked out in the first round.

So far this year, Georgia is 5-3. They have victories over South
Carolina-Upstate, Eastern Michigan, Presbyterian, Santa Clara and Mississippi
Valley State. Three of those wins were by single digits, and the Bulldogs have
scored over 70 points just twice this year. They losses came to Loyola (IL) by
21, Western Kentucky by four and Illinois by 34.

Here is a look at Georgia’s starting lineup.


Georgia Starting Lineup

Pos

Player

Ht

Wt

Year

PPG

RPG

Assists

G

Zac Swansey

6-1
175
So.
7.1 3.1 26

G

Corey Butler

6-3
195
Sr.
6.3 3.9 14

F

Terrance Woodbury

6-7
220
Jr.
13.1 4 4

F

Trey Thompkins

6-9
247
Fr.
11.8 5.5 2

C

Albert Jackson

6-10
265
Jr.
3.7 3.7 1

Georgia is particularly poor offensively. The Bulldogs are shooting just 41.5%
from the field and 31.3% from three-point range. They average just 62.2 points
per game against a schedule that has been fairly soft.

Their top player is junior small forward Terrance Woodbury. Woodbury is a
native of Virginia Beach, where he attended Coastal Christian Academy. He does
most of his work from the inside, as he’s just a 25.7% three-point shooter.
However, he has shown the ability to get hot from the outside in the past. He
averaged 15.8 points per game in the SEC Tournament last year, many of which
came from the outside.

Joining Woodbury at the other forward spot of freshman Howard
“Trey” Thompkins. Thompkins is a former Top 50 national recruit who
played at Oak Hill Academy, where he led the team in scoring. He is the one of
just two Georgia players who are averaging in double figures this year.

The two primary ball-handlers for Georgia are Zac Swansey and Dustin Ware
(5-11, 182, Fr.). Swansey leads the team with 24 assists on the season, while
Ware has added 21. Both play more than 20 minutes per game, so they will be used
in the same backcourt at times.

Overall, when you look at this Georgia basketball team, there just isn’t a
lot of firepower. They don’t have any major scorers in their backcourt. The
other starting guard, Corey Butler, averages just 6.3 points per game. He and
Swansey can knock down the open three-pointer, but they aren’t going to scare
anyone with their overall offensive arsenals.

Virginia Tech hasn’t been getting on the floor and forcing as many turnovers
this year. Tonight might be their best shot to reverse that trend. Georgia isn’t
a particularly good passing team, with just 88 assists through eight games. They
have also turned the ball over 128 times. As a comparison, Tech has 121 assists
and 108 turnovers through eight games.

Finally, Georgia is a bad free throw shooting team, hitting just 62.2% of
their shots from the charity stripe this year. Meanwhile, the Hokies are 76.2%
from the free throw line. That ranks 23rd nationally. That’s not a misprint.
While they aren’t doing some things as well as they generally do, Tech is one of
the top free throw shooting teams in the nation through eight games.

It’s tough to see Georgia winning this basketball game unless the Hokies
don’t play to their potential.

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