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The 19th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Georgia Bulldogs

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 7, 2007

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Georgia Bulldogs

Location: Athens, Georgia

Nickname: Bulldogs

Reason For Nickname: In 1901, during the Georgia-Auburn football game, fans had a badge that said “Eat ’em Georgia” that showed a bulldog eating a tiger. It would not be until 1920 when the school decided to officially name the teams at the school “Bulldogs”.

Colors: Red and Black

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Stegeman Coliseum (built 1964, capacity 10,523) 

Basketball Between The Hedges: Georgia may not be a basketball power like most schools, but you can’t say that their program has been short of success on the hardwood. The Bulldogs began playing basketball over 100 years ago in 1904-05 and was a charter member of the Southeastern Conference when it began in 1932-33. In their history, the Bulldogs have claimed the 1931 and 1932 Southern Conference Championships as well as the 1983 and 1990 SEC Championships.

Postseason Appearances: Georgia throughout its basketball history has been to 19 postseason tournaments, which would include 9 trips to the NCAA Tournament. Their first appearance in the Tournament resulted in a run to the Final Four where they would lose to the eventual champion North Carolina State Wolfpack in the national semifinals 67-60. They’ve also been a part of one other Sweet 16 that came in 1996 where they lost to Syracuse.  Along with the NCAA Tournament appearances, the Bulldogs have gone to nine NITs and played in two NIT Final Fours (1982 and 1998).

Coaching Legacy: The most celebrated coach in Bulldog history, Hugh Durham, led the Bulldogs to eight straight postseason appearances, including the school’s first SEC Regular-Season Championship in 1990. Currently, Durham is the winningest coach in Bulldog history with 297 wins in 17 seasons in Athens. Followed by Durham was Tubby Smith, who led the Bulldogs to two straight NCAA Tournaments, including the aforementioned 1996 team that went to the Sweet 16. Other notables to coach the Bulldogs include Ralph “Shug” Jordan, who would later coach at Auburn, Ron Jirsa, and Jim Harrick.

Big Man On Campus: Georgia’s most famous player is Dominique Wilkins, who played for the Bulldogs during the beginning of their run in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. Unfortunately when the Bulldogs made their run to the 1983 Final Four, Wilkins was not a part of the team. Other standouts in Georgia history include Shandon and Willie Anderson, who both went on to great careers in the NBA.

Rivalries: Georgia’s basketball team has held a longstanding rivalry with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, a rivalry that dates back to the early 1900’s. Tech leads the all-time series in basketball, winning 100 to the Bulldogs’ 83. From 1981 to 1994, the game was played in the Omni Coliseum but later that year, both schools returned to playing each other on-campus.

Did You Know?: Georgia waited 78 years for its first NCAA Tournament invite (1905-1983).

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