Basketball Preview: Georgia vs. Tennessee

ATHENS - Josh Kendall takes a look at Georgia's game with Tennessee.

Georgia (17-11, 8-7 SEC) vs. Tennessee (21-9, 9-6)

Time/place: 4 p.m./Stegeman Coliseum

Broadcast: Lincoln Financial Sports television, 940-AM

About Tennessee: The Volunteers are the hottest team in the league, having won six of seven. Four of those five wins have come against Top 25 teams. … Tennessee is first in the SEC and 11th in the nation in scoring with 80.4 points per game. Its weaknesses are free throw shooting (11th SEC, 262nd nation) and rebounding (11th SEC, 241st nation). … The Volunteers will lock up the third seed in the SEC with a victory.

About Georgia: The Bulldogs will finish fourth or fifth in the Eastern Division. If Georgia wins and Florida beats Kentucky on Sunday, the Bulldogs will finish fourth. If Tennessee or Kentucky wins, Georgia will finish fifth. Still, it'll be the first time the Bulldogs haven't finished last in the league under Dennis Felton. … Center Dave Bliss (hip) and forward Albert Jackson (shoulder) missed Wednesday's Kentucky game and remain questionable today. It's likely that Bliss, a starter, will play, but he declined to discuss his status after Thursday's practice. … Two senior managers, Cory Cason and "Super" Dave Meropi, will also be honored before the game.

Scouting report: Georgia owes Tennessee one. The Volunteers were playing without Chris Lofton, the SEC's leading scorer, but thumped a listless Bulldog team in Knoxville, Tenn., earlier this season. JaJuan Smith and Ramar Smith took up the slack that night, combining for 43 points, and the Volunteers shot 57 percent from the floor. Lofton is back and has scored more than 20 points per game in four of his last five outings. Expect the Volunteers to put pressure on the Bulldogs, who are thin at guard now that Mike Mercer is gone. Georgia point guard Sundiata Gaines will either have to play all 40 minutes, or Billy Humphrey will have to show an as-yet unseen skill handling pressure for Georgia to have success.

Up next: Georgia vs. TBD, Thursday, SEC Tournament, Atlanta; Tennessee vs. TBD, Thursday, SEC Tournament, Atlanta


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