The Georgia Bulldogs will face the Washington Huskies in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Charlotte, NC.
The Huskies clinched a berth via a Pac-10 Tournament Championship. Washington defeated Arizona 77-75 in overtime and were given a seven seed.
Georgia was on the bubble going into selection Sunday, following a second round loss to Alabama in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs were an at-large selection from the SEC and were given a 10 seed.
This will be the first time the two teams meet in their history. Georgia has yet to play a Pac-10 opponent during the 2011 season.
“I can’t really think of a team that reminds me of Washington right now, but they’re a great team, fast-paced team. Good rebounders,” said Travis Leslie. “They got great players overall, and I think it’s going to be a good game tomorrow.”
The two stars on the team, Leslie and Trey Thompkins, will be playing in their first tournament. This is Georgia’s first tournament appearance since they were defeated by Xavier in 2008.
“It’s a grand opportunity to be at this point and still be playing,” said Thompkins. “I feel like our team is mature enough and we’ve handled the fact we’re in the tournament.”
Mark Fox has turned the face of the Georgia basketball program, and they are headed to the NCAA Tournament in his second year at the helm.
“It’s good to be in Charlotte, really proud of our team for putting us into this position and excited to be in the NCAA Tournament to play a terrific Washington team,” said Fox in his opening statement. “Just really excited that our young men have this opportunity.”
The two teams play different styles of games. Washington averages 83 points per game, while running a fast-tempo pace. Georgia averages 69 points and they will want to slow the pace of the game down.
“They’re a very explosive offensive team. Usually when you look at a team, you’re trying to find their offensive strength.” said Fox. “Washington has a great inside score, good three-point shooters, and they have a guard that creates offense for himself and everybody else.”
However, Georgia will want to play a fast tempo as well.
“We have to find a way to slow them a little bit, but we’ve always tried to play as fast as we can play well, and we’ll have to find that balance that really works, in a way that we can be successful and somewhat efficient.”
Fox is no stranger to the Washington program. Not only did he meet his future wife there, but he began his coaching career as an Assistant coach for the Huskies. Fox was there from 1991 to 1993.
Fox says that his time there was an important teaching point early on in his career.
“I was there, and we didn’t win a lot of games. I was able to see some of the struggles of the coaching profession,” said Fox. “I have found memories of beating the number two Arizona team but really learned a lot about the trade of coaching and how to manage a team and certainly how to know how a program should operate.”
The game will be televised on CBS 30 minutes following the conclusion of 2-seed North Carolina and 15-seed Long Island, which starts at 7:15 p.m. The approximate tip time is 9:45. The announcers will be Jim Nantz, Clark Kellog, and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson.
The winner will face the winner of North Carolina-Long Island Sunday in Charlotte, NC for the right to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.