WHEN: 8PM TV: ESPNU WHERE: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens
RECORDS: Alabama (15-8, 7-3 SEC); Georgia (12-11, 6-4)
ALABAMA LINEUP: G Trevor Lacey (6-3, So.) 11.9 ppg., 4.0 rpg.; G Trevor Releford (6-0, Jr.) 14.9 ppg.; F Levi Randolph (6-5, So.) 7.8 ppg., 4.0 rpg.; F Rodney Cooper (6-6, So.) 10.6 ppg., 4.4 rpg.; C Moussa Gueye (7-0, Jr.) 1.5 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 1.5 blocks
GEORGIA LINEUP: G Vincent Williams (6-0, Sr.) 5.2 ppg.; G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6-5, So.) 17.5 ppg., 6.3 rpg.; F Brandon Morris (6-7, Fr.) 4.0 ppg.; F Donte’ Williams (6-9, Jr.) 5.3 ppg., 4.6 rpg.; C John Florveus (6-11, Sr.) 2.5 ppg., 3.4 ppg.
OK, so we finally have a reason to take our minds off of football for a little while and focus on basketball. And honestly, this will be one of the most important weeks for the Crimson Tide. True, UGA and USCe are two of the least sexy opponents we will have faced all season. However, to paraphrase Coach Bryant, try losing one of these games and see how important they are then.
Tonight's game is one of the oddest match-ups of the season for Alabama. The Crimson Tide heads to Georgia with one of the best records in the SEC, highlighted by a superior defense, yet they clearly have many questions yet to answer. Most of their wins, including their most recent game against LSU, have been by extremely small margins. And last week's loss at Auburn serves as the poster child for the anemic offense that has plagued the Tide for most of the year. I think it's safe to say that no one, not even the members of the team, has any idea what to expect for the rest of the year.
On the other side of the court tonight sits a team that looked like it would fight all comers for the SEC cellar, yet they enter tonight as one of the hottest teams in the conference on the heels of a five-game winning streak. The Bulldogs are led by sophomore sensation Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a 6-5 guard who averages an eye-popping 17.5 points per game. The vaunted Alabama defense will have its hands full tonight.
So, in short, despite their solid SEC record, Alabama sends a young, struggling team into hostile territory tonight to face a Georgia team brimming with confidence. It should be pointed out that none of the teams that the Bulldogs have faced during this five-game winning streak have a winning record. It should also be pointed out that one of those wins came against Auburn, a team that the Crimson Tide amassed a whopping 37 points against last week. Alabama's defense will have to live up to the standard it has since the early season loss to Missouri, find a way to dramatically improve the offense, and play with a chip on its shoulder.
Hope for the best.