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Kentucky vs. Georgia viewing info, odds, what to watch for, and predictions

Will Kentucky hand Georgia its first true road loss of the season? Here’s what you need to know.

Rob Dillingham Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

After a snowy week in the Bluegrass State, the Kentucky Wildcats will go up against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in Rupp Arena.

The Wildcats have won 16 of the last 18 meetings between the two teams, but those two losses have come in the last three seasons, including last year’s defeat in Athens, so guys like Antonio Reeves will be looking for a bit of revenge in this one.

Under former Florida head coach Mike White, now in his second season, the Bulldogs have surpassed expectations thus far this season. Picked to finish 12th in the conference, Georgia is 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC play, would be 4-0 if it had not been for a late-game collapse against Tennessee.

However, Georgia has played far from a difficult schedule with their best win coming against a Wake Forest team ranked 46th in the NET rankings.

Saying this, all of Georgia’s losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 70 of KenPom. The Dawgs also have yet to lose a true road game, so Kentucky will be looking to change that Saturday evening.

Here’s what you need to watch for in Game 17 for Kentucky Basketball.

Cause havoc with turnovers

Georgia is not necessarily turnover-prone, but in three of their four losses they have had more turnovers than assists.

Fortunately, Kentucky has been good at generating turnovers, forcing their opponent into double-digit turnovers in all but three games this season.

The Cats are ranked 53rd nationally at 8.2 steals per contest, led by Reed Sheppard grabbing 2.5 per game, which is 11th nationally and fifth among Power Five players.

This will be a game Kentucky will look to get into passing lanes for easy looks in transition.

Crash the offensive boards

Shooting nearly 40% from 3 on the year, 11th in the country, this Kentucky team could very well go down as one of the best shooting teams in program history. That said, they have been in a bit of a dry spell of late, shooting above 31 percent from 3 just once in the last four games.

On the other side, Georgia has been one of the nation’s best at defending the 3 this season, allowing opponents to shoot less than 30 percent. Over the season, they have allowed just two of their 17 opponents to shoot over 40 percent.

If the 3s aren’t falling, crashing the offensive boards will be important against a Georgia team that gives up nearly 10 per game, leading to extra opportunities.

Defense continues to show progress

“We told on ourselves. We can defend,” John Calipari said of Kentucky’s effort against Mississippi State, allowing just 29 points in the first half. He did note it wasn’t consistent, and when that is the case, he is not going to accept that from his team and will use the bench.

His message: “Don’t be mad at me, be mad at yourself.”

Against Georgia, Kentucky will be put in a lot of high-ball screens and will need to continue showing improvement in their pick-and-roll defense which they have been focusing on in practice.

Let’s hope the defense keeps improving, because if it does, watch out.

Opposing Players to Watch

G Jabri Abdur-Rahim, 6-8, 215 lbs

  • 12.8 PPG
  • 4.0 RPG
  • 39 3PM (5th in SEC), 41.5% 3P (11th in SEC)

G Noah Tomasson, 6-4, 210 lbs

  • 12.4 PPG
  • 3.1 RPG
  • 1.6 APG

C Russel Tchewa, 7-0, 275 lbs

  • 6.6 PPG
  • 6.2 RPG (13th in SEC)
  • 50.6% FG (7th in SEC)

Kentucky Basketball vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Date: January 20th, 2024

Time: 6:00 PM ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Announcers: Mike Morgan and Jon Sundvold

Location: Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center

Online Stream: Stream the game online with WatchESPN and the ESPN app.

Radio: Tom Leach and Jack Givens have the UK radio call on the UK Sports Radio Network.

Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).

Rosters: UK | UGA

Stats to Know: UK | UGA

KenPom: UK | UGA

Team Sheets: UK | UGA

Odds: DraftKings has Kentucky favored by 11.5 points. ESPN gives them an 84.6% chance of winning. Bart Torvik and EvanMiya are at 82% and 86.6%, respectively, while KenPom has it at 83%.

Predictions: Bart Torvik picks Kentucky to win 87-76, while Haslametrics has them winning 88-77. EvanMiya has it at 84-73 for the Cats. KenPom is going with an 85-75 victory, Kentucky!

How do you see this one playing out? Let us know in the comments section!

And Go Cats!!