Alabama has allowed 160 3-point field goals made by all opponents, which is the lowest amount in the SEC and the 40th-lowest amount of all Division I teams. Regardless of the perception, Kentucky opened up the bomb bay doors and caused massive damage. Kentucky's long guards had no issues with Alabama's guards perimeter pressure, as the Wildcats made 9 three-pointers on 20 attempts and opened up Kentucky's offensive execution inside the arc.
Injuries and fouls limited Alabama's gameplan. Junior forward JaMychal Green stayed in foul trouble and sophomore forward Tony Mitchell missed a big stretch of the 1st half with an injury. Alabama found themselves in a hole but couldn't use their normally-strong defense to claw themselves back into contention.
Kentucky blows away the Crimson Tide 72-58. But Kentucky fans aren't celebrating too throughly, as freshman Guard Doron Lamb hurt his ankle with less than 2 minutes left in the game. No word yet on the extent of Lamb's injury, but if Lamb was unable to play tomorrow, Kentucky's thin bench might be transparent.
Given Alabama's schedule concerns, their loss may end up pushing them into the NIT. Perhaps they'll find another match-up with Georgia there.
For 35 minutes, Georgia dominated Alabama. Then somehow the Crimson Tide kept fighting to tie the game with just seconds left. Georgia pushes for a shot and it banks in... but Georgia Coach Mark Fox called timeout! Georgia can't get a good shot with just 0.8 seconds left, the game goes into overtime... and Alabama takes control by forcing turnovers.
Alabama wins 65-59, and Georgia fans have to be crying. Hopefully Georgia has done just enough to get into the NCAA Tournament; I'd love to see wily Coach Fox again this season!
Friday afternoon of the SEC Tournament welcomes the top teams into the fray. One of these bye-winning teams is still fighting their way into the NCAA Tournament picture and has a tough matchup with another NCAA-desperate team. The other top team better win or I'm going to be in a foul mood.
If you can't watch on a local SEC Network partner (PDF), perhaps you can watch via ESPN3. After each game is complete, I'll have a Quick, Fake Summary of the game posted here on HTA.com. Enjoy the games!
E4 Georgia vs. W1 Auburn
After over a month of limited play, Alabama senior guard Charvez Davis finally caught fire. He dropped 5 of 10 3-pointers (4 in the second half) and scored 17 points total. This complemented 'bama's JaMychal Green's 19 points and 9 rebounds and Tony Mitchell's 13 points off the bench to overpower the Bulldogs 65-57.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: Captain Falcon. Defensively Captain Falcon is all about pressure; Georgia forcing opponents to take tough shots (and blocks a bunch!) while preventing opponents' offensive rebounding. The Bulldogs also do their scoring on the inside, with Trey Thompkins providing the Smash Attacks, Gerald Robinson providing Falcon Punches and Travis Leslie giving Falcon Kicks.
Stupidest Thing That Happened To Them This Season: Losing four very-winnable games (Tennessee, Florida, Xavier & Vandy) at home. Win two of those 4 games and Georgia isn't fighting for a NCAA bubble spot.
How They'll Win This Game: Jeremy Price has to limit his fouls and stay in the game. Price might not be the best individual match-up against Alabama's JaMychal Green, but Price should be used to limit Tony Mitchell and Alabama's offensive rebounding.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: Lucario. Excellent vertical control and defense that results in controlling rebounding, steals, blocks and forcing turnovers. Strong interior offensive play that gets stronger as the game comes to an end.
Stupidest Thing That Happened To Them This Season: Tim Higgins being Tim Higgins. If Alabama wins that game at Nashville, I bet they improve themselves just enough to be considered currently on-the-bubble.
How They'll Win This Game: Dominate inside. Getting another great game from Charvez Davis isn't necessary, but Alabama will need some offensive output from someone like Andrew Steele or Trevor Releford penetrating inside and drawing Georgia fouls.
Alabama by 4. Alabama's backcourt outplays Georgia's backcourt and the Crimson Tide get enough production from their frontcourt to overcome Georgia's scrappy play.
W4 Ole Miss vs. E2 Kentucky
Ole Miss hung tough against missing their own shots early and then built an 11-point lead in the 2nd half thanks to lackluster Kentucky defense. To the Wildcats' credit, they battled back but couldn't quite seal the deal; Ole Miss' Chris Warren hit a 3-point dagger to put the Rebels ahead with 2.9 seconds left. Warren's 22-points & 3 assists lifted the Rebels over the Wildcats 71-69.
About Ole Miss
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: Zero Suit Samus. Really not strong on the inside defensively, but can absolutely pour on the damage from quick outside-in attacks or on the tip of her Plasma Whip.
Stupidest Thing That Happened To Them This Season:: Not going with Admiral Ackbar. Or Hotty Totty Man, which would have provided Duff Man type of humor. OH YEAH!
How They'll Win This Game: Playing the Wildcats physical isn't necessarily going to make Coach John Calipari's team to shirk again. Warren should produce another strong outside shooting effort -- the Wildcats have been weak at defending the arc -- but he'll need to ensure that his teammates all produce offense. Keeping the Wildcats' defense scrambling and off-balance will allow Warren to feast again.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Character That Best Describes The Team: Marth. Incredible offense output and quickness. Long reach provides incredible defensive capabilities. When played by a focused player, it can be an unstoppable juggernaut; when carelessly button-mashing, will let inferior opponents have openings.
Stupidest Thing That Happened To Them This Season:: When John Calipari lip-reading stopped being polite and started getting real.
How They'll Win This Game: Junior Guard DeAndre Liggins needs to play more than 22 minutes and not argue with the refs. Junior Forward Darius Miller will need to continue taking a more active role offensively. Freshman Forward Terrence Jones should feast again on Ole Miss' interior. Really, the Wildcats just need to play defense for about 35 minutes of the game and should scoot away with a win.
Ole Miss-Kentucky Prediction
Kentucky by 7. Revenge is a dish best served cold. In Atlanta, it's served with a ice-cold Coca-Cola.