TV Schedule: Tuesday, Dec. 22, 6:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Arena: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, GA
Line: Georgia (-4)
2016 NCAA tournament hopes still remain alive for the Georgia Bulldogs and Clemson Tigers, but both have struggled against seemingly weaker teams this season. Facing off on Tuesday night, these two teams will be desperate for a win, because a victory against a fellow mid-level Power 5 conference team could be the difference between a trip to the NIT and the NCAA tournament.
Georgia continues to quietly rack up wins over quality opponents and their losses have come to teams who will likely either make the 2016 NCAA tournament or the NIT. J.J. Frazier, Kenny Gaines and Yante Madden have all shown the ability to step up and have big games when they need to, which bodes well for the difficult SEC slate that this team has coming up very soon.
Clemson, on the other hand, boast few quality wins on the season and have a few questionable losses to teams like the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the UMass Minutemen. The Tigers have the talent to pull off upsets, but seem to freeze up late in games. Three of their four losses this season have come by two or less possessions, and Clemson could find themselves on the outside looking in to the NIT unless they start finishing games. With ACC play looming, things are not looking good for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs are favored in this one for good reason. Not only is this game at home for Georgia, but the Tigers are coming off of another disappointing loss while the Bulldogs are coming off of a great win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Jaron Blossomgame will once again show out for Clemson, but the Bulldogs win this one and start to build momentum heading into SEC play.
Prediction: Georgia 68, Clemson 62