8 p.m. Tuesday at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga.• TV/RADI O:
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Just when the Tigers’ fortunes seemed to have turned, the loss at Alabama snapped a three-game win streak and left Missouri in a seven-way tie for fourth place in the SEC standings. That fourth spot is critical as it affords a double bye during the SEC Tournament next month at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Thanks to the loss to the Crimson Tide, the Tigers almost certainly must pick off the Bulldogs for a crack at that double bye. Missouri had never lost to Georgia in basketball before dropping the SEC opener 70-64 in overtime at Mizzou Arena. Senior Earnest Ross is averaging 19.0 points during the Tigers’ last five games.• ABOUT GEORGIA (15-11, 9-5 SEC):
The Bulldogs outmuscled Missouri 43-34 on the boards in the first meeting with five players grabbing at least five rebounds in an overtime victory. Georgia also is one of seven teams to get to the free-throw line more than Missouri, which is 2-5 in those games. Sophomore guard Kenny Gaines is coming off a career-high 27 points against South Carolina. He hit five three-pointers in that game, but the Tigers can’t sleep on backcourt mate Charles Mann either. Mann led the Bulldogs with 18 in the victory against Missouri.
When Missouri faltered against Georgia in its SEC opener Jan. 8, it was harbinger of the struggles to come in conference play. At the time, it seemed destined to be the Tigers’ worst loss of the season, but the Bulldogs have been the biggest surprise in the SEC and sit alone in third place after limping through nonconference play. Now, Missouri is coming off its worst loss of the season against an Alabama team with an RPI of 127. It’s a tall order to win at Georgia, which is 6-1 in conference play at home.
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