Travis Leslie, Trey Thompkins Lead Georgia's Run to the Big Dance

Will BrownContributor IJanuary 19, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 11:  Travis Leslie #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs goes up for a dunk attempt against Julysses Nobles #23 of the Arkanasas Razorbacks during the first round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 11, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite losing to Tennessee on what looked like an over-the-back call that wasn’t, Georgia has been playing extremely good basketball to this point in the season. The Bulldogs’ attack is led by Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins, two of the best players in the Southeastern Conference.

Leslie, who had an ESPN Top 10 play against Tennessee as he dunked coming off of his own three-pointer miss, leads the team with 7.4 rebounds a game to go along with a stat line that includes 14.5 points per game and 2.4 assists on average. Leslie is a very good athlete who has progressed well over his time in Athens, and looks to lead the team to a deep run in March.

Leslie is paired with Thompkins, a forward who is fifth in the SEC with 17.4 points per game, has been good as well in rebounding with 7.1 a game in addition almost averaging two blocks a game (1.7). Thompkins may be the ‘Dogs best player, and gives them a great inside presence going forward.

Those two are far from the only good players on the team though. Georgia also boasts Gerald Robinson (4.2 assists per game, second in the SEC) and Dustin Ware (7.4 points per game and 38.5 percent from three point range, which is 13th in the SEC).

Georgia’s most impressive win came on January 8 as the ‘Dogs beat then-No. 11 Kentucky 77-70 in impressive fashion. The game gives Georgia a significant win on the season as they look to find themselves ranked, having received a few votes here and there over the season, including being essentially the No. 27 ranked team in the country heading into this week after being ranked No. 24 the week before.

Georgia has been a very consistent team over the course of the season, as their largest margin of defeat is seven points (No. 20 Temple and Vanderbilt). They don’t have flashy numbers as a team, as they are only 145th in the country in points per game (70.5), but are a tough team to try and stop offensively, as they are 43rd in assists per game at 15.4 and 62nd in field goal percentage at 46.5 percent.

Going forward, Georgia currently stands at 2-2 in the SEC with games at home against Mississippi State and Florida followed by a trip to Kentucky, where the Wildcats will be looking to making up for their loss in Athens.

Georgia’s ability to play in close games will be important going through the SEC schedule. If Georgia can end up with a winning record in conference, something they haven’t done since 2002-2003 season when they went 11-5 (though they did go 8-8 in 2006-2007), it would mean a lot as far as getting an automatic bid come Selection Sunday.

This Georgia team has the potential to jump start the Mark Fox era, who already has one impressive recruit coming to Athens under his belt in Shooting Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ESPN 5-star, No. 14 overall and No. 4 shooting guard).

Fox is slowly doing his best to turn the Georgia program into one of the top in the SEC and the nation, and I think he’s done a good job so far. A nice run in March will only help his progress, and this Georgia team possesses that type of potential.