If the Georgia Bulldogs (19-9; 8-6) can win in Athens on Wednesday night against the LSU Tigers, then they should be in good shape for the postseason, according to ESPN.com. Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology had Georgia playing in Tampa, Florida as an 11-seed versus 6-seed Villanova – personally, I’d prefer a different match-up.
Georgia is a better team than LSU, and the Dawgs should win tonight (Vegas has the Bulldogs as a whopping 15-point favorite).
Georgia has an RPI of 35, while LSU’s is a dismal 207. Georgia is the fourth-highest scoring team in the league at 70.5 ppg, while LSU is dead-last with 58.3 ppg. The Tigers are 10th in the conference in team defense, surrendering 70.6 ppg.
The numbers don’t get much prettier for LSU, as they rank in the bottom three of the conference in twelve statistical categories. They do not shoot the ball well at all, mustering just 38.7% from the field and 27.1% from beyond the arc.
You get the picture right? LSU hasn’t been very good this season.
But they did win at Auburn in early January, a team that took the Dawgs to overtime when they played in Athens. They also won at Missy State last Wednesday, and they took a 43-41 lead into the break against Vandy on Saturday before falling 90-69.
Georgia has nine losses this season, yet all of them were to opponents ranked in the RPI Top 50. The Dawgs record this year against the RPI Top 50 is an underwhelming 3-9, however, they do not have any “ugly” losses – which will definitely be taken into account by the NCAA selection committee. Georgia can ill-afford to slip up and drop a game that they should win at this point of the season.
If the Dawgs defend well tonight in Stegeman, they will give themselves an excellent chance to come out victorious. Georgia is right in the middle of the pack of the SEC in scoring defense, allowing conference opponents 67.5 ppg. However, they are limiting teams to just 40.5% from the floor, ranking them third in league in that category. The Bulldogs have been a fairly sound defensive team throughout this season, but lately they have been plagued by second-half lapses. In the past five games, the Dawgs are surrendering nearly 20 more points to opponents after the break versus before it. For whatever reason, Georgia has not been stepping onto the floor ready to defend in the second half lately.
As mentioned early, the Tigers are one of the worst-defensive teams in the league this season (70.6 ppg). The magic scoreboard number for opponents this year has been 80 points – LSU has yielded 80 or more points 13 times this season, and they have gone 2-11 in those contests.
Last Saturday night against South Carolina, Georgia’s Trey Thompkins went for 20 points, his first time doing so since the Florida game on January 25th. It would be nice to see Trey get back into a rhythm on offense for this final stretch of games before heading into the SEC tournament next week (and potentially the NCAA’s).
This game will also mark the last home game for seniors Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes, who have platooned at the forward position this season for Coach Mark Fox. Neither of these seniors has ever been part of a 20-win team, and they will have a chance to reach that plateau this evening.