College Basketball

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Georgia (15-15) at Alabama (19-11)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 4 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Coleman Coliseum (15,383) -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: UGA 12-6, Alabama 13-3. Away Record: UGA 3-7, Alabama 4-8. Neutral Record: UGA 0-2, Alabama 2-0. Conference Record: UGA 9-8, Alabama 11-6. Series Record: Alabama leads, 92-47.

GAME NOTES: The Alabama Crimson Tide will try to secure one of the top four seeds in next week's SEC Tournament, as they close out the regular season at Coleman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon against the Georgia Bulldogs.

The SEC standings are still very much in flux on the last day of the season. Florida (14-3) has already clinched the regular-season championship, while Alabama (11-6) battles Kentucky, Ole Miss and Missouri for the three remaining top seeds in the SEC Tournament, all of which earn double-byes into the quarterfinals.

While not considered one of the top teams in the conference, Georgia has exceeded expectations this season by going 15-15 overall, and at 9-8 in the SEC, it is guaranteed at least a .500 league finish for just the third time in the last 10 seasons. The Bulldogs celebrated senior night in style on Thursday night by taking down Kentucky, 72-62, for their second straight win.

Alabama spent much of the season near the top of the SEC standings, but its postseason seeding is now in serious question after faltering in three of the last four games to drop to 19-11 overall. The Tide recently embarked on a two- game road swing and suffered losses to Florida (64-52) and Ole Miss (87-83), but now they return to Coleman Coliseum, where they've won 13 of 16 this year.

Alabama defeated Georgia in Athens on Feb. 12, 52-45, for its fourth straight win over the Bulldogs. The Tide leads the all-time series, 92-47.

After a back-and-forth first half, Georgia took control after intermission in its latest game versus Kentucky to come away with the 10-point victory. Despite shooting less than 37 percent from the field, the squad held the Wildcats to 37.1 percent shooting and took advantage of the UK's foul trouble by converting 27-of-34 free throws. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was outstanding with 24 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth-career double-double, while Nemanja Djurisic (12 points) and Donte' Williams (10 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) were also impressive. On the season, the Bulldogs benefit from a very strong defense, which yields only 61.4 ppg, but they struggle with one of the SEC's worst offensive attacks (60.8 ppg). Caldwell-Pope (18.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.1 spg) seems destined for an All-SEC selection, and he is the only player in the league to score in double-digits in every game this season. UGA has had difficulty finding a strong complement for Caldwell-Pope however, as Djurisic acts as the next-best option with just 7.9 ppg.

The Crimson Tide appeared dead in the water in Tuesday night's bout at Ole Miss, as they trailed by 18 points with under nine minutes left, but while they climbed all the way back to make it just a three-point game in the final minute, they could not get over the hump. Pacing four teammates in double figures was Trevor Lacey, who scored 19 points on 7-of-15 from the floor to go with seven assists and six rebounds. Nick Jacobs was stellar off the bench with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Trevor Releford and Rodney Cooper tallied 16 and 12 points, respectively. Allowing 87 points was uncharacteristic for Alabama, which ranks second in the SEC in scoring defense (59.3 ppg), and without a strong defensive effort, it doesn't possess the offensive fire power (63.8 ppg) to win on a consistent basis. Releford (15.5 ppg) and Lacey (12.1 ppg) are the team's top scoring threats, and the two play lock-down perimeter defense as well, coming up with a combined 104 steals. Cooper brings 10.9 ppg and a team-best 4.8 rpg to the table.

Despite Georgia's late-season surge, it has not performed very well on the road this season (3-7), and considering its lackluster offensive attack, Alabama's stout defense should be able to get the team back on track.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Alabama 64, Georgia 58

03/09 10:41:16 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
WAS 3
STL 4
Final
CLE 0
TOR 5
Final
DET 5
ANA 2
Final
BOS 4
BAL 2
Final
KAN 5
MIN 4
Final
CHC 8
CIN 4
8th
OAK 1
HOU 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
8:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
8:10pm Tonight
COL
PHI
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
Final
TOR 87
BRK 94
4th
LAC 105
GSW 109
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
ATL
9:30pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
Final
STL 4
CHI 3
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR