This is the official Open Game Thread for Georgia at Kentucky.
Georgia marches into Rupp Arena coming off a very narrow loss to highly ranked Tennessee. Kentucky is coming off a close victory at LSU and a recent road stint that has seen the Cats away from Rupp for four of their last five games. Despite the debacle in Nashville last week, Kentucky comes into this game having won six of its last seven games.
It is always difficult to play Georgia because of their defense. Historically, Dennis Felton's team has played a tough man-to-man defense, but recently, Felton has decided to go exclusively to a zone to protect his limited bench. Felton's version of the zone is tightly packed but very aggressive, and will make entries to Patterson in the post more difficult. Sundiata Gaines has also been hot lately, lighting the Volunteers up for 23 points.
This game will most likely be the defensive struggle we are used to seeing with this Wildcats team, played in the half court at a relatively deliberate pace. Georgia is fine with slower-paced games, as it inflicted a slow pace on Tennessee in order to give themselves a better chance to win, which they nearly did.
One thing we can always count on out of Georgia -- they will compete with us, and compete hard. It doesn't matter how thin their bench is, or how low their talent level, Dennis Felton's teams always give 100%, and that is sometimes enough to overcome talent and skill.
Keys to the game:
Ballhandling -- Kentucky had only 13 turnovers against LSU, a recent low. They need to keep that up.
Good start -- Every time Kentucky gets behind early, the outcome is very dicey.
Get Patterson involved -- The zone will make this tougher, so offensive rebounds are bigger than usual.
Intensity -- This is the kind of game where the Wildcats could struggle with intensity. They will need it.
Shooting -- Kentucky has been efficient with the ball, making every possession count. That needs to continue.
We have started a new winning streak, so let's keep it going. The hardest thing for the Cats to do will be to avoid coming into this game mentally relaxed -- Georgia definitely won't, and any SEC team is capable of beating the Cats anywhere this year. Kentucky's margin for error is very small in every game, so bringing it is essential. On the bright side, Meeks may be able to contribute more this game than other recent games.
Leave your comments below if you have them. Get this one and things will be looking up again.