Basketball Preview: Georgia vs. Air Force

Josh Kendall takes a look at Georgia's NIT game with Air Force.

No. 3 seed Georgia (19-13) vs. No. 1 seed Air Force (24-8)

Time/place: 9 p.m./Colorado Springs, Colo.

Broadcast: ESPNU

About Air Force: The Falcons finished 10-6 this year in the Mountain West conference. They hoped they would receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament thanks to an RPI ranking of No. 30, but four straight losses to finish the regular season and conference tournament ended that hope. … Air Force excels with its zone defense. It is second in the country in points allowed (55.9). Part of that is attributable to a slow-paced offense that averages 69.1 points per game, 169th in the nation. The Falcons' scoring margin of plus-13.2 is the 11th best in the country. … Air Force has three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by 6-foot-5 senior forward Dan Nwaelele, who gets 14.3 per game. Jacob Burtschi (13.3) and Matt McCraw (10.8) also average more than 10 per game. … The Air Force campus is 7,000 feet above sea level, and it has lost just once their this season.

About Georgia: Senior guard Levi Stukes is coming off a season-best 30 points against Fresno State, against whom he hit 8-of-9 3-point shots. The bad news for Georgia fans is Stukes hasn't had back-to-back games with double-figure scoring since Feb. 14. The last time he had more than 20 (against Auburn in the SEC Tournament), he followed that up with four (against Florida). … One more victory will give Georgia its first 20-win season since 2002. … This will be the first meeting between Georgia and Air Force. The Bulldogs only game against a U.S. service academy was a 57-52 loss to Navy in 1963. … The Bulldogs win last week over Fresno State was their first national postseason win in five years. … This is Georgia's fifth trip to the state of Colorado for a basketball game. … The Bulldogs are now 11-10 all-time in NIT games.

Scouting report: The pace will be key tonight. Georgia would love to make the walk-the-floor Falcons play an up-tempo game. The Bulldogs might even employ some limited full court press to encourage that pace. What will be most important, though, is getting defensive rebounds and getting the ball out and up the floor quickly. If the Bulldogs can make the game about bulk and athleticism rather than execution, they'll win. If both teams scoring in the 60s or even 50s, expect Air Force to advance.

Up next: Winner plays winner of game between second-seed Kansas State and third-seed DePaul, Wednesday, higher-seed team will host game

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