My Two Cents: Georgia has announced that Yante Maten will not be available for the remainder of the regular season due to a knee injury in the Kentucky game. Avery said in today's press conference that they prepared as if Maten will play, though it appears very likely that Maten will miss this game. That is certainly to Alabama's advantage, being that Maten is one of the top five players in the league this season. While J.J. Frazier is more than capable of carrying a team, Alabama has to take advantage of Maten's absence and win this game.
Players to Watch: Earlier this season, I found myself cringing every time Ar'Mond Davis touched the ball. Ar'Mond had no concept of shot selection, firing up shots every time he touched the ball. In many instances, he did more harm than good for his team on the offensive end. That issue began to affect his minutes, and for a moment, it appeared as if the bench would swallow him. To his credit, he improved not only his shot selection, but showed improvement as a defender and rebounder as well. Now, that's not to say he isn't still wired to score, but he's been much more efficient on the offensive end since working himself back into the rotation. He was a real spark in the LSU game, knocking down 62% of his shots en route to a 15-point night. He was also crucial in the road win at South Carolina.
With Yante Maten out for an indefinite period, J.J. Frazier will be leaned on heavily to get this Georgia team back to the postseason. Frazier is more than capable, as he proved in the Kentucky game with a 36 point performance. Georgia may have lost that game, but they proved to themselves they can still compete without Maten on the floor.
Prediction: With Maten out, and it being a home game, Alabama has to find a way to win this game. Some fans are talking about the tournament, but I don't even believe the team is on the bubble yet. Hopefully this team avoids the outside noise better than last season's team, which lost back-to-back home games late in the season that shattered the bubble. On the surface, Alabama's 9-5 record looks good, until you realize that 6 of those 9 wins came against Mississippi State, Missouri and LSU, the three bottom teams in the standings. Add the fact that this Alabama team has no non-conference wins of significance, and the tournament talk needs to die down. Let's see where this team is going into the conference tournament, and then we'll talk. As far as this game goes: Avery and his staff have done a great job this season game-planning for the opposing team's best player. I think our guys limit Frazier, and Alabama scores enough points to get the win. Alabama - 64 - Georgia - 54