By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
At halftime on Tuesday night, the Cats trailed by six points, and the Georgia players celebrated their “victory” a bit aggressively, and inappropriately, as they left the floor. The second half told an entirely different story as the Cats dominated 47-32 to seal an all-important SEC road win in the Cats’ first true road game of the season.
Some observers have said that the second half in Athens was perhaps the best half of basketball that this team has played this season. I am not sure if that is indeed the case, but there is no denying that it is among the strongest halves of basketball, if not the best so far this season.
Now the Cats return to Rupp to face Alabama before venturing out for a two-game road swing through South Carolina and Arkansas. The first week of SEC action has produced four teams with a 2-0 start, Auburn, Kentucky, Florida and LSU. Another four teams split their first two SEC games, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Alabama. The rest of the SEC members are still looking for their first 2020 conference win.
Alabama enters this game with an 8-6 record, 1-1 in the SEC. After a 2-4 start, Alabama has won 6 of its last 8 games. The Tide’s most impressive wins thus far this season have been over #74 Mississippi State by 21 earlier this week with a game ANE of 0.37 ppp. Alabama has lost three times this season with a negative game ANE to #142 Penn by 1, to #82 Rhode Island by 14, and to #70 Iowa State by 15. Despite these negative performances, Alabama’s current ANE is an impressive 0.142 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.065 ppp and a tempo of 78.1 possessions per game.
The Cats bring an ANE of 0.201 ppp into this game having played a schedule strength of 0.000 ppp at a tempo of 69.1 possessions per game.
Based on this data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 74 possessions with the Cats winning by 9 points, 79-70.