Georgia Bulldogs basketball
|University||University of Georgia|
|Head coach||Mark Fox (6th year)|
Red and Black
|NCAA Tournament Final Four|
|NCAA Tournament Elite Eight|
|NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1983, 1985*, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002*, 2008, 2011
* vacated by NCAA
|Conference tournament champions|
|Conference regular season champions|
The Georgia Bulldogs basketball program is the men's college basketball team representing the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Established in 1891, the team has competed in the Southeastern Conference since its inception in 1932. Though it has been historically overshadowed by the school's football program, the Bulldogs' basketball squad has had its share of successes, including a trip to the NCAA Final Four in 1983 under head coach Hugh Durham. The school has also produced a number of basketball greats, notably Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.
The team's current head coach is Mark Fox. In just his second season, Fox coached the Bulldogs to a 21–11 record, including a 9–7 record in conference play, and their first at-large NCAA Tournament bid since 2002.
Georgia was a founding member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA), the first collegiate athletic conference formed in the United States. Georgia participated in the SIAA from its establishment in 1895 until 1921. In 1921, the Bulldogs, along with 12 other teams, left the SIAA and formed the Southern Conference. In 1932, the Georgia Bulldogs left the Southern Conference to form and join the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Former NBA star Dominique Wilkins is considered the greatest player in school history. However, Wilkins never played in the NCAA tournament; the Bulldogs made their first NCAA appearance in 1983—which would have been Wilkins' senior year had he not opted for the NBA. The 1983 team made it to the Final Four of the NCAA Championship before being eliminated by eventual champion North Carolina State.
2008 SEC Tournament: The Dream Dawgs
In the 2007–2008 season, Georgia's men's basketball team came into the 2008 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament with a 13–16 overall record and a 4–12 conference mark. At one point, the team sustained two five-game losing streaks during a 2-of-12 stretch in conference play. In the first round of the tournament, Georgia was slated to play Ole Miss, who had beaten the Bulldogs in the season-closer, securing the Rebels' only road SEC win of the season. The game went into overtime after Rebel David Huertas hit all three free throws after a three-point shooting foul, and looked to go into a second extra period after Chris Warren did the same. However, with 0.4 seconds left in overtime, Georgia senior Dave Bliss banked in the game-winner to shock the Rebels and send Georgia into a second-round matchup with Kentucky.
On the night of March 14, 2008, tornadoes hit Atlanta, in whose Georgia Dome the SEC Tournament was housed. The Georgia-Kentucky matchup was rescheduled for the early afternoon of March 15, 2008, with the winner advancing to play the SEC West's #1 seed, Mississippi State, later that evening. The remaining games in the tournament would be played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, the basketball complex of Georgia Tech, UGA's in-state rival. Again playing an overtime game in which Georgia star Sundiata Gaines fouled out, Georgia freshman Zac Swansey hit a turnaround three-point jumper with 1.4 seconds left to give the Bulldogs the team's first ever win over Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. That night, Georgia defeated Mississippi State 64–60 to become the first team since Kentucky in 1952 to win two tournament games in one day, and the first-ever #6 seed to advance to the modern (post-1992) SEC tournament finals.
In the finals, Georgia faced Arkansas, which had lost to Georgia 82–69 in the regular season. Georgia prevailed again, at one point leading the Razorbacks by nineteen points en route to winning its first tournament championship in 25 years. Sundiata Gaines and Terrance Woodbury were both named to the All-Tournament Team, with Gaines winning the tournament's MVP. The improbable list of achievements—winning the tournament as a 6-seed, playing two games in one day to reach the finals, playing two games (against Kentucky and Mississippi State) in which Gaines fouled out with a substantial amount of time to play, doing it on a rival's home court, and winning four consecutive elimination games following a season during which their longest winning streak stood at three—earned the 2007–2008 team the nickname of Dream Dawgs.
With the victory, Georgia secured itself an automatic bid in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Georgia's appearance in the tournament was the tenth overall in team history and the first since the 2002 NCAA Basketball Tournament. After their SEC Championship run, the Bulldogs were seeded 14th in the NCAA Tournament, playing against the #3 seeded Xavier Musketeers. After developing a lead early in the 2nd half, the Bulldogs could not hold on, as Xavier went on to win 73–61.
Coach Dennis Felton failed to follow up the surprise successes of 2008 with victories in 2008–09, and he was fired on January 29, 2009.
Team Awards and Records
- 1891–95, Independent
- 1896–1920, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
- 1921–32, Southern Conference
- 1933–present, Southeastern Conference
Basketball Hall of Fame
- Dominique Wilkins, inducted on April 3, 2006
Notable former players