The common perspective that a fan or an outside observer will take when previewing the Georgia Bulldogs (10-9; 1-3) showdown with the Kentucky Wildcats (19-1; 5-0) Tuesday night might probably look something like this: Kentucky is going to blow them out.
In all honesty that prediction doesn’t seem too farfetched.
The Cats are #1 in both the AP and Coache’s poll, and they’ve already toppled college basketball powerhouses like Kansas, North Carolina and Louisville.
Kentucky is leading the SEC in both scoring (75 ppg) and scoring margin (+12.4), looking every bit like a team thats roster is peppered with McDonald’s All-Americans (which it is). Most of the Wildcat players wouldn’t dare dream of playing for a school like Georgia, while I’d venture to say that at least a few of the Bulldogs probably aspired at some point in their early high school years to play for Kentucky.
The Cats’ frontcourt features two players – Anthony Davis and Terrance Jones – that could legitimately be starting on NBA teams next year. Davis has been a monster in the paint through his first five SEC games, averaging 16.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and an unprecedented 5.2 blocks.
Sophomore Terrance Jones, an elderly statesman by Coach Calipari standards, is the team’s second-leading scorer at 14 points to go along with 5.6 boards.
All three of the Kentucky guards – Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – are averaging in double-figures as well through five conference games.
In his pregame press conference Georgia Coach Mark Fox spoke very highly of the Cats stating, “There’s nothing that Kentucky doesn’t do well. They score from every position; they are outstanding defensively. They have terrific talent off the bench – this is a team that has little if any weakness and that’s why they’re number one in the country and rolling along as they are.”
In light of the many reasons that exist to assume that Georgia will lose the game in Stegeman against Kentucky you cannot completely count the Dawgs out of this one.
Georgia has had an up and down season so far with probably a bit more down than up, but they have won games – Notre Dame and Tennessee – that make you wonder if they just might have an upset in them. Earlier this season the Bulldogs edged out a 61-57 victory over Notre Dame in Kansas City, Missouri – the same Irish team that toppled #1 Syracuse last Saturday night in South Bend, Indiana.
Last Wednesday Georgia notched its first SEC win of the season with a 57-53 overtime win over Tennessee in Athens. What did Tennessee do in its next game? The Vols knocked off the #11 Connecticut Huskies in Knoxville on Saturday.
I realize that comparisons like the ones listed above are not without their logical reasoning flaws, but they do show that UGA has the “potential” to upend a highly ranked opponent.
“We’re expecting a hard-fought basketball game from a very talented team,” said senior guard Gerald Robinson, Jr., who has been playing out of his mind the last two games. Last week Robinson filled up the stat sheet, averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in games against Tennessee and Ole Miss.
The game plan, according to Gerald is simple: “We got to come with a high intensity basketball game for all forty minutes.”
I couldn’t agree more myself.