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GAMETIME: Kentucky vs. Georgia

Senior Night at Kentucky. One of the most celebrated and hallowed days on the sports calendar for Bluegrass denizens. And yet, this year wears a different look.

If the Cats were riding into this game in the top 10, eyeing a higher seed in the NCAA tournament and chasing the Gators for the SEC crown, things might be different. But the Cats aren't there.

Instead, a cloud hangs over the team, and in some ways this moment is rather crystallized. In case you didn't know, the seniors being honored tonight are perhaps the most maligned as a class in a decade or more.

But the three -- Bobby Perry, Sheray Thomas and Lukasz Orbzut -- always hustled, always gave everything they had. And it's a shame, in some ways, that they're being trashed by internet heroes like myself despite their max efforts.

At any rate, the underlying storylines here are many and formative. Tubby Smith is under fire, the team is either ready to put it together (Tubby's view) or just not getting it done (most everyone else).

If all that wasn't enough, one of the Cats' two McDonald's All-American recruiting targets, Jai Lucas, will be in the house observing as he moves towards a decision.

Got all that? Whew.

Tru takes a closer look at the Bulldogs in preview.

The simple truth is that the Cats cannot lose tonight without (a) further damaging Tubby's standing and (b) legitimately jeopardizing their own NCAA at-large chances.

What to look for:
* Pride (In the name of Woo). This Wildcats team has struggled all year to show and play with requisite emotion. Perhaps the Senior Night festivities will give them the spark they need to grab a needed win at home over an undermanned opponent.

* Distraction Junction. As much as he'd like to tell us otherwise, Tubby's job situation has to affect the team, even if only internally. The question is whether the boys in blue can put off questions about the future and focus on the now. There's not much time left before one loss ends the season, and for some, their UK careers.

* Jodie Jodie Jodie. Freshman Jodie Meeks, last week's SEC Freshman of the Week, has been a bright spot for this struggling team, emerging as a scoring threat. One wonders if the end of the Vanderbilt might have gone differently had the best scorer on the court in blue not cramped up with just a few minutes remaining. Meeks needs to continue to take charge.

Probable starting lineups

PG: Jodie Meeks (6'5"/206 Fr.) 8.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
SG: Ramel Bradley (6'3"/175 Jr.) 14.2 ppg, *3.7 apg, 3.9 rpg
F: Sheray Thomas (6'8"/226 Jr.) 2.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg
C: Lukasz Orbzut (7'0"/265 Sr.) 2.1 ppg, 1.0 rpg
SF: Bobby Perry (6'8"/215 Sr.) 7.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Bench rotation:
F Perry Stevenson, C Randolph Morris, F Ramon Harris, G Joe Crawford, G Michael Porter, G Derrick Jasper

PG: Sundiata Gaines (6'1"/205 Jr.) 10.5 ppg, *4.5 apg
G: Billy Humphrey (6'2"/185 So.) 7.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
F: Takais Brown (6'8"/250 Jr.) 14.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg
C: Dave Bliss (6'10"/255 Jr.) 7.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Bench rotation:
Levi Stukes (* did not make trip), Steve Newman (C), Rashaad Singleton (C), Albert Jackson (F), Terrance Woodbury (F)