Georgia Basketball: Can the Bulldogs spoil Kentucky’s perfect season?


The Georgia basketball program looks to be headed to the NCAA Tournament, but on the way there can they pull of a historic upset?

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The Kentucky Wildcats are the number one team in the nation. To date, they have a perfect 27-0 record. They’ve only really been tested twice this season, consecutive overtime wins against Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

So can Georgia pull off the impossible on March 3, and bring an end to Kentucky’s quest for perfection?

Most would say it’s unlikely, but the trip to Athens will be Kentucky’s last road game of the regular season, and the Bulldogs have proven to be a tough out when playing in Stegeman Coliseum.

So if the Wildcats beat Arkansas on Feb. 28, and roll into Stegeman waving the banner of a 28-0 record, what will Georgia have to do become the fly in the perfect season ointment? Any game won against Kentucky will have to be won down low.

Georgia will need to grab rebounds like their hair is on fire, and bang the Wildcats in the paint to keep them from dominating the boards. This means Marcus Thornton will have to bring his best game.

Kentucky is second in the nation in points allowed, giving up only 52.7 points per game, and much of that number is attributed to their work in the lane, when they average seven blocks per game, and 25.4 defensive rebounds.

This actually falls into the type of game that Mark Fox likes to employ, getting the opposition into foul trouble and having Georgia take a lot of free throws. But planning it and doing it against this Kentucky team are two different animals.

In their first meeting this season at Rupp Arena, Georgia hung tough, but was ultimately out-manned by the stronger Kentucky team. The 15-point halftime lead the Wildcats amassed was simply too much for the Dawgs to overcome against such a talented team.

Georgia has to keep it closer or even come out with the lead in the first half, and then do what they do best — make Kentucky foul — if they want to have any chance of a win.

Jan 27, 2015; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs forward Marcus Thornton (2) and guard

Charles Mann

(4) battle for a rebound with Vanderbilt Commodores forward

Jeff Roberson

(11) during the first half at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia defeated Vanderbilt 70-62. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

With each win, the pressure increases for the Wildcats, and when they arrive in Athens they’ll only have two games remaining to complete a perfect regular season record. By that time, its possible that Calipari’s Cats could be pressing.

But what could be more important for Georgia than how well they play Kentucky is how they fare against Missouri in the game prior to meeting the Wildcats. If Georgia can beat the Tigers at home on Saturday, then they will all but have assured themselves of an NCAA Tournament berth, and will be much more loose against Kentucky.

Can the Dawgs pull off the big upset next week? If Arkansas doesn’t do the job first, it may go down as one of the biggest wins in Mark Fox’s career at Georgia if they do.

Next: Mark Fox is a Steady Leader for Georgia