SEC Basketball Thursday Predictions: Georgia at Alabama

In Predictions by Blake Lovell

We already saw two bubble teams capture wins on Wednesday, with Vanderbilt winning at Tennessee, and Arkansas holding off Texas A&M in Fayetteville.

Can Alabama take a step closer towards at-large consideration with a win over Georgia?

Here’s a quick preview and prediction.

Prediction Record: 59-34 (conference play + SEC/Big 12 Challenge)

Georgia at Alabama – 7 PM ET, ESPN2

The Bulldogs took a big hit against Kentucky when Yante Maten when out with a knee injury.

We’ve since learned that Maten is likely out for the rest of the regular season, but all is not lost for Georgia. Keep in mind that Mark Fox’s team played well enough to still give the Wildcats all they could handle in Athens, with JJ Frazier once again leading the way with a 36-point effort.

But the facts are simple: Georgia is a better team with Maten on the court. That’s what’ll make this trip to Tuscaloosa a tall order for Frazier and company.

Alabama knows what’s at stake here. Despite being 16-10 overall and 9-5 in the SEC, the Crimson Tide wouldn’t be in the NCAA tournament discussion if the season ended today. Avery Johnson’s squad lacks quality wins right now, and the six of the team’s nine conference wins have come against the league’s bottom three (Mississippi State, Missouri, and LSU).

So, for the Crimson Tide to feel better about their chances, winning the final four games of the season is the best formula. Winning three of four and grabbing a victory or two in the SEC tournament would also put Alabama in the discussion.

When these two teams met a month ago, Alabama controlled the glass and held Frazier to just four points (Maten had 20). It also helped that freshman Braxton Key scored a career-high 26.

It’ll be hard to hold Frazier to that level in this game since he will be carrying the bulk of the load on offense.

However,  I think the Crimson Tide do a good enough job limiting everyone else’s production and walk away victorious.

Prediction: Alabama 68, Georgia 61

Blake Lovell is the founder of Southeast Hoops. He hosts the Marching to Madness podcast, which features interviews with coaches around the country. He also hosts a weekly college basketball show on WNSR 560AM/95.9 FM in Nashville. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Athlon Sports, Rivals, FanRag Sports, and many more.