Busting Brackets

Georgia vs Auburn: Game preview, TV schedule, prediction

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Horace Spencer
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Horace Spencer /

The Auburn Tigers continue to surge in the SEC while the once viable Georgia Bulldogs have plummeted. The two teams meet this afternoon in Athens.

TV Schedule: Saturday, February 10th, 2018, 3:30 ET, SEC Network

Arena: Stegeman Arena, Athens, Georgia

Auburn has been one of the most surprising stories in college basketball this season. They have sauntered near the bottom of the SEC since Bruce Pearl took over in 2014-’15. Now, they have surged to the top of the conference this season. With a 21-3 record and a 9-2 record in conference play they seem poised to continue that pattern of success into March. Today, they head to Athens to take on the struggling Georgia Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs started out their season by winning nine of their first 12 contests. Since then, they have lost seven of their last 11 games. Hence, they sit near the cellar of the SEC as they are currently in 10th place. However, both teams come into the game coming off a loss with Georgia losing to Vanderbilt and Auburn dropping a game to Texas A&M. That loss to the Aggies was their second conference loss this season. Yet, that may be a good thing in the Tigers case.

Not having the pressure to uphold any undefeated streak is now off their back. Perhaps that offers Auburn a sense of relief rather than peril. Regardless, the team will make the NCAA Tournament, either as an automatic bid or at-large qualifier. Even with some lost momentum, the Tigers are clearly the better of these two teams.

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The Tigers have one of the more high-powered offenses in the entire nation. Their near 86 points per game is eighth best in the entire country. Not to mention they feature four players who average over 11 points per game. The leaders are junior Bryce Brown and sophomore Mustapha Heron. Both players are supplying 16 points per game while shooting at least 42 percent from the field.

Their supporting cast revolves around Jared Harper and Desean Murray who each average over 11 points per game. For Murray, though he plays only 22 minutes per game, he shoots a blazing 50 percent from the field. Harper does not shoot that high of a clip, but he is a better three-point shooter than Murray.

As for Georgia, they are not as offensively diverse as Auburn. They only score 68 points per game, but they only allow 66 per game. That stiff defense had been the hallmark of the team in the early going. While they have been okay defensively since starting SEC play, they have been unable to put together consistent offensive attacks. Therefore, any decent defensive effort goes unheralded.

Much of this lack of success stems from their poor scoring distribution. They do feature one fantastic talent in Yante Maten. The senior forward is currently averaging 19 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. Along with that, Maten shoots a wildly efficient 46 percent from the field. However, the Bulldogs next highest scorer is junior William Jackson II, who averages only nine points per game. The team does not shoot the ball well from long-range, only shooting a 32 percent clip too.

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Despite coming off their second conference loss, Auburn will look to regroup on the road. They have a favorable match-up against a Georgia team that just does not have enough reliable offensive weapons to be consistently threatening. Look for this game to possibly get ugly if the Bulldog offense fails to show up early on.

Prediction: Auburn 75, Georgia 62