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Friday, February 11, 2011

By the numbers: Georgia basketball

OK, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing Georgia’s important computer numbers – 45 in the RPI and strength of schedule as of Friday, by the way – but how about the normal team and individual stats.

A quick scan reveals some interesting and occasionally surprising facts:

- In just SEC games, Georgia ranks first in the league in a number of categories: scoring (75.1 per game), field goal percentage (44.6), 3-point percentage (38.8), rebounding margin (9.3 more than its opponents), defensive rebounds (28.6 per game) and assists (16 per game). The Bulldogs are also second in assist-to-turnover ratio.

That’s a lot of categories. And yet the Bulldogs are only 5-4. How is that?

Well …

- Georgia ranks second-to-last in the SEC in turnover margin (-3.11 per game) scoring defense (opponents are averaging 71.4 points). The Bulldogs are ninth in field goal defense (42.9 percent), 3-point defense (34.8 percent), and eighth in steals (5.7 per game.)

And as for leading the SEC in 3-point percentage? It helps that the Bulldogs haven’t taken very many, and only rank eighth in amount of 3-pointers made during SEC play (52).

A look at Georgia’s individual stats also reveals a bit of why the Bulldogs are where they are right now:

- Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie are each averaging less points-per-game than they did last year. It’s not by much – Thompkins has gone from 17.7 to 16.6, and Leslie from 16.8 to 14.2. But you could certainly argue that neither player has taken a huge step forward this year.

- Gerald Robinson has stepped into the role of third scoring option, averaging more than 13 points a game. But no one else is averaging in double figures, and after Jeremy Price (9.0 points per game) and Dustin Ware (8.2), no one else is averaging even four points a game.

Freshman Marcus Thornton has played in every game, but is only averaging 1.8 points and 2.2 rebounds a game.

- So the Bulldogs are top-heavy in scoring, but what about in minutes played? Not really: Thompkins, Leslie, Robinson and Ware are averaging between 30-33 minutes a game. That’s pretty normal for starters (and also includes three overtime games, two of which went to double overtime).

Jeremy Price (22.6 minutes per game) and Chris Barnes (17.8) are essentially splitting time in the post. The other notables are Sherrard Brantley (13.9), Connor Nolte (12.0, but only in 18 games) and Thornton (10.7). So that’s essentially a nine-man rotation, with spot appearances by Donte’ and Vincent Williams. That’s pretty normal too.

- There does seem a correlation between 3-point percentage and victories: In their five league wins the Bulldogs are 30-for-65 from beyond the arc, and in their four losses plus Xavier they are 25-for-82.

A few other notables:

- Robinson ranks second in the league in assists per game (for total games.)

- Ware leads the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio, also for all games.

- A lot of people might be surprised that Georgia ranks third during SEC games in free throw percentage (74.6). The Bulldogs have clanged a few down the stretch of games - the end of regulation against Auburn springs to mind - but overall they've been pretty solid from the line.

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