Auburn (8-11) at Georgia (8-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) -- Athens, Georgia. Television: CSS. Home Record: Auburn 6-5, Georgia 7-5. Away Record: Auburn 1-3, Georgia 1-4. Neutral Record: Auburn 1-3, Georgia 0-2. Conference Record: Auburn 2-4, Georgia 2-4. Series Record: Georgia leads, 89-88.
GAME NOTES: The Auburn Tigers attempt halt a season-long losing streak on Wednesday night when they square off with the Georgia Bulldogs in an SEC tilt at Stegeman Coliseum.
Auburn opened up its SEC slate with a pair of wins over LSU and South Carolina earlier this month, which gave it six wins in eight games, but since then it has been reeling with four straight defeats. The Tigers most recently hosted nationally-ranked Ole Miss last Saturday, and although they fought to the wire, they fell on the wrong end of a 63-61 decision.
Georgia's season has been eerily similar to Auburn's as the two squads boast the same 8-11 record and 2-4 mark in conference play, but while the Tigers are slipping, the Bulldogs have played well of late with wins in two of their last three. They faced a difficult task traveling to College Station for a date with Texas A&M last Saturday, but they prevailed, 59-52.
These programs have played each other neck-and-neck over the years, with the Bulldogs clinging to an 89-88 lead. Auburn won last season's matchup, 59-51.
The Tigers tied a tightly-contested matchup with Ole Miss over the weekend with a minute remaining, as Chris Denson went 1-of-2 at the foul line, but with just six seconds left they fouled the SEC's leading scorer Marshall Henderson, and he drained two at the line to hand them a heartbreaking loss. Auburn had a below-average shooting night (.370), which included just a 6- of-23 showing from 3-point range. Denson made his mark in 26 minutes off the bench, shooting 6-of-9 from the field and 6-of-8 from the foul line for 18 points. Frankie Sullivan scored 12 points, but struggled from the field (3- of-11), and while Rob Chubb netted just a single point, he finished with 10 rebounds and four blocks. Auburn outscores its opponents on the season, but just barely, netting 68.1 ppg while allowing 67.1 ppg. Sullivan is the SEC's third-leading scorer at 16.9 ppg, but he shoots less than 40 percent from the field and less than 30 percent from beyond the arc. Denson chips in 11.9 ppg, while Chubb clogs the lane with 9.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg and a block per contest.
On the season, Georgia owns the SEC's worst scoring offense, averaging a mere 59.4 ppg, and it didn't do much to improve its status in Saturday's game, as the team shot just 19-of-44 from the field on its way to 59 points. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they held Texas A&M to an even worse 17-of-49 shooting (.347) as they captured the impressive seven-point road victory. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the catalyst in the triumph, shooting 8-of-12 from the floor (including 4-of-8 from 3-point range) for 22 points, while also adding nine rebounds, two steals, and a block. The performance was no rare feat for the sophomore guard, who ranks second in the SEC in scoring at 17.3 ppg, while also leading his team in rebounding (6.4 ppg) and steals (2.4 spg). The Bulldogs' issue has been Caldwell-Pope's supporting cast, as the next- highest scorer is Nemanja Djurisic with just 7.9 ppg. UGA also has a problem holding on to the basketball, ranking last in the league with a minus-2.5 turnover margin.
These two squads appear to be rather evenly-matched in that they have both been rather unspectacular this season despite the presence of elite scorers. The edge in this bout has to go to Georgia however, as it is riding the hotter hand and has the home court advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 63, Auburn 60
01/30 10:35:41 ET