Georgia will face Baylor in the Big 12-SEC Challenge for a late January road test.
Georgia will be visiting Baylor on January 30, 2016 and nine other SEC programs will face off against Big 12 programs in this special made for ESPN Saturday. Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears always pose a challenge to their opponents with their special brand of zone defense (1-1-3 Zone). However, Georgia had success with teams that ran a lot of zone last season. Tennessee, Mississippi State and Ole Miss ran plenty of zone against Georgia and failed.
Expect the Neon Colors
This is going to be a much hyped game by ESPN and since it is special home game for Baylor, the atmosphere will likely be similar to the Blackout for the UK game at Stegeman. The difference being that since this is Baylor, they will possibly do a bright neon green or yellow out at the Ferrell Center. It’s a raucous environment filled with colors that will remind Georgia fans of what it is like to play against Tennessee, except without hearing Rocky Top on a loop. The color scheme of the fans may be a bit distorting, so if the staff knows about a neon out they should probably prepare for it as far as the shooting eye is concerned.
Other Big 12-SEC Challenge Matchups
- Iowa State at Texas A&M
- Kentucky at Kansas
- Ole Miss at Kansas State
- Oklahoma at LSU
- Oklahoma State at Auburn
- Tennessee at TCU
- Vanderbilt at Texas
- Texas Tech at Arkansas
- West Virginia at Florida
Looking at these matchups, there are a lot of blown opportunities. A Vanderbilt-Baylor matchup would have been a more intriguing game than Georgia-Baylor. Texas facing Vanderbilt is a real cop out, everyone knows Texas and Texas A&M will not face each other, but what about Texas vs. Tennessee or Texas vs. Arkansas? Given that Missouri is still in a complete rebuilding mode, the SEC is protecting them from playing in this tournament. In the future, a Missouri-Iowa State game is absolutely necessary to revive that old rivalry.
The most intriguing matchup is West Virginia at Florida, the pace of that game is going to be entertaining. It will be non-stop pressing as Huggins faces off against Michael White.
The worst matchup is Texas Tech visiting Arkansas. Arkansas lost talent, but putting a Texas Tech team that is still shuffling talent around and sending them to Bud Walton Arena in late January is cruel and unusual punishment.
More on Georgia visiting Baylor…
This will be Georgia’s first year in the Big 12-SEC Challenge and it marks the first time the two programs have ever played each other in Men’s Basketball! Both Georgia and Baylor made the NCAA Tournament last year and both were bounced out of the tournament in the Round of 64.
Baylor will sport a lineup that features 12 scholarship players next season, Miami transfer guard Manu Lecomte will sit out next season. Baylor’s strength next season is in their frontcourt and their backcourt thins out a bit more for the 2015-16 Season. Baylor’s bench was rather short last season playing only nine players with any sort of consistency and seven of the nine playing double digit minutes.
Baylor loses star Point Guard Kenny Chery because he graduated. Al Freeman and Lester Medford serve as the only experienced guards on this Baylor squad, the other three backcourt players are all very talented freshmen (King McClure, Wendell Mitchell, Jake Lindsey).
- Lester Medford averaged 7.6 points per game on 30 minutes and shot 38.5% from beyond the 3 point arc. He has a positive Assist to Turnover Ratio at 3.1/1.7. Medford is the only senior in the backcourt.
- Al Freeman averaged 4.8 points per game on 17 minutes and shot 32% from beyond the 3 point arc. Freeman will be a sophomore next season.
Georgia will have the advantage as far as the backcourt experience and their abilities are known.
Baylor lost Royce O’Neale, a sharpshooter from Killeen, Texas to graduation. Baylor has Taurean Prince back, the 6’7″ 215 pound Small Forward from San Antonio, Texas. They also have the powerful Rico Gathers in the low post and Johnathan Motley who is coming off a strong freshman season.
- Taurean Prince: He’s their leading scorer from last season averaging nearly 14 points per game and he also pulled down nearly 6 boards a game. He is their best defender averaging 1.5 steals per game and best shooter averaging 39.5% from long range.
- Rico Gathers: 6’8″ 280 pound powerhouse down low. He averaged 11.6 points per game and 11.6 rebounds per game last season. He also found a way to get 1.2 steals a game last season. He’s a potential All Big 12 First Team guy.
- Johnathan Motley: 6’9″ 230 pound shot blocking Power Forward. He averaged 1.4 blocks per game and had 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds as a freshman. Combined with Gathers, they should make for a tough matchup. Even though Baylor almost exclusively zones all game, he averages nearly 3 fouls per game.
Baylor should pose a major challenge for UGA in terms of scheme, road environment and the talent that they possess. It would be a major resume win should the Dawgs find a way to turn the lights out on the neon district of Waco. Remember, Georgia will face Baylor in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge on January 30, 2016 on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.