Cuonzo Martin previews SEC Tournament
When/where: 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
TV/radio: SEC Network; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
About No. 12 seed Missouri (14-16): A week after playing in Athens, Missouri plays Georgia in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. The Tigers blew out Georgia in Athens 64-39 and then blew another second half lead to Ole Miss in its regular-season finale. Freshman Javon Pickett missed his first game of the season against the Rebels because of back spasms, but Cuonzo Martin expects him to play in Nashville. Missouri’s freshmen trio are peaking at the right time, as Xavier Pinson scored a career-high 20 points against Ole Miss, while Torrence Watson added 14. Watson had 17, including five threes, in Athens against Georgia. The MU-Georgia winner faces No. 5 seed Auburn around 2:20 p.m. Thursday in the second round.
About No. 13 seed Georgia (11-20): Nicolas Claxton remains Georgia’s top offensive threat after forward Rayshaun Hammonds was lost to injury for the season. The Bulldogs have help on the way for next season with a top-25 recruiting class headlined by five-star Atlanta native Anthony Edwards. Mizzou forward Mitchell Smith had a strong performance guarding Claxton, holding him to just three points in the first half. Georgia shot just 30 percent from three against Missouri, which makes it tough to keep pace with MU, especially when the Tigers are hitting threes.
Prediction: Georgia looked checked out against MU last week and given the margin of victory, it’s tough to see the Tigers getting sent home early. Missouri wins its first postseason game under Cuonzo Martin. Missouri 68, Georgia 58