NEW ORLEANS — Georgia will begin this postseason the same way it ended last year’s — playing in the late show.
Its first-round Southeastern Conference tournament game against Mississippi State is scheduled to tip-off at approximately 10 p.m. ET today.
Georgia’s loss to Washington in the NCAA tournament in Charlotte last season didn’t get underway until 10:08 p.m.
“We’ve had terrible game times all year,” coach Mark Fox said. “We had a couple of 9 o’clock starts, one at home, one on the road. We’ve had some 8 o’clock games, we had a Sunday afternoon game. We’ve had some very nontraditional times for our games and a 10 o’clock start Eastern time for us is just kind of par for the course this year.”
Mississippi State opened SEC tournament play last year with a second-round loss to Vanderbilt, but coach Rick Stansbury didn’t remember the tipoff time until reminded Wednesday.
“What can you do?” Stansbury said. “What can you do? There’s not a whole lot you’re going to do. They’re going to stay at the hotel a couple of hours longer. They’re going to sleep a couple of hours longer and they’ll watch TV a couple of hours longer and they’re going to be on those little phones a couple of hours longer because that’s what they do. I’m not going to take the phones away from them because it’s a late game or turn the TVs off or anything like that or take their headsets away from them. Just keep it as normal as you can keep it for two extra hours.”
Fox said he’s talked to Georgia football coach Mark Richt about routines leading up to games.
Fox said Georgia players will have a chance to watch some of the early SEC tournament games and have some study time. He just wants them to stay busy.
They’ll have a walkthrough practice away from New Orleans Arena earlier in the day “so we don’t show up sluggish.”
Hit them with their best shot
One big reason Georgia beat Mississippi State this season is that it hit 11 of 26 3-pointers, including 6 of 12 from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
“When we win, that’s been one of the keys for us, to be able to make a perimeter jump shot,” Fox said,
Mississippi State ranks 11th in the SEC in 3-point field-goal defense with opponents making 39.5 percent from behind the arc.
Georgia is shooting 29.7 percent on 3s in SEC play this season, ahead of only Auburn and Alabama.
“You don’t want to tell us and Florida and South Carolina that because they’re very capable shooters,” Stansbury said. “(Dustin) Ware was a great shooter last year. … He hasn’t shot it as well, but we know what he’s capable of doing, so we don’t look at Georgia at all as a team that’s not a very good shooting team.”
Legends Field headliners
Georgia will play a couple of high-profile opponents next season in the championship rounds of the Legends Classic from Nov. 19-20 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Georgetown, Indiana and UCLA are the other teams playing in the new Barclays Center. Pairings will be revealed later, game organizer the Gazelle Group announced Wednesday.
All four of those teams, including Georgia, will also host regional games between Nov. 11-15.
Vanderbilt beat Oregon State 64-62 in this season’s Legends event.
This and that
Stansbury on what the win at South Carolina last week meant to snap a five-game losing streak: “What it allowed us to di is to stop at Krispy Kreme. That’s our tradition.” … A common theme Wednesday among SEC coaches was getting a chance at new life. “It’s a time of the year where the records are 0-0 and everyone’s trying to get that automatic bid to the NCAA tournament,” said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, whose team plays LSU today at 1 p.m. ET. “So the SEC tournament is a huge, huge event for all the teams that are involved in it.” Said South Carolina coach Darren Horn, whose team went 2-14 in the SEC: “March is the best time of the year. Regardless of how your season has gone, and obviously ours hasn’t gone as well as we would like for it to, in terms of total wins, you get a fresh start and a chance to start all over.”