ATHENS — Coach Tom Crean says his Georgia basketball team is recharged and ready for Saturday’s battle in Baton Rouge.
The Bulldogs (15-15, 5-12 SEC) play at LSU (20-10, 11-6) at 2 p.m. in the Maravich Assembly Center (TV: ESPN2) looking to regain their edge following a home loss to Florida.
“Our team has really good success when we’re playing with that cutting and movement, when we’re getting on the offensive glass, and when we’re really connected defensively,” said Crean, whose team has won three of its past five games.
Georgia is assured it will play in the opening game of the SEC tournament at 7 p.m. next Wednesday (TV: SEC Network) against Missouri or Ole Miss in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Bulldogs would need to win the tournament to get an NCAA tournament bid.
An NIT bid remains a possibility.
Crean said on Friday the focus is on LSU, but finishing with a winning record this season would be a step forward.
“It’s big, it would be big,” said Crean, who has just three seniors on the team along with nine freshmen. “I put more focus on the fact we need to beat LSU than what the record would be.
“But to get back on the winning track, especially with the fact that we didn’t play the other night like we did the last couple of weeks, would be good for us.”
It’s the final regular-season game for Georgia star Anthony Edwards, who leads all freshmen with 19.6 points per game this season.
Edwards is projected to be an NBA lottery draft pick, but he has declined to make any statement about his playing status beyond this season.
Edwards is 59 points short of UGA’s freshman scoring record (646), set by Jacky Dorsey (1974-75).
Fellow Georgia freshman Sahvir Wheeler is four assists short of the Bulldogs’ freshman assist record held by Litterial Green.
Crean said keys to the game at LSU are to limit turnovers and stay active on the boards, where the Tigers are aggressive.
“The biggest thing to me is their rebounding” Crean said. “They do a great job of making sure they have a minimum of three guys on the offensive glass every time.”
The Tigers beat the Bulldogs in the teams’ most recent meeting last season, 83-79 in Athens.