Georgia basketball will start the new year with a nationally televised matchup against No. 9 Memphis in the FedEx Forum on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (9-3) and the Tigers (12-1) tip off at 1 p.m. on CBS.
The game figures to be of the high-scoring variety with Georgia averaging 82.2 points per game, paced by freshman Anthony Edwards’ 18.8 points per outing.
Coach Tom Crean explained the challenges Coach Penny Hardaway’s team presents.
“They’re extremely fast, they score 30 percent of their points in transition, they create a lot of turnovers,” Crean said on Friday at Stegeman Coliseum. “Very athletic, very dynamic, mix in their defense as well with the way they trap and press and they put a ton of pressure on you. The length is outstanding. Scoring a lot of points. Very fearless on the offensive end.
“It’s a huge personnel game for us on how we want to guard people but the bottom line is, we have to take care of the ball, we have to be in the rebounding game and then we have to understand their personnel.”
Memphis, which is riding a 10-game win streak, signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation in 2019, while Crean had the No. 5 class signed at Georgia.
Crean said it’s the sort of matchup that’s “a great game for college basketball,” but it will take a supreme performance from the Bulldogs to score the upset after opening as a 9-point underdog.
“We want to play fearless, but not reckless,” Crean said. “Reckless gets you in trouble in any game but especially against a team as dynamic, and as quick and fast paced as they are.”
Crean knows what fast-paced and aggressive should look like. UGA has had eight 90-point outputs in Crean’s first 40 games. Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had eight 90-point outputs in 249 games.
It’s the first meeting between Georgia and Memphis in men’s basketball since 1996, when the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 70-68 in the Rainbow Classic behind Michael Chadwick’s 18 points.
Georgia enters the game at Memphis on a three-game win streak, coming off a 78-48 home win over Austin Peay last Monday in Athens.
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