By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributring Writer
As the Wildcats prepare to face Georgia tonight in Athens, the Cats will be venturing into enemy territory for the first time this season. The Cats have played the first 13 games at Rupp (10 games) and at neutral venues (3 games). The trip to Georgia will be the first of 9 such trips for the Cats during the SEC season.
Both teams enter this game with 10-3 records. However, one of the Georgia wins came against unranked Chaminade. The Cats are also 1-0 in SEC action while Georgia will be playing its first SEC game of the season when they face the Cats. The Dawgs and Cats have faced two common opponents this season, #84 Georgia Tech and #4 Michigan State. The Cats defeated #4 Michigan State by 7 at MSG while Georgia lost to the Spartans by 8 points in Hawaii. The Cats defeated #84 Georgia Tech by 14 points at Rupp while the Dawgs defeated Georgia Tech by 4 at home.
Since sustaining its third loss of the season at #98 Arizona State by 20, the Dawgs have won their last four games, defeating #78 SMU by 2 in 2 OT periods, #174 Georgia Southern by 9, #190 Austin Peay by 30, and at #20 Memphis by 3. Georgia is playing their best basketball of the season as it begins SEC action against the Cats and enter this game with an ANE of 0.113 ppp.
The Cats have shown improvement in its game since its back to back losses in Las Vegas to #88 Utah and #3 Ohio State. The Cats defeated #11 Louisville by 8 in OT and #39 Missouri by 14 in the last two games, which has improved the team’s ANE to 0.192 ppp.
These trends indicate this game is dangerous for the Cats.
In summary, #75 Georgia brings a 10-3 (9-3 vs D1 opponents) record into the game. Georgia has played this season at an average tempo of 74.8 possessions per game at an ANE 0.113 ppp with a schedule strength of 0.012 ppp. The #32 Cats bring a 10-3 record into this game with an ANE of 0.192 ppp against a schedule strength of -0.013 ppp, having played at an average tempo of 68.9 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 2 points, 73-71.