Does UGA have a shot against unbeaten Kentucky? Yep

Kentucky’s starting small forward is Trey Lyles. He’s 6-foot-10. (James Crisp/AP photo)

Kentucky's starting small forward is Trey Lyles. He's 6-foot-10. (James Crisp/AP photo)

Kentucky’s starting small forward is Trey Lyles. He’s 6-foot-10. (James Crisp/AP photo)

The short answer: Yes, Georgia can beat Kentucky.

The inevitable disclaimer: There’s a gap between “can” and “will.”

Kentucky is two games from completing an undefeated regular season, something no Kentucky team has done since 1954. (Those Wildcats went 25-0 but didn’t play in the SEC or the NCAA tournaments because their three stars — Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos — were declared ineligible for having already graduated and Adolph Rupp declined to continue with a lesser squad.) This is one of the better Kentucky teams ever, which is saying something, but that’s not to say it can’t lose tomorrow in Athens.

Georgia isn’t a great team — it lost at home to Auburn and South Carolina — but it’s in a nice spot: It knows enough about Kentucky not to be shocked by the Wildcats’ depth of talent, and the Bulldogs’ Feb. 3 loss in Rupp Arena actually served as a pick-me-up. Without leading scorer/rebounder Marcus Thornton, Georgia trailed only 63-58 inside the final two minutes.

Thornton has returned to health, and so has J.J. Frazier, the third guard who stands to be the key to this team’s fortunes in the month ahead. It was no coincidence that Frazier was hurt late in the Auburn game and missed the subsequent loss to South Carolina. This is a guard-powered team, but the guards work in different ways.

Charles Mann isn’t much of a shooter but can drive and get fouled; Kenny Gaines is an OK shooter who can drive, too; Frazier is the guy with range who forces opponents to think twice about playing zone to blunt the penetration of Mann and Gaines. (Three Frazier treys were the determinant on the February day that Tennessee frustrated Georgia with a match-up zone for 30 minutes.)

Kentucky can really defend, but Georgia isn’t easy to guard. The Wildcats will have to play smaller than usual — against Arkansas on Saturday, their starting five measured 6-foot-6, 6-6, 6-10, 6-11 and 7-foot — and one of the reasons they’re unbeaten is that they’re capable of such adjustments. But the Bulldogs already know they won’t beat Kentucky from the lane. They’ll have to do it outside-in.

It has been a while — not since Feb. 10, when Kentucky trailed by six points late at LSU — between tests for the Wildcats. They’ve been overwhelming, but Georgia isn’t often overwhelmed. The Bulldogs have been waiting for Kentucky to come to Stegeman Coliseum for two full years, and they’re not the team with the unbeaten season on the line. I would be surprised if this isn’t a close game. I wouldn’t be stunned if Georgia wins.

Reader Comments 2

165 comments
aon
aon

Georgia is sooo overrated!

BIGG BLUU
BIGG BLUU

Gawga has 2 chances None and slim is at the bus station.Fox is a piss poor Coach and he whines too much.The SEC doesn't want Gawga to win and they wont

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

Not only would I be stunned if UGA wins, I would be stunned if they keep it under 20.

Dawggie
Dawggie

"I wouldn't be stunned if Georgia wins." - MB

*******************************************

I would be.  This is the type of high-profile game that UGA's athletic programs (with the exception of Lady Gym Dawgs) always lose.

ImaNitwit
ImaNitwit

Mark Richt knows that Jesus is a Wildcat.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Nope.


Bradley, you insipid halfwit, there is a better chance of you writing a reasonable and insightful column than there is of the Georgia Bulldogs beating Kentucky with 2 games left in a potential undefeated season.


You come up w more crap than the NY Sewer Authority.

SaulK
SaulK

how much longer will tech put up with their terrible coach and mediocre program?? they used to be good.

DawginLex
DawginLex

Line is 10.5. UGA won't get within that. 68-53 UK


Dawgs still make the Big Dance


GTBob continues to base his existence on all things UGA


that's why I don't post much anymore

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DawginLex

Damn if I'd let that smug, lying, condescending hypocrite run me off a blog.

GTBob
GTBob

@DawginLex I've missed you Lex. You should come back. It will be just like old times.

AceDawg
AceDawg

My takeaway is that if Rupp denied the other team members at chance at the postseason, he should be remembered poorly by Kentucky fans. What a poor part of his legacy I was unaware of. 

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@AceDawg 

Dang - if you only just found that Rupp held his team out because of players in grad school, wait until you discover that a year earlier they didn't even play basketball because of a point shaving scandal.

GTMan1949
GTMan1949

Its amazing Tech can beat UGa, but cant beat anyone else----heres hoping, as a Tech Grad, that Uga pulls the upset.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTMan1949

A classy post from an archrival fan.

GTBob won't like that at all.

96JB
96JB

No. Not because of them.......but Kentucky is unbeatable with anyone left to play regular season.....In fact, it won't be close. 10 points or more.

WDE
WDE

Hope the Dogs can pull off the upset but they don't call it a upset for nothing, and I for one would be shocked to see it.. Still best of luck to Coach Fox and Go Dogs !  

hipdawg
hipdawg

@WDE Good post.Regardless of  what happens the Dawgs earned their spot in the big dance.

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

The Dawgs tend to play to the level of their competition. They should give Kentucky a good game.

GTBob
GTBob

Kentucky has won the last 5 games by at least 17 points. Three of those games were against teams that UGA lost to. They are clicking right now. Much more so than the first meeting against UGA. The spread will probably be at least 15 points so if UGA fans really think they are going to win then go get that easy money.

Tallcarl
Tallcarl

@GTBob  What tournament will GT be playing in March??

RealReality
RealReality

@GTBob @GloryBetweenTheHedges IF the selection committee selects UGA to go to the tournament, the "professionals" believe they deserve and earned the invite. Whether you believe it or not, it's not a handout, they will have earned it. 


Out of over 300+ teams, they have a lot more teams they could choose, yet they may choose UGA ... knowing they get no benefit of the doubt playing in a football conference. 


UGA is by no means a basketball school, so if the selection committee extends them an invite, they earned it and are deserving of it. If there are better teams they would be invited. It's not as if UGA is Duke or UNC and people would be outraged if they didn't make the tournament. UGA would be getting an invite based on performance, not name or conference recognition. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTBob @DawgNole

But you said beating UGA has "zero importance." Are you talking in circles again today?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@RealReality You seem to be arguing that the selection committee is both infallible and corrupt (or at least weak enough to succumb to pressure).   Not sure the two jibe with one another.

GTBob
GTBob

@DawgNole I said that GT would likely lose by a large margin to Kentucky and GT is better than UGA. How in the world do you twist that into any statement of importance of the GT/UGA game? 

GTBob
GTBob

@RealReality UGA will have earned it by doing basically nothing. That is kind of the point. SEC teams are rewarded for mediocrity. The "professionals" have to put them in, but I really do wonder how many of those "professionals" actually think UGA has a legitimate chance of making noise in the tournament and actually feel they deserve to be there.

RealReality
RealReality

@GeorgeStein @RealReality You don't get it. Corruption was neither said nor implied. The point is that a non-basketball school getting into the tournament would have had to earn it as UGA will do if they make the tournament.

RealReality
RealReality

@GTBob @RealReality The SEC is not a basketball conference as the ACC is, so they get no preference for a basketball tournament. SEC teams, excluding UK, have a tougher path to the tournament. There's no SEC bias in basketball. They aren't good enough for that.


To answer your question -- more than a couple. They won't put UGA in the tournament if they don't think UGA belongs. I don't think they're infallible, but do you seriously think they're sitting there thinking, "I don't think UGA deserves to be in the tournament and they're mediocre; let's put them in the tournament!." 

GTBob
GTBob

@RealReality They are thinking, we can't keep an SEC team with a certain RPI out no matter what we think about them. UGA hasn't beaten a ranked team all year. They have beaten very few even decent teams. They have several bad losses. That isn't a tough path to the tournament. It is a cake walk to the dance.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@RealReality I think I get it just fine.   You're saying that the committee choosing some teams on performance and others on reputation or some other nefarious standard.   Sounds pretty corrupt to me.

RealReality
RealReality

@GTBob @RealReality By your logic there's no need for a selection committee. They "select" based strictly on RPI because it doesn't matter what they think and because UGA is in a notoriously not very good basketball conference. That's just stupid.


You've let your hatred of UGA and the SEC cloud your judgement and there's no hope for a rational discussion.   

RealReality
RealReality

@GeorgeStein @RealReality No you don't. You're making stuff up in your head just trying to create an argument, grasping at straws to trash UGA. I'll say it one more time -- the point is that a non-basketball school getting into the tournament would have had to earn it as UGA will do if they make the tournament. 


There's nothing nefarious or corrupt about that. Of course some teams are perceived to be better than they really are sometimes (UK, Kansas, Duke, UNC), but that's not a sign of corruption or nefariousness. They are more so getting the benefit of the doubt, human nature. Spin that any way you want.  

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@RealReality There is some evidence that they are slaves to RPI, actually.   And, yes, I continue to understand your comments just fine.   They're just not very well thought out.

Armydawg
Armydawg

@GTBob Sounds like the opposite of Tech, lost the last _____________ games by at least 17 points.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@Armydawg Zero.   The answer is zero.   Not sure why you're talking about Tech, though.  

GTBob
GTBob

@Armydawg We have only lost 2 games all season by that much. Like George said though, that doesn't have much to do with the point I was making about Kentucky. We would likely lose by more than 17 to Kentucky and we are better than UGA.

GloryBetweenTheHedges
GloryBetweenTheHedges

@GTBob Okay Bob Georgia sucks in basketball. You made your point. We are just hurting so much at the fact we don't deserve an NCAA bid. Moving on.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTBob @Armydawg

Why allege that you are "better than UGA" if beating UGA has "zero importance"?

Duh.

GTBob
GTBob

@DawgNole Because we beat them? That was the point in the post. Are you drunk today?

GTBob
GTBob

@GloryBetweenTheHedges You guys don't suck. You are just an average team in a really bad conference which gives you an undeserved NCAA bid. Its similar to some mid majors. No need to be ashamed. Take the handout.

PTC DAWG1
PTC DAWG1

I don't think UGA has much of a shot vs KY myself.  Bradley trolling with this article.  


Fox hit is on the head when he suggested they maybe should scrimmage with the Hawks to prepare.  

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Mark doesn't seem to be aware of Betteridge's Law of Headlines

Trackbacks

  1. […] AJC writer Mark Bradley says Georgia has a shot against Kentucky. Everybody has a shot, it’s just that it takes more than that to defeat this team — a lot more. The good news for the Dawgs is that they have Marcus Thornton back, and J.J. Frazier as well. […]

  2. […] 1 of the No. 1’s, and that should hold even if the Wildcats would lose tonight in Athens. (Which could happen, I’ve suggested.) Two losses between here and Selection Sunday might compromise that status, […]