Friday, January 7, 2011

Georgia vs. Kentucky Preview

For the Hoop Dawgs, conference play starts out with quite the bang -- try 10th ranked Kentucky. Coach Cal brings in an uber-talented but very young (yet again) group of high school All-Americans into the Steg on Saturday to face off against the Dawgs. The lone returning starter for the Cats is G Darius Miller but they are primarily led by two freshmen -- guard Brandon Knight (6'3'') and forward Terrence Jones (6'8''). Both are averaging double figures -- 18.3 and 17.1 points respectively -- with Knight averaging 3.9 assists per game and Jones pulling down 9.1 rebounds as well.

THE BAD FOR THE DAWGS: The Cats have a long, talented group that has already beaten the likes of Washington, Notre Dame, and Louisville. And in my opinion, this year's version has progressed more quickly than last year's Kentucky team at this point in the season. There is an extreme mismatch in UK's favor in both the quality of guard play as well as guard depth.

THE GOOD FOR THE DAWGS: Kentucky really only goes eight-deep, and is especially thin in the front court (with the exception of Jones). They rely on senior Josh Harrellson at center, who has played more minutes this year than all his other years combined. He does average 9.4 boards a game, but is somewhat limited offensively (knocking on wood). If we can get Jones in foul trouble, we SHOULD be able to pound it down low for some easy looks.

I think foul trouble is the primary key to this game. If Ware and/or Robinson get into foul trouble, we we'll most likely get shredded on both ends by UK's guard play. On the flip side, if we can get either of Kentucky's big men -- Jones and/or Harrellson -- into foul trouble, we stand a very good chance in this one. Kentucky will be favored and probably should be. They are more talented and have proven more this season in terms of their performance. We stand a chance -- probably better than last year's effort in Athens -- and would be a HUGE stepping stone for our team. A loss would not be catastrophic, but a blowout could send our team on a slippery slope, as our upcoming schedule gets tough -- in addition to Kentucky would go to Vandy, at Ole Miss, and Tennessee at home. That's pretty scary. Let's hope we can pull a stunner Saturday.

Here are Kentucky's stats:

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