The 4-1 Georgia Bulldogs come up to snowy Lexington to Rupp Arena for today's game. Georgia has been something of a surprise this season, knocking off a couple of the better teams in the league, once on the road and once at home, in Missouri and Arkansas. But knocking off the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena is a horse of a completely different color.
Kentucky comes into this game off a tough game against the Tennessee Volunteers and a better game against the Texas A&M Aggies. Georgia is the last game of this home stand, and getting on the right track here is critical to the Wildcats' hopes for the rest of the SEC season.
Kentucky wins this game if:
- They attack the rim. Georgia is going to have trouble guarding them in a man-to-man setup.
- They win on the offensive glass. Georgia simply cannot lose the offensive rebounding battle and have any chance to win.
- They take care of the basketball. Turnovers kept the game close in the first half against Texas A&M, as well as too many threes.
- Kentucky controls their fouls. Georgia is good at drawing fouls.
Kentucky might lose if:
- They give Georgia a lot of open looks from three. Georgia is an average 3-point shooting team, but those are just the kind of guys who can beat you in road situations where they get open looks.
- They take too many threes. 30% or less of Kentucky's shots should be from 3-point range.
- They miss a lot of free throws. The magic number is >=65% for Kentucky. Lower than this, and free throws are not very helpful.
- They let Georgia drive the ball into the paint. You have to keep Georgia out of the paint, they are good in there, better than you think.
- They get into foul trouble.
After this, things get a lot tougher as the Wildcats go on the road. Slipping up against the Bulldogs would be a terrible blow to their post-season seeding as well as to the pride of every Wildcats fan. I'm hoping for a convincing win, but this game could be closer than we want.