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.
(H/T for the image: The fabulous Ms. Tyler Thompson.)
(The game is over. Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl sees Kentucky Coach John Calipari finish his post-game on-court interview. Coach Pearl moves swiftly through the crowded court and grabs Coach Calipari by the arm. Both men keep a pleasant, jovial appearance despite their conversation.)
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: Good win, Coach. What do ya want me to tell the NCAA?
FAKE-SMILING CALIPARI: Excuse me?
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: Them seersuckers up in Indy are gonna trot me up there and try to suspend me. They're already getting the word out.
FAKE-SMILING CALIPARI: Well, maybe you shouldn't have lied.
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: I shouldn't have gotten caught, John! But he that can't endure the bad, will not live to see the good. Besides, I've got a plan: when I finally go up there, I'm gonna offer them some insider information on dirty programs, coaches and kids.
FAKE-SMILING CALIPARI: What? You're joking.
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: Hell no I'm not! They've got a hard-on for busting coaches right now. I talked to Calhoun a few days ago and he's still cussin' up a storm about it. So I figure that if I throw the NCAA a few bones, they'll go easier on me.
FAKE-SMILING CALIPARI: Bruce, you're crazy. You're--
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: No no no! See, here's the thing: Everything I'm gonna tell them is not going to be true! Or just partly true. So I'll red herring those assholes and get them off our trail.
FAKE-SMILING CALIPARI: Our trail? Look, I don't want any part of this, Bruce.
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: It'll be easy! Just make something up that sounds right. Hell, I've already written a whole soliloquy that involves the Pump Brothers setting up off-shore bank accounts to recruit middle-schoolers into a summer training camp that's funded by New Balance shoes. I'm gonna tell those double-A's that the thinner Pump called me to see if I was interested in "coaching" in their "camp".
(Bruce makes quotation marks with his fingers when he says "coaching" and "camp".)
FAKE-SMILING CALIPARI: My God, Bruce, that's a horrible idea.
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: It'll work! Those -- what do you call dumbasses in your Italian-ese, yinzers? -- those Indy yinzers will buy it hook, like and sinker. It'll be great. Give me a few names: coaches that pissed you off or some of those greedy AAU shits-- oh! What about your 2012 class? I bet most of those kids are asking for some handouts.
FAKE-SMILING CALIPARI: Bruce, you're... wait, is that a microphone inside your blazer?!
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: No! Yes! Wait what did you ask me?
(Calipari pulls Bruce close for an seemingly friendly hug. Calipari wrestles his arm away from Bruce's forearm embrace and walks away. Bruce yells to Calipari as he walks away:)
FAKE-SMILING PEARL: Just give me a few names when you come to Knoxville, okay! (Bruce tilts his head down to his jacket lapel.) How was that?