SEC Champion Dawgs release 2008-09 schedule

ATHENS — At least 13 of Georgia's 31 regular-season games will come against teams that competed in the 2008 postseason, with the potential for more such games, according to the Bulldogs' basketball schedule that was announced Tuesday by head coach Dennis Felton.

The Georgia basketball schedule has ranked among the nation's most difficult for much of this decade, and the 2009 slate should be no different. In addition to the lineup of SEC opponents, three other so-called "power" conferences – the Atlantic Coast and Big Ten and Big Twelve– are also represented.

"Last year we were proud to have the challenge of playing one of the toughest schedules in the country," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "I believe this schedule certainly compares favorably to any we've put together since we've been at Georgia. We will be challenged at home and at some tough places on the road. I also think it's a schedule that our fans can get excited about and start making plans for a great season. All of us are looking forward to building upon the great ending to our season last March."

Highlights of the non-conference slate at Stegeman Coliseum include a Dec. 9 date against Virginia Tech and a Jan. 3 meeting against Missouri. The Bulldogs will travel to play such teams as Western Kentucky, which reached the NCAA Round of 16 last season, and Big Ten foe Illinois, as well as their biennial trip to Georgia Tech on Jan. 6.

In addition, Georgia will make its third all-time appearance in what is now called the NIT Season Tip-Off, a 16-team tournament founded and run by the National Invitation Tournament. The field will be divided into four "pods" for first- and second-round games, with Georgia traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., for its early rounds. The four winners advance to the semifinals in New York, while all other teams will play "consolation" games against each other. In all, each team is guaranteed to play four games under the new format.

"We are honored to be playing in the NIT Season Tip-Off," Felton said. "I think it speaks well to our program's accomplishments that we will represent the SEC in the field. It will give our young team some great experience early in the season."

Season tickets are $255 and will go on sale online, starting August 30. Season tickets for UGA faculty and staff are $150. They include potential 3rd- and 4th –round games in the NIT Season Tip-Off, if Georgia hosts these games. If UGA doesn't host the games, each ticket holder would be refunded for them.

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