Meet the Bulldogs, Again
Record: 21-10, 12-7. 3-seed in the SEC Tournament
Arkansas and Georgia opened SEC play against each other way back in early January, when Arkansas picked up a huge road win in Athens. The Bulldogs were expected to be good and they were. Save for a mid-February case of the fever when they lost consecutive home games to Auburn and South Carolina, they've been solid. They even had a lead against Kentucky deep into the second half in Athens but couldn't hold on.
KenPom: 35. They give both teams a 50% chance of winning.
Players to watch: The Bulldogs have five (!) players who average in double figures. The leader is Marcus Thornton at 12.2 points per game. PG J.J. Frazier is one of the better three-point shooters in the league at 40.8%. PF Nemanja Djurisic is a reliable scorer making 56% of his two-point attempts. Kenny Gaines is 45.5% from inside the arc and 36.5% from beyond.
How Will The Game Go
Georgia is not a flashy team. They're just a really solid team. They're in the top 5 in every defensive category except they're dead last in the league in forcing turnovers. But they are the best in defensive rebounding percentage and just solid everywhere else. Teams don't shoot well against them. They tend to send players to the line less frequently.
They're not quite as solid offensively, although they were third in the league in three point percentage and they get to the free throw line somewhat frequently. They're smack in the middle of the league in terms of tempo.
In the first game, Georgia led most of the game but Arkansas came back in the 2nd half to take the lead through to the end. You might remember that Alandise Harris caught fire, even hitting a heat-check straightaway three toward the end of the game. He scored 15 points in 22 minutes and was 7-8 from the field. Bobby Portis kept the Hogs in the game early and finished with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Michael Qualls had 17 and broke free for a breakaway dunk that put an exclamation point on the victory late.
Keys To The Game
The Bench: Arkansas held off Tennessee mostly on the strength of their starters. Anthlon Bell's six points were all the reserves could muster against the Vols. The bench is probably going to have to show up more strongly than they did on Friday.
Arkansas' Offensive Rebounds: As mentioned, the Bulldogs are the best team in the league at grabbing defensive boards. The Razorbacks have become pretty good on the offensive glass and it's been a real weapon for them this season. Georgia won the rebounding battle in the first game 40-25. It's a strength for them. The Hogs can't allow themselves to be dominated on the glass.
Perimeter Defense: Georgia's one of the best three point shooting teams in the league but toward the bottom in two point percentage. The Hogs can't let the Bulldogs go nuts from downtown. Make them have to work the ball inside and take their chances among Bobby Portis and Alandise Harris trying to block their shots.