Let’s do a starting five for this week heading into Georgia’s NIT matchup with Vermont:
1. Georgia coach Mark Fox is 2-0 against Vermont, winning in back-to-back seasons while coaching Nevada.
Fox’s No. 22 ranked team snapped Vermont’s 14-game home winning streak with a 77-62 win at Vermont on Nov. 23, 2005.
“I remember the game vividly,” Fox said. “My two best players had food poisoning so I remember that game vividly, and they had a good team.”
Nevada also beat Vermont 74-64 in Reno on Feb. 19, 2005 in an ESPN’ Bracket Buster matchup with Fox as head coach and 69-49 in Reno on Nov. 17, 2003 when Fox was a Nevada assistant coach.
2. The NIT is better than the season being over, but Georgia wanted a spot in the NCAA tournament. Fox has talked about Georgia playing well in the final two months of the season, but knowing that its November showing when it began 1-4 hurt the Bulldogs’ NCAA tournament profile.
NCAA selection committee chairman Ron Wellman, athletic director at Wake Forest, addressed whether extra emphasis is placed on how a team finishes a season. His answer was no.
“We look at the entire body of work,” Wellman said. “We continually remind one another in the selection process that the games in November are as important as the games in March. While it may look like certain teams received favor for their performance in March, we looked at their entire resume before making a decision, and do not overemphasize their performance in March versus what happened earlier in the year.”
3. Vermont coach John Becker said on a video on the school’s athletic website that playing at Georgia would be a chance to get down into some warm weather.
It was minus-7 degrees at 7 a.m. in Burlington, Vt., today and the high today is forecast as 20, per weather.com. There’s supposed to be a high of 69 in Athens on Wednesday.
4. Former Vermont coach Tom Brennan, who played for Georgia, will be at Wednesday’s game. Fox said on 680 AM this morning that Brennan is flying with the Catamounts on the team plane for Wednesday’s game.
“Because they’re giving him the plane ride, he’ll have it to play it neutral while he’s here,” Fox said.
Fox won a head-to-head matchup in Brennan’s last season at Vermont in 2004-05.
5. Vermont starts four seniors and a sophomore and the team has hit the road hard this year.
It traveled 7,979 miles and played on both coasts in the first month of the season during seven straight games away from home, according to the school.
That included a 91-90 loss at Duke on Nov. 24.
“They were terrific,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in an AP account of the game, “and we were awful.”
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