Can Georgia Bulldogs Beat Big Blue Basketball in Lexington?


The Georgia Bulldogs face the best college basketball team in the country when they travel to Lexington to play the Kentucky Wildcats Tuesday night at 7:00.

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Georgia has defeated Kentucky in basketball nine times it the past 13 seasons. Not bad all things considered. To make it 10 in 14 seasons will take a Herculean effort by the year’s Georgia Bulldogs.

The story of Kentucky basketball under Head Coach John Calipari is overwhelming talent. The Kentucky Basketball roster includes nine 5-star high school recruits.

On the other hand, Georgia will face Kentucky Tuesday night at 7:00 without leading scorer and rebounder Marcus Thornton, who is seeing stars. Thornton sits out a second straight game due to a concussion. Georgia is also without Juwan Parker (Achilles) and Kenny Paul Geno (wrist).

Kentucky has been ranked number one since the first poll’s release and is ten games away from a perfect season.

It’s a little tricky discussing how to beat these Cats – no one has admitted they can be beaten yet. But the discussion has to start with sophomore guard Aaron Harrison. The 6’6” sophomore is the head of the beast. Whether playing man to man or zone, Georgia must never lose contact with Harrison – not once. Job one for the Georgia defense is to become Harrison’s shadow  preferably with the sun at his back.

Next there is the beast to consider, the beast being sophomore 7’0” center Dakari Johnson. Johnson can single-handedly whip an opponent into submission and the goal in the battle in the post against Johnson – as well as against 7’0” junior Willie Cauley-Stein – is not so much to win but to extend the battle for 40 minutes. The Georgia post players must stay poised, avoid fouls and never give up.

Kentucky does have a weakness – the only aspect of the game where the opponent is not a factor: free throw shooting. The Cats shoot 69% a game. Keep an eye on this stat early in the game.

For the Cats, the strength is defense. Kentucky is the best defensive team in the country – ranked first in field goal percentage defense, second in total defense, fifth in 3-point percentage defense, and second in blocks per game.

Jan 31, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Devin Booker (1) shoots a three pointer against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second half at Rupp Arena. The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 70-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

For the Dawgs to beat Kentucky, they must remain poised, not fret failure on offense and then use their own excellent defense themselves to create some frsutration among he talent Big Blue youths.

No one gives Georgia a chance tomorrow night. But that is a familiar position for the Dawgs when in Lexington. The Big Blue nation will be rocking, demanding every loose ball and every close call go their way.

But if Georgia Coach Mark Fox can convince these Dawgs they can play defense against the Cats, to remain poised on offense in the face of ferocious defense, and to entice the ultra-talented but youthful Cats to join in the Bulldogs ugly style, the Dawgs can win.

Don’t bet your eating money, though.

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