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Kentucky Wildcats at Georgia Bulldogs: Game Preview

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Tonight's game at Georgia is reckoned a tough test for Kentucky, and it may well be.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats travel down to Athens tonight to play the Georgia Bulldogs in their last remaining SEC road contest. This has widely been considered a kind of "fnal exam" for the Wildcats before the SEC Tournament begins, primarily since it is against one of the better teams in the SEC and on the road, where Kentucky has occasionally been less than dominant.

This will be the abbreviated version of the preview as normal for the second game. Please refer to the first preview for starting lineup and team information, etc.

Game particulars

When: Tuesday, March 3rd
Time: 9:00 PM
Where: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Georgia
TV: ESPN
Radio: UK Sports Network
Streaming: Live Video Via WatchESPN
Audio: Live audio
Other: Live stats

Rank and records:

Rank and Records UK UGA
RPI #1 #36
Strength of Schedule #40 #47
Overall 29-0 19-9
Conference 16-0 10-6
Home 18-0 12-3
Away 9-0 7-4
Top 25 5-0 0-3
RPI Top 50 11-0 3-3
KenPom.com #1 #35

What’s changed since the February 3rd meeting

It’s been quite a while since the Dawgs and ‘Cats faced each other. Georgia has played seven SEC games and won five, dropping consecutive head-scratchers to Auburn and South Carolina in Athens, of all places. Since then, they’ve won close games on the road against Alabama and Ole Miss, then dropped Missouri like a bad habit in Stegeman. All in all, it has been weird.

Georgia has had some injury issues during this time, and if you’ll recall, Marcus Thornton did not play against Kentucky in Lexington with concussion-related symptoms. He returned the game after UK and has been back ever since. J.J. Frazier missed the loss to South Carolina, but has since returned to health as well. Georgia should be full strength tonight.

Four Factors

Notable conference stats

Stat UK Rank UGA Rank
OE 116.2 1 103.1 6
DE 88.9 1 99.7 5
eFG% 52.3 1 47.8 6
DeFG% 42.7 1 46.2 5
3pt% 36.3 4 36.8 3
Block% 16.0 1 11.4 5
Steal% 8.6 9 7.8 11

Game Analysis

Naturally, there is no game in which Kentucky does not have the advantage either on the road or at home in the SEC, but this is reckoned a close game by many observers by the standards we are used to seeing: Kentucky +10 in the Las Vegas line. Ken Pomeroy also has this game as only an 84% chance of a Kentucky victory, the first sub-90% projection in quite a while, probably since the LSU game on the road.

Kentucky really has no weakness, at least statistically, that can be exploited by Georgia. The closest the Bulldogs come is in rebounding, where they are a very good defensive rebounding team, although Kentucky is an even better offensive rebounding team. If there is something Georgia can build on, it would be that.

Georgia is also a very good 3-point shooting team, but Kentucky defends the three really well, so again, it plays into their strength. Georgia does not score well at all inside the arc, and that will be made even more difficult by Kentucky’s stern defense.

The best hope Georgia has is to get to the line a lot and make a high percentage, combined with a good night rebounding and shooting the ball from three and an uncharacteristically good ballhandling performance. If Kentucky is able to stop any of those things, it is unlikely that Georgia will be able to prevail.