It will be the battle of the Bulldogs saturday morning in Athens as Georgia hosts Louisiana Tech in the second round of the NIT. Georgia came from behind to defeat Vermont 63-56 on Wednesday while Louisiana Tech held on for an 89-88 win over Iona.
Georgia comes into the game with a 20-13 record and finished tied for second in the SEC's regular season. They fell to Kentucky in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Louisiana Tech is 28-7 and were among four teams tied for the Conference USA lead with a 13-3 record. They fell to Tulsa in the finals of the conference tournament.
Saturday's game will be a battle of pace and tempo. Louisiana Tech likes to get up and down the floor and are averaging 81.0 points per game on the season. Georgia would rather slow the pace and have struggled at times this season against teams that like to run.
The game will feature an interesting matchup at the point guard position between Georgia's Charles Mann and Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Smith. Mann leads the Bulldogs in scoring and turned in one of his best scoring performances of his career in the win over Vermont. Smith is the engine that drives the Louisiana Tech attack. He averages 7.6 points but dishes out 7.9 assists and also averages 2.6 steals per game.
Alex Hamilton is Louisiana Tech's top scorer at 14.5 points but is one of four players averaging in double figures. The Bulldogs aren't a very big team but they are athletic which suits their style of play perfectly.
Georgia can combat Louisiana Tech's speed by controlling the boards and make them execute in the halfcourt. Mark Fox's club has been good on the boards all season and they will need another strong performance on Saturday. Also it is imperative that Georgia take better care of the basketball after a 22 turnover performance in the NIT opener against Vermont. That is a recipe for disaster against a club like Louisiana Tech.
Its an early start time on Saturday but the Georgia Athletic Department is once again pulling out all stops to ensure there will be a big crowd on hand. Students will once again be admitted free to the game and head coach Mark Fox will be there early handing out Chick-fil-A biscuits to those waiting in line.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, March 22, 11:00 a.m.
Location: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Georgia
Radio: Bulldog Radio Network