From the outset, it was not the Georgia Bulldogs’ day. For some inexplicable reason, ESPN stayed with the North Carolina Tar Heels’ 20-point beatdown of the N.C. State Wolfpack rather than switching over to the Fox Hounds’ road encounter with the Kentucky Wildcats, so, by the time the black-clad Bulldogs’ game appeared on our screens, Georgia already trailed.
Shortly thereafter, as the ‘Cats extended their lead, something went wrong with the Worldwide Leader’s signal, and I found myself looking at a test pattern. Even Ashley Judd appeared less fetching than usual in the inevitable courtside shot early in this ugly affray.
Despite a solid start to the second half, the Red and Black could not overcome an initial 20 minutes in which Kentucky played like what Kentucky was on Saturday; namely, a talented, confident, well-coached, well-rested, focused, revenge-minded team with indisputably the league’s best basketball tradition and arguably the conference’s best home court advantage. The Bulldogs were not helped by the fact that Trey Thompkins clearly was not at 100 per cent---the junior forward finished the game with nine points---but it is highly doubtful that a fully healthy Thompkins would have made any difference in the outcome.
There are two, and only two, positives to take away from this afternoon’s 66-60 loss in Lexington: Georgia showed heart by continuing to fight hard, despite the fact that the game really was never in doubt, and the Wildcats clearly are the best team in the SEC, which means the Bulldogs (who beat Kentucky by seven at home and lost to Kentucky by six on the road) can play with anyone in the league.
The Athenians need to flush this loss, and the two that immediately preceded it, and focus on the schedule that lies ahead, starting with Wednesday night’s road game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Step one is to get back to .500 in conference play, but, before that step can be taken, a reeling Bulldog squad needs to forget the last four games and remember the 16 that came before them.