ATHENS – Georgia basketball players spent the last two weeks balancing tight schedules between practice and academics as they navigated final exams season.

Now, it’s cramming time for coach Mike White.

The second-year UGA coach has three more “preseason” games – Mount St. Mary’s (Wednesday), North Florida (Friday) and Alabama A&M (Dec. 30) – to find his best lineup combinations before Georgia starts SEC play with a trip to Missouri on Jan. 6, 2024.

White is sure to test his roster again when the Bulldogs (7-3) play host to the Mountaineers (4-6) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

White certainly had his work cut out for him at the top of the year, as Georgia imported nine newcomers. The new-look Bulldogs faced a trial by fire of sorts through the first nine games of the season, facing off against six high major teams.

The holiday season has finally gifted White an opportunity to experiment with different looks against lesser competition before a daunting SEC slate begins.

White has not been shy to experiment with his whole roster since coming to Georgia. At least nine Bulldogs have seen minutes in every game this season.

“We’ve got quality depth,” White said. “On different nights, it’s been different guys. We have a lot of parity on this roster, we’ve talked about that in the past.

“It’s no different now, and it’s going to be different guys on different nights.”

One key way that White will evaluate individual performance through the rest of December is by the “Plus-Minus” statistic, which tracks Georgia’s net score while each player is on the floor.

The statistic applies the whole team’s performance to individual players, so its value as a means of individual evaluation is debatable. But for a coach like White looking to make sense of a roster with just three returners from last season, Plus-Minus could expose how well individual players are flowing within the system.

“Yeah, I don’t know whether that’s right or wrong, but I do,” White said about looking hard at the Plus-Minus after Georgia’s win over High Point on Saturday. “(It’s) one of the first things that I look at.”

White added that he specifically commended RJ Melendez for his team-best plus-12 finish in front of the team after the win Saturday.

Plus-Minus’ consideration of defensive success also makes it an optimal statistic for White, a coach known for cultivating defensive identity. Defensive excellence could be particularly important for Georgia as its many newcomers learn to gel offensively.

“When you play this many guys, of course, sometimes, you’re a little more sporadic offensively because you’re not leaning on the same six or seven guys,” White said. “Roles are a little bit harder to define, but you’ve got to like the effort of some of these guys as they’re getting in for a few minutes and getting back out.”

Defensive development is particularly vital for Georgia as it jumps into the SEC, the best defensive conference in the country, according to White.

Georgia tips off against Missouri in just 17 days. The clock ticks, and White will continue to search for chemistry after one of the biggest roster overhauls in the SEC this season.

Here’s a look at how every Georgia basketball player who has played this season has fared in the Plus-Minus category.

Georgia basketball individual Plus-Minus totals through first 10 games

Noah Thomasson, G, 280 minutes -- minus-5

Silas Demary Jr., G, 266 minutes -- plus-46

Jabri Abdur-Rahim, G, 264 minutes -- plus-31

RJ Melendez, G, 244 minutes -- plus-8

Russel Tchewa, C, 231 minutes -- plus-9

Justin Hill, G, 231 minutes -- plus-25

Blue Cain, G, 174 minutes -- plus-3

Jalen Deloach, F, 113 minutes -- minus-13

Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, F, 96 minutes -- plus-28

Dylan James, F, 21 minutes -- minus-19

Frank Anselem, C, 71 minutes -- plus-4

RJ Sunahara, F, 9 minutes -- minus-1