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SEC Tournament Quarterfinal -- Kentucky vs. Georgia Open Game Thr

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This is the official Open Game Thread for Georgia vs. Kentucky in the SEC Quarterfinal.


This is a huge game for the Kentucky Wildcats in any number of ways.  For those who are skeptical of Kentucky's claim to an at-large bid, this is the play-in game.  For those (like me) who think the Cats have already done enough, this game is for improved seeding and to silence the critics.  Either way, it is a big game.

Georgia played a fantastic game against Ole Miss last night, and the fact that they were the lower seed does not necessarily help Kentucky.  One of the most difficult things to do in all of college basketball is to pull off a hat trick against any team.  Kentucky has done it before, but many times they have failed.  It is difficult, and the Dawgs will be ready, coming off arguably their best game of the season.

Personnel

The last time we played Georgia, we had Patrick Patterson available.  This is the first time we have played the Dawgs with our new-look team, so arguably, the Bulldogs will have no idea how to play this group of Wildcats.  The main players for both teams are as follows (many thanks to Statsheet.com ):


Georgia Player Stats
S. Gaines 29/29 33.5 14.5 40.8% 29.0% 57.3% 6.3 4.2 2.4 0 1.8 0
T. Woodbury 29/29 28 10.1 38.9% 28.4% 75.9% 3.8 1.3 2.3 0 0.9 0.2
B. Humphrey 25/23 31.5 12.6 40.6% 38.0% 81.8% 3.4 1.4 1.9 0 1.5 0.2
D. Bliss 29/29 23.9 7.7 53.0% 0.0% 72.1% 5.6 0.7 1.2 0 0.4 0.8
J. Price 29/15 21.6 8.3 53.9% 0.0% 72.3% 4.3 0.7 2.3 0 0.5 0.2
Z. Swansey 29/4 17.3 4.3 41.2% 25.0% 58.3% 1.7 1.8 1.4 0 0.9 0.1
A. Jackson 23/4 16.1 3 43.5% 0.0% 45.5% 3.8 0.4 1.8 0 0.3 1
C. Butler 29/4 12.7 2.7 39.3% 40.7% 82.8% 2.1 0.5 0.7 0 0.3 0

Kentucky Player Stats
R. Bradley 28/26 34.6 16 43.3% 39.1% 82.8% 4.3 3.4 3.3 0 1.7 0.2
J. Crawford 28/20 33.1 17.1 46.4% 35.3% 78.3% 3.5 2.2 2.7 0 0.6 0.2
P. Patterson 25/25 35.7 16.4 57.4% 0.0% 73.1% 7.7 1.7 2.1 0 0.8 1.2
P. Stevenson 29/1 23.6 5.8 57.7% 0.0% 75.9% 4.9 0.8 1.5 0 0.9 1.5
R. Harris 25/23 21.7 4.2 50.7% 36.0% 60.0% 3.4 1.2 1.8 0 0.8 0.4
D. Jasper 18/4 28 4.2 44.6% 51.6% 39.1% 5.3 2.2 1.9 0 0.6 0.8
M. Porter 23/9 15.7 2.1 31.3% 43.3% 83.3% 1.1 1.2 1.7 0 0.9 0
M. Coury 29/28 11.1 2.1 44.1% 0.0% 52.9% 1.9 0.7 0.7 0 0.3 0.3


Key matchups and notes:

  • Gaines vs. Crawford -- I think Joe must guard Sundiata, and that will be tough.  But Crawford is a matchup problem for Georgia.  Humphrey cannot handle him in the lane, and Gaines would foul out. 
  • Stevenson vs. The Load -- Georgia has beef, Perry has bones.  Who will win?
  • Billy Humphrey vs. Ramon Harris -- Ramon Harris has developed into perhaps the best on-the-ball defender in the league.  And he can score a little, too.
  • Derrick Jasper vs. ? -- Jasper is a matchup problem for everyone.  Woodbury will probably be forced to guard him.
  • WILD PREDICTION -- I predict that Jodie Meeks has been hidden by Gillispie for the last seven days or so.  My instincts tell me he has been practicing and will play today.  Coach Gillispie knows the value of a surprise, and I think this is his hole card.

Points to note:

  1. Georgia is not outstanding in any aspect of the game.  But they play great defense.
  2. Georgia is slightly better than Kentucky at stealing the basketball
  3. Georgia is 1-4 in neutral venue games.  Kentucky is 0-1.
  4. Georgia tends to lose close games.  Georgia is 1-4 in games <6 points, Kentucky is 5-3.
  5. Kentucky is a better 3 point shooting team than Georgia.  Better 2-point shooters, too.
  6. Georgia is a superior rebounding team, 75th in the nation.  That will be a factor with Patterson out.

Injuries and intangibles:

  • Georgia is coming off a very late night.
  • Catlanta.
  • The Wildcats are hot and confident.  Georgia is tired, but confident.
  • Advantage -- Wildcats.

Keys to the game:

  1. Ballhandling -- This is always a key for Kentucky.  When Kentucky keeps turnovers under 20%, their odds of winning go way up.
  2. Handle the beef -- Kentucky must find a way to rebound the ball well
  3. Speed -- This Kentucky team is a much faster one than the one we saw with Patterson.  Sooner or later, that is going to matter, and this could be the game where a higher pace works for the Cats.
  4. Gaines --  This guy is good.  We must force him to go where he doesn't want to go.
  5. Desire -- The Wildcats got here by wanting it more.  This is no time to rest on their laurels.

SEC tournament, baby.  This one really separates the men from the boys, and Kentucky wants to prove to everyone that they are the men.  Georgia is going to be tough because they have nothing to lose, and the Blue Men may think that they are fighting for their NCAA tournament lives, which could be true depending on who you believe.

If there was ever a time to believe in blue, this is it.  The Cats need all your good wishes, all your passion, and every last one of your cheers.  Let's give them all the help they need.


GO, BIG BLUE!

Update [2008-3-14 23:2:41 by Truzenzuzex]:  Another weather delay.  We may not get going until after midnight.

Bad situation for the Cats.   But MSU will be tired, too, if we make it.

Update [2008-3-14 23:23:16 by Truzenzuzex]:   Tonight's game is to be postponed.  More later.