- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2011

ATHENS, GA. (AP) - Gerald Robinson says playing against Southeastern Conference point guards should prepare him for his NCAA tournament challenge against Washington’s Isaiah Thomas.

The problem is Robinson and his teammates on Wednesday couldn’t name a guard in the SEC who compares with the Huskies’ 5-foot-9 star.

Georgia coach Mark Fox said Thomas is “unique” and even rises above comparisons with another 5-foot-9 former Washington star, Nate Robinson, who is with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

“No, he’s better than Nate,” Fox said firmly. “He’s a better player than Nate, and Nate is obviously good enough to be a pro, but Isaiah Thomas is terrific.”

The Bulldogs practiced in Athens on Wednesday before leaving for their bus trip to Charlotte, N.C.

Georgia (21-11) is the No. 10 seed in the East Regional. Washington (23-10) is the No. 7 seed. The winner could face No. 2 seed North Carolina on Sunday.

Robinson and Dustin Ware are expected to lead Georgia’s defensive efforts against Washington in the game on Friday night.

Thomas averaged 19.7 points and 10 assists in three games as Washington won the Pac-10 tournament last week. His signature moment came when he made an 18-footer at the end of overtime against Arizona to give Washington the championship.

Thomas‘ game-winner received strong play on ESPN and YouTube, even making its way onto the TV screens and laptops of Georgia players on the other side of the nation.

“I didn’t get to catch it (live), but I have seen it on highlights over and over again,” Robinson said. “He’s a great player who made a great play for his team.”

Added Ware: “It didn’t surprise me at all because he’s done that kind of thing throughout his career.”

Thomas, a junior who is averaging 16.8 points for the season, leads a balanced Washington attack that averages 83.5 points.

“Washington is extremely talented, a great offensive team,” said Fox, who began his career as a graduate assistant and assistant coach at Washington.

“They’re very complete offensively and very explosive,” Fox said. “They combine that with very good defense, also.”

Fox said that Thomas is not the Bulldogs’ only concern. Senior forward Matt Bryan-Amaning averages 15.5 points and 8.1 rebounds.

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