Georgia Basketball: Bruce Pearl Comes to Athens, Bringing Auburn Along


The Georgia and Auburn Cagers renew on court hostilities Saturday at 2:00 when Bruce Pearl visits the Stegeman Coliseum.

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Georgia basketball returns to the Stegeman Coliseum Saturday afternoon to welcome Bruce Pearl for an SEC contest. There is a strong rumor that Pearl will bring the Auburn basketball team with him.

This Auburn season was about Pearl than from day one. And for this year at least, that’s just as well with Auburn sporting an 11-13 record, 3-8 in the SEC.

Auburn is an ancient Georgia basketball foe and Saturday’s game is the 180th meeting between these two schools. The series began in 1908, renewed annually since 1945. Georgia leads the series 90-89. Auburn is the third most frequent opponent in UGA hoops history.

Winning means never having to play apologize for an insignificant game, and with a win Saturday, the Bulldogs will reach up to knock on the NCAA door, to play for a 20 win season, and to control their run at a top four SEC Tourney seed. Those motivations failing, there is always Bruce Pearl.

Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia Bulldogs /

Georgia Bulldogs

The Dawgs know Bruce Pearl is a great coach. They know this because they hear it repeatedly. Hearing about Bruce Pearl all year, there’s a pretty good chance that the Dawgs, first, will not over look Auburn and, second, will play with a chip on their shoulders – and not necessarily in that order.

Auburn and Georgia rank 1-2 in the SEC (7th and 13th nationally) in total free throws attempted. The Bulldogs had previously led all of NCAA Division I in average FT attempts per game but were surpassed this week by West Virginia after two below-average games in that regard.

Aside from free throws, the Bulldogs should have every advantage against Auburn. Auburn is 1-7 on the road and Georgia is 11-1 at home. Auburn’s RPI is 162, Georgia’s 22. Against the number 20 strength of schedule, Georgia has a plus 5 point per game margin, holding opponents to under 65 points per game. Against the number 67 strength of schedule, Auburn has a negative 2.6 point per game margin and gives up over 70 points per game.

Auburn did show a bit of a pulse in Baton Rouge, defeating LSU 81-77. However, the Tigers returned home to lose games to Ole Miss and Arkansas. Auburn’s only other conference wins came against Missouri and South Carolina, the only two teams about as bad as Auburn. Georgia will not take the Tigers lightly however. The memory of the South Carolina road fiasco is still fresh and the prize for taking care of business against the Tigers is great.

There is a chance Juwan Parker could return against Auburn, although his effectiveness may be limited. If he can return and play, however, his presence on the bench is a difference maker down the stretch.