By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
When the Cats hit the road a week ago for a two game swing through South Carolina and Arkansas, many believed the Cats needed to get at least one road win and hoped to get two. The Cats return to Rupp Arena tonight having split the two games, but the Cats won the game regarded as most difficult of the two and lost to the weaker opponent on that trip. When the Cats return to the Rupp floor Tuesday, they will face Georgia for the second time in two weeks, the first rematch of the 2019-20 season.
Two weeks ago, the Cats beat the Dawgs by 9, 78-69 despite trailing at the half by 6, 37-31. In the second half, the Cats clawed into a 1 point lead, 58-57, on a 3 point basket by Immanuel Quickley with 8:04 left in the game. The Cats did not relinquish the lead over the closing 8 minutes of the game.
Since that game, the Dawgs have lost 2 of their 3 games, losing at Auburn and Mississippi State and beating Tennessee in Athens. Meanwhile, the Cats have won 2 of their 3 games, losing at South Carolina and winning at Arkansas and over Alabama at Rupp. Georgia brings an 11-6, 1-3 record into Rupp, and the Cats will put their 13-4, 4-1 record on the line.
Georgia’s current ANE is an 0.093 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.051 ppp and a tempo of 73.0 possessions per game. The Cats bring an ANE of 0.204 ppp into this game having played a schedule strength of 0.049 ppp at a tempo of 70.1 possessions per game.
Based on this data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 72 possessions with the Cats winning by 12 points, 78-66.