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Preview: Georgia Heads to Vanderbilt Looking for Their 1st SEC Win

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Georgia is hungry for their first SEC win after a double-overtime heartbreaker last week against LSU. Can Vanderbilt hold them off to notch a resume-building quality win?

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt had no match for Bobby Portis in Saturday's 12-point loss to Arkansas. Now they'll have to deal with another efficient SEC big man when Marcus Thornton and Georgia come to Memorial Gym on Wednesday.

Thornton leads the Bulldogs in scoring and rebounds, but his efforts haven't been enough to keep UGA from an 0-2 start in conference play. Back-to-back losses to Arkansas and LSU have slipped Georgia from the NCAA Tournament bubble. A loss at Vanderbilt could put them in dire straits from the selection committee's standpoint.

The Commodores, on the other hand, need a win against a quality team to prove their legitimacy in 2015. Vandy has taken care of the teams they're supposed to beat, but their best win of the season came in double overtime, at home, and against Yale. Defeating the Bulldogs would buck that trend and give them a win over a team ranked in the top 50.

Let's take a deeper look at Wednesday's Commodores-'Dawgs matchup.

KenPom Rankings: Georgia is 34th. Vanderbilt is 53rd.

Key Stat55.8% and 33.8%. The first number is how Georgia has shot in the first half of their SEC games. The second number is the rate at which they've connected after halftime. The Bulldogs have been fierce out of the gates against Arkansas and LSU, but they haven't been able to keep that pace. Kevin Stallings has done a solid job of adjusting his schemes in the second half to maximize Vanderbilt's strengths. Georgia's recent track record suggests that he'll have another chance to mount a strong finish on Wednesday.

Matchup to Watch: Marcus Thornton vs. Damian Jones. Jones was on the losing side of last week's marquee matchup against Bobby Portis, but he can redeem himself by shutting down Georgia's hard working big man at Memorial Gym. Thornton has grown each year he's played in Athens, developing from a freshman project who averaged three points per game on a paltry 27% shooting to a senior that's leading the team in scoring at 13.6 points while making more than half of his shots. However, his efficiency has dipped in recent weeks, and a matchup against a stout defender like Jones won't help his numbers rebound.

Jones, on the other hand, is coming off a 14 and 7 performance that looks better on paper than it did in the paint. The sophomore center looked lethargic in stretches against a future NBA Draft pick in Portis, and that had a negative effect on his own stock. He can get that momentum back in a big way by leading the Commodores to a quality win.

Starters and Rotation Players:

Vanderbilt
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Shelton Mitchell 5.5 2.9 4.7
G - Riley LaChance 12.9 3.0 2.7
F - Jeff Roberson 4.5 3.4 1.0
F - James Siakam 10.1 5.9 0.6
C - Damian Jones 16.1 7.1 1.1
Key Reserves
G - Wade Baldwin IV 7.1 3.5 4.1
G/F - Matthew Fisher-Davis 6.1 2.2 1.0
F - Luke Kornet 8.9 4.3 0.7
Georgia
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Juwan Parker 5.9 4.2 1.0
G - Charles Mann 12.1 5.8 3.6
G - Kenny Gaines 11.8 3.3 2.1
F - Nemanja Djurisic 11.6 5.4 1.7
F - Marcus Thornton 13.6 7.9 0.9
Key Reserves
G - J.J. Frazier 8.7 3.8 3.4
F - Cameron Forte 2.2 1.6 0.0
F - Yante Maten 4.9 3.6 0.2