Georgia, Arkansas in desperate need of victories

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 09 Feb, 2024 at 10:56 PM

Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams struggling to avoid finishing in one of the bottom four spots in the Southeastern Conference standings will match up Saturday when Georgia visits Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.

Teams finishing Nos. 11-14 in the final regular-season standings must play a first-round game in the conference tournament, while the top four earn byes to the quarterfinals and teams 5-10 automatically get berths in the second round.

The Bulldogs (14-9, 4-6 SEC) are tied with Mississippi State at No. 10 but lose out on the tiebreaker if they finish that way. Georgia would be an 11th seed by virtue of its 75-62 loss to Mississippi State on Wednesday in their only meeting.

The Razorbacks (11-11, 2-7 SEC) are mired in 12th place and need a win to get a season split with Georgia after their 76-66 loss on Jan. 10 in Athens, Ga.

The Bulldogs have gone only 2-6 since that win over the Razorbacks gave them a 2-0 start in the conference race.

Georgia coach Mike White, however, thought he saw some good things in the road loss to Mississippi State. It was a one-possession game until Mississippi State pulled away in the final six minutes.

"The final score I don't think indicates how close the game was down the stretch," White said. "The effort was there, the physicality was there and I thought our guys played really hard."

Noah Thomasson led Georgia with 20 points. He is second on the team this season with 12.3 points per game; Jabri Abdur-Rahim averages 13.2 ppg.

The Razorbacks have only a win over last-place Missouri to show from their last five games and are coming off a 21-point thrashing at LSU last Saturday.

Coach Eric Musselman cited two critical areas that have cost his Hogs.

"Defending the 3 and defending the dribble drive," he said. "If we were, we'd probably have a better record."

Senior guard Davonte Davis is expected to rejoin the Razorbacks after sitting out the last three games by his own decision. He has started 18 of 19 appearances and has averaged 6.3 points per game with a team-high 40 assists.

--Field Level Media