Georgia dropped the Rebels in both of their meetings last year: 69-64 in January and then 76-72 in late February. That latter loss contributed to a late-season Ole Miss tailspin that still somehow ended in a ticket to the Big Dance, but not before head-shaking losses to LSU, Vanderbilt and -- ridiculously -- South Carolina in the SEC Tournament (remember that one?).
But, new year, new arena and new contract for Andy Kennedy, who broke the champagne on The Pavilion with a come-from-behind, 74-66 over Avery Johnson's Crimson Tide on Thursday night.
It's also a new season for the Bulldogs, which have lost double-digit contributors Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic from last year's Tourney squad. Small matter, though, since Georgia's game is built around strong guard play, and strong guards they have in spades: J.J. Frazier, Kenny Gaines, and Charles Mann are all scoring over 10 points per game, while forward Yante Maten is good for 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per outing.
Stefan Moody, for his part, is averaging nearly 24 points per game, which places him as the SEC's top scorer and sixth overall in the country. He's on a nine-game streak of scoring over 20 points, and his counterpart down low, Sebastian Saiz, is coming off a ridiculous 21 and 16 night against Bama. Rasheed Brooks seems to be developing into a viable fourth man, and the Polish Power Tomasz Gielo has donned a jack-of-all trades mantle in the last month or so.
Thursday night's win in the new arena moved the Rebs to 11-3 and evened their SEC record at 1-1. The Bulldogs sit at 8-4, with a loss in Gainesville and a home win over Mizzou balancing out their early conference slate.
Georgia is No. 60 in Ken Pomeroy's latest rankings, while Ole Miss is hanging at No. 84. The Rebs are averaging 76 points per game to Georgia's 71, but the Bulldogs are holding opponents to 66 per game against Ole Miss' 70. This ought to be a close one.