Talk about anticlimactic, this Saturday’s game at Georgia fills the bill for Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide. After clinching the SEC title last Saturday on the road in Starkville, and finishing off the season sweep of Auburn at home on Tuesday, the Tide has little to play for. A number two seed in the NCAA Tournament is all but locked down. The only positive is to keep the rust off before the SEC Tournament begins.
Per usual the Bulldogs of Georgia have been a disappointment, as they sit with a 14-10 overall record and a 7-10 SEC mark. The only positive is a 12-4 record at home. Coach Tom Crean hasn’t been the savior the fan base expected, and has had about as much success as his brother-in-law, Jim Harbaugh.
The Dawgs shoot fairly well inside the arc, 46% on total field goals, but knock down only 31% from three and 69% at the free throw line. UGA allow, and score, 77.7 points per game, grab 37.5 rebounds and commit 16.7 turnovers per game. As a team they have 356 assists and 400 turnovers on the season.
Shavi Wheeler is the team’s leading scorer, and he should be since he has taken by far the most shots, with 308. Wheeler averages 13.8 points per game, four rebounds, and just over seven assists a game. However, he only makes 39% of his field goals and 23% of his three point shots. KD Johnson comes off the bench and pours in 13.4 points per game, and makes 37% of his three point attempts. Toumuni Caman is the big man in the middle with 12.7 points per game and 7.7 rebounds. Justin Kier is another starter and scores at a 9.6 ppg clip and hits 39% of his three’s. Tye Fagan and PJ Horne round out the starting unit and both average right at nine points per game. Fagan make 58% of his shots and adds 4.5 rebounds, while Horne scores 8.6 and makes 36% from deep. Andrew Garcia joins Johnson as the main threat off the bench and scores 9.1 ppg on 55% FG shooting.
Keys To Victory:
- Be engaged. Alabama is a much better team and just needs to want to be there.
- Continue the defensive pressure. UGA will turn it over, and the Tide gets nine steals per game.
- Run and gun. Play fast, take advantage of second chances, finish the fast break opportunities.
- Make shots! The Tide has proven they can win when teams “muck” things up and can win with defense. The offense needs to get tuned up and ready for post season play. Be that team with consistent offense and this group can beat anyone. If they get in a slugfest down the road with a big, strong team and the shots don’t fall, the Tide will be in trouble.
It would be great to win and finish 16-2 in the league, but this game will not affect seeding in the SEC or NCAA Tournaments. Does Nate Oats need to be cautious with Herbert Jones and his banged up body? Does he let John Petty and Jaden Shackelford rest, or let Jordan Bruner rest his achy knees? Maybe he should, but I’m inclined to think that those type moves aren’t in his DNA. I would love to see Joshua Primo to get his mojo back and for Keon Ellis show his skill set. I have Alabama winning a fairly comfortable game as they sharpen up their shooting touch for the post season.