Jan 24, 2024; Athens, Georgia, USA; LSU Tigers guard Trae Hannibal (0) dribbles against Georgia Bulldogs center Russel Tchewa (54) during the second half at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

LSU Tigers host Georgia Bulldogs in SEC Basketball Faceoff

In a battle of middling SEC teams, the LSU Tigers (14-13, 6-8 SEC) host the Georgia Bulldogs (15-12, 5-9 SEC) on Wednesday night.

Improving, But Not There Yet

Both Georgia and LSU have improved from last season. Just over a year ago, the Tigers were the worst team in the conference, going 14-19 overall and 2-16 in the SEC. Georgia didn’t fare much better at 16-16 overall and 6-12 in the conference. The two teams played in the first round of the SEC Tournament, where LSU upset Georgia 72-67 before losing to Vanderbilt in the next round.

While both these teams are performing better than last season, they still sit towards the bottom of the SEC. The Bulldogs began the season 12-3 but have struggled since the start of conference play.

Previous Matchup

LSU and Georgia last squared off on January 24 in a thriller, with the Bulldogs edging out the Tigers, 68-66. Russel Tchewa completed a three-point play with 2.3 seconds left to give Georgia the lead. The Bulldogs almost squandered a 61-52 lead down the stretch but was able to hold on for the win.

Tchewa and Silas Demary Jr. proved to be the heroes for Georgia, scoring 11 and 15 points respectively. LSU’s Jalen Cook scored 21 points in the losing effort.

The Rosters

The LSU Tigers received a huge blow to their season on February 13, when leading scorer Jalen Cook sustained a leg injury. Cook is averaging a team-high 15.6 points but has only appeared in 13 out of 27 games due to the injury. LSU Head Coach Matt McMahon shared that Cook remains day-to-day.

In his absence, Jordan Wright and Will Baker have stepped up as the top scorers with 14.9 and 11.9 points per game, respectively.

Georgia’s roster is very well-balanced in terms of scoring production, with five players, Noah Thomasson, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, RJ Melendez, Justin Hill and Demary Jr., all scoring 9 or more points per game.

Looking Towards March

LSU has lost seven of its last ten games heading into Wednesday’s game. Similarly, Georgia has lost seven of its last eight.

Both teams have four games left in the regular season but sit well out of reach of the bubble. The Tigers and Bulldogs will both need lengthy SEC Tournament runs if they hope to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

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