Preview: Georgia Basketball Takes on Missouri

Brent Wilson

The Georgia Bulldogs' season has hit a brick wall. After the 10-3 start to the season, Georgia has now fallen to 11-8, losing 5 of the last 6 match-ups. Luckily for Georgia, this tough month of January is nearly complete and the Bulldogs still have more than a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. But, this game against Missouri (9-10) is starting to be seen as a "must-win" for Georgia, if they choose to continue this dream.

As seen by their record, Missouri isn't having a season to remember by any means. The Tigers have lost 6 of their last 7, with their one win being over Florida. But much like in any other sport, a record can be deceiving in the SEC, as any team has a chance to win on any given day.

Given the home-court advantage, the Tigers come into the game as a 4-point favorite. ESPN's Basketball Power Index gives Georgia just a 24.2% chance to improve to 12-8.

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Tom Crean coaching vs. Ole Miss last Saturday

While a win might not do much for the team's record and postseason chances, it does keep their hopes alive. But the big take away from this game would be the boost of morale, which can go a long way for a team that has 9 true freshmen on the roster. With there still being tons of basketball left to play in the regular season, a confidence-boosting win is a necessity for the Georgia Bulldogs, and they'll have a chance to earn one tonight. 

To win this game, Georgia has one key task to face: stop Dru Smith. Much like Nicolas Claxton performed last year for Georgia, Smith leads his team in points, assists, rebounds, and steals. He's also shooting an efficient 35% from deep, as well as 90.7% from the free-throw line. Missouri basketball runs through Smith, and he'll need to be limited on both sides of the ball if Georgia wishes to leave Columbia with a win.

For Georgia, there's a lot of aspects of the game that need to be addressed. However, primarily, the team needs to get their offensive touch back in line for not only this game but for the rest of the regular season and post-season play. There's a lot of games left to play, but not a lot will come from it if Georgia continues to have poor offensive nights, scoring just 69.5 PPG in the past 6 outings.

Georgia's Statistical Leaders:

Points: Anthony Edwards - 18.6 PPG

Rebounds: Rayshaun Hammonds - 8.1 RPG 

Assists: Sahvir Wheeler (UGA)- 4.4 APG

Projected Starting Lineup:

G- (Grad.) Donnell Gresham Jr.

G- (Freshman) Sahvir Wheeler

G- (Freshman) Anthony Edwards

F- (Freshman) Toumani Camara

F- (Junior) Rayshaun Hammonds

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