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Georgia at Kentucky preview and open thread

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Kentucky
Call me Carlton all you want, but at least I know how to dance, Mark.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 9 on ESPN, they will televise a live execution. Georgia and the dominant force in SEC Hoops, Kentucky, will square off in Rupp Arena. The only time in the last decade we came home victorious from Big Blue country had Pete Hermann calling our shots. And that was before John Calipari showed up on the scene and stacked their roster with multiple NBA lottery picks each season.

Georgia has had a two steps forward, two steps back sort of season so far, and is coming off a win over Texas after a pair of rough conference losses to Texas A&M and Alabama. Sophomore PG Turtle Jackson moved back in to the starting lineup for freshman SG Jordan Harris against the Longhorns, while SF Juwan Parker has been playing great since SEC play began. Senior G JJ Frazier, and sophomore big Derek Ogbeide join star Yante Maten in the first five on the floor. And Maten will get a chance to show what he can do against NBA capable front lines tonight for any attending scouts.

Look for Harris to join senior F Kenny Paul Geno, junior F Pape Diatta, and sophomore big Mike Edwards as the main men off the bench. Senior Houston Kessler adds some size and five more fouls when needed, as well as sophomore F Toe Wilridge and freshman G Tyree Crump giving a couple more options for coach Mark Fox to call upon.

Sophomore G Isaiah Briscoe is the veteran of John Calipari’s starting five. Five star freshmen accompany him to the opening tip off, with guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk the team’s leading scorers as big men Bam Adebayo and Wenyen Gabriel lead the team in rebound and blocked shots. They are long, they are very athletic, they are excellent defensively, and they score over 90 points per game. Seniors Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis are the primary options off the bench. Hawkins provides solid perimeter defense, while Willis brings size and a soft shooting touch. Senior Canadian G Mychal Mulder and former top 50 prospect, sophomore seven-footer Isaac Humphries also chip in around 10 minutes per night, but Calipari doesn’t tend to go deep in to his bench unless he has to do so.

The talent of that first five means he rarely does so, but it does give the Dawgs a potential opening for an upset with the depth Mark Fox utilizes, and if one of their key pieces gets in foul trouble while another struggles. How well Frazier, Parker, Jackson, Harris, and the other perimeter players can handle the speed and talent of Fox, Monk, and Briscoe will be a key to Georgia standing a chance tonight.

Oh yeah, it’ll also be Brent Musberger’s final game on a microphone. See if you can guess what his bets were based on his call (I’ll take Kentucky (giving 16 and a half), and the under (155 last I checked) please).


  • Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats
  • Records: Georgia (13-8, 4-4 SEC), Kentucky (17-4, 7-1 SEC)
  • Rankings: Georgia NR, Kentucky #8
  • Tipoff: Tuesday, January 31 at 9:00 p.m. ET
  • Location: Rupp Arena (23, 500) in Lexington, Ky.
  • TV: ESPN (Brent Musburger, pbp; Jay Bilas, analyst)
  • Video Stream:
  • Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer)
  • Flagship: WSB AM 750 | Affiliates
  • Audio Stream: | Mobile
  • Live Stats: View