Because nothing says, “Let’s promote SEC Basketball!” like sticking the conference opener during Christmas Week and in the heart of Bowl Season.
The SEC finally put out the SEC Basketball schedule and it appears that Mike Tranghese’s fingerprint is truly on it (eye rolls please). The SEC had the wise idea to schedule the opening of conference play during Christmas Week and Bowl Week. In fact, there are five conference games on December 29th. This is the week in the SEC when alumni and students are not in their College Towns and are either on vacation or at the site of a Bowl Game. What’s more important to discuss? UGA’s full schedule for the 2016-17 Season.
|Date||Opposition||Location||Time / Result|
|11/3/2016||vs. Fort Valley State||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|11/11/2016||at Clemson||Clemson, S.C.||TBA|
|11/14/2016||vs. UNC-Asheville||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|11/17/2016||vs. Furman||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|11/21/2016||vs. George-Washington||George Washington||7:00 p.m. ET|
|11/22/2016||vs. Kansas/UAB||Kansas City, Mo.||TBA|
|11/25/2016||vs. Gardner-Webb||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|11/30/2016||vs. Morehouse||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|12/4/2016||vs. Marquette||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|12/14/2016||vs. UL-Lafayette||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|12/17/2016||vs. Charleston-Southern||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|12/20/2016||at Georgia Tech||Atlanta, Ga.||TBA|
|12/23/2016||at Oakland||Rochester, Mich.||TBA|
|12/29/2016||at Auburn||Auburn, Ala.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|1/4/2017||vs. South Carolina||Athens, Ga.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|1/7/2017||vs. Missouri||Athens, Ga.||1:00 p.m. ET|
|1/11/2017||at Ole Miss||Oxford, Miss.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|1/14/2017||at Florida||Gainesville, Fla.||12:00 p.m. ET|
|1/17/2017||vs. Vanderbilt||Athens, Ga.||9:00 p.m. ET|
|1/21/2017||at Texas A&M||College Station, Texas||12:00 p.m. ET|
|1/25/2017||vs. Alabama||Athens, Ga.||9:00 p.m. ET|
|1/28/2017||vs. Texas||Athens, Ga.||4:00 p.m. ET|
|1/31/2017||at Kentucky||Lexington, Ky.||9:00 p.m. ET|
|2/4/2017||at South Carolina||Columbia, S.C.||2:00 p.m. ET|
|2/7/2017||vs. Florida||Athens, Ga.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|2/11/2017||at Tennessee||Knoxville, Tenn.||4:00 p.m. ET|
|2/14/2017||vs. Mississippi State||Athens, Ga.||9:00 p.m. ET|
|2/18/2017||vs. Kentucky||Athens, Ga.||TBA|
|2/23/2017||at Alabama||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||7:00 p.m. ET|
|2/25/2017||vs. LSU||Athens, Ga.||6:00 p.m. ET|
|3/1/2017||vs. Auburn||Athens, Ga.||6:30 p.m. ET|
|3/4/2017||at Arkansas||Fayetteville, Ark.||4:00 p.m. ET
What stands out on the Conference Schedule:
- Georgia visits Auburn when the students are on break and the Auburn partisans are away. This gives Georgia a huge advantage in a road game that would otherwise be difficult.
- Georgia hosts South Carolina on the day before Spring Semester classes start. The students should be able to show up for this night game and it is remotely possible that this could be the most attended South Carolina Basketball game in Athens of the Mark Fox era.
- Back-to-back tests against Ole Miss and Florida on the road. If UGA splits these two games, it is a positive.
- An 11:00 AM start in College Station for Texas A&M may actually work out in UGA’s favor. A possibly docile crowd in Reed Arena.
- An interesting five game set in late January through early February. Three of the games are at home and one of the games is a house money game in Lexington, Kentucky. Winning the home games and taking down South Carolina are imperative.
- Kentucky returns to Athens, which means that season ticket sales will go up as UK partisans will buy up the UGA season slate just to attend this one game. The easiest way to keep the Big Blue Mist out is to just expand student section allotment after Basketball Enhancement Fund (BEF) season ticket buyers purchased their tickets. There are likely some contributors to the BEF that will be sporting Royal Blue in Athens.
- After a trip to Tuscaloosa, UGA has to come back to Athens for a Saturday Night Game against LSU. LSU finally returns to Athens much like Mississippi State.
- Closing the season at Bud Walton Arena is a scary proposition. Mike Anderson is on the hot seat at Arkansas and whether this Arkansas team has given up on their hopes or is rejuvenated is unknown. Watch Dusty Hannahs early this season and watch how he moves without the ball to set himself up for a three point jump shot. If Hannahs has more explosiveness in his step, he becomes even tougher for UGA and other opponents to guard.
- There are opportunities to breathe. Last season’s schedule was brutal, this schedule is not a murderer’s row like last season.
What stands out on the Non-Conference Schedule
- Georgia at Clemson: This game is HUGE. Two coaches that are in a “prove it” year with NBA prospects and NCAA Tournament expectations. Clemson wants revenge for getting KO’d in Athens and this is a game set up to be an old-fashioned slug fest. Clemson is also debuting the newly renovated Littlejohn Coliseum. UGA Alumni and Students should skip out on some festivities in Athens during the Auburn weekend to attend this game in Clemson. If UGA wins, it could be a popular topic of conversation among students and alumni. This game is a table setter and an indicator of where each program stands.
- The CBE Classic could be anticlimactic. If UGA wins against Atlantic-10 power George Washington and UAB knocks off Kansas, it would be a missed opportunity. Sure, UAB provides Georgia with an opportunity to sweep through and win the CBE Classic, but the tournament resume will not be as impressive from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Kansas is extremely tough at the Sprint Center, 31-6 record for the Jayhawks. It is still easier to win at the Sprint Center than it is to emerge victorious over the Jayhawks at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Mark Fox happens to be one of the nine coaches that have defeated Bill Self’s Jayhawks in Lawrence. Bill Self has only lost nine times at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in his thirteen year tenure at Kansas.
- Morehouse will not count in UGA’s official record. UGA had some difficulties scheduling games and scheduled D-II Morehouse College. Georgia’s staff actually took a page out of the South Carolina playbook here as South Carolina would typically schedule a Division II, Division III or NAIA opponent that is in-state. Morehouse may be a part of UGA’s regular season schedule, but it will be treated by the tournament committee and scheduling formulas as an exhibition game. It will be added to the overall win count, but there will be two overall records and that should be confusing.
- Marquette will be an interesting matchup. UGA really tried hard to land Haanif Cheatham, but he ended up choosing Marquette. How will Marquette perform without Henry Ellenson and can Mike Wojciechowski avoid the former Coach K assistant curse? Katin Reinhardt, formerly of USC, joins the squad as a graduate transfer and should be able to make MAJOR impact on this team. Georgia’s perimeter defense will be tested.
- Winning at Georgia Tech is important. Students are not in session on the date of this game. Josh Pastner has a bit of a patchwork team in Atlanta and expectations are rather low this season. Pastner’s teams have been disappointing against the SEC, will this continue?
- Michiganders return home for Christmas. Mike Edwards and Yante Maten get to play on the “blacktop” in Rochester, Michigan. The good news is that Oakland does not have Kahlil Felder on the roster anymore. The bad news is that Greg Kampe now has former Oklahoma State Point Guard Stevie Clark on his roster to replace him. Jalen Hayes is also back and he was very tough to stop last season. How tough? 23 points, 6 rebounds and 9/13 from the field against UGA in the offensive classic at Stegeman Coliseum.
Previews will start on Sunday. Get excited as the Midnight Madness starts in less than six weeks, secret scrimmages take place in eight weeks and in less than two months is UGA’s exhibition game at Fort Valley State. Nearly two months away from Georgia at Clemson in Littlejohn Coliseum. Yante Maten vs. Jaron Blossomgame, the matchup that NBA scouts will drool over.
Of course, the first opponent preview will be Clemson. Previews will be more analytical and of course there will be set breakdowns and plenty of GFYCat GIFs to watch and understand.