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Kentucky at Georgia: Postmortem


As expected, the Dawgs were no match for the 'Cats today, even in the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum. As always, Georgia tried hard and played a tough, physical game, but their challenges scoring the basketball were just too tough to overcome.  The Wildcats jumped out to a big early lead, and the scoring-challenged Bulldogs found no real way to gain momentum and put the ball through the hoop.

I always worry about the 'Cats after a big road win like we had at Tennessee earlier this week, particularly one in which so much of the scoring was done by one player.  I worry about a tendency of the team to stand around and watch, and fear a regression to earlier in the season when UK would turn the ball over constantly.

Unfortunately for the 'Cats, they did regress in the turnover department with 18.  While not the 20+ we had routinely been seeing earlier in the year.  Still, 18 is far too many, and somewhat unsurprisingly based on the totality of the season, Jodie Meeks led the way with six.  Patterson uncharacteristically added four, and our two best players combined for over half the total number of miscues.

Further impressions of this game are as follows:

  • Michael Porter continues to impress in the ballhandling department, registering his second zero-turnover game in the last four outings.  If he would only take open shots.  He managed only 1 assist, although he made up for it with six rebounds.
  • Patrick Patterson is not himself.  I suspect the finger injury is affecting his game, as he is neither as sure handed nor as pure of touch as he was a few games back.  15 and 5 are not all-American numbers, and although he was his usual active self, there seems to be something not quite right.
  • Jodie Meeks was pretty much himself today.  A good performance, especially when Georgia was working so hard to deny him the ball.
  • I thought DeAndre Liggins played very well, particularly defensively.  4 assists, two turnovers, one bad shot, one block and one steal.  Good line for the freshman.  He had more minutes than Porter today, and overall, I thought he was more effective.  As he should be.
  • Darius Miller was also solid today, two turnovers being the only negative.
  • What can I say about Perry Stevenson.  He is the glue guy, the player who gives you all the little things you need -- rebounds, blocks, help, points, even an occasional three.
  • Ramon Harris played awesome defense on Georgia' leading scorer, holding him to only 8 points.
  • Kevin Galloway gave some quality minutes, getting three assists and no turnovers.  His defense was very disruptive.
  • Josh Harrellson had seven productive minutes, most of which came when the game was no longer in doubt.
  • 11 blocks for this UK team.  That's tremendous.
  • Defensively, I thought the 'Cats played maybe their most complete game of the season.
  • Offensively, Kentucky was below average at 48%.  Kentucky missed a lot of open and simple shots.
  • For Georgia, Trey Thompson sure is good.  I don't understand why he only played 22 minutes.

Honestly, other than slightly below average offensive execution, I find relatively little to criticize.  UK got beat on the offensive glass, but when your opponent shoots a dismal 31%, to your 48%, that's going to happen 100% of the time.  Overall, we beat the Dawgs by five on the glass, which is solid if not spectacular.

Taken all together, this was a very good game for Kentucky, and validation that the Wildcats are now ready for prime time.  We may struggle against the very best this year, but I think the Wildcats have made a legitimate case for inclusion in the top 25 next week.  I honestly don't expect them to quite get there, at least not in both polls, but they should be very close.  Another good week, and they will be there for sure.