Following a tight W over Tennessee yesterday afternoon in the SEC Tournament, Georgia is set to get a quarterfinal affair with Kentucky this afternoon, again at 1, and again on SEC Network.
The Wildcats get their Nashville appearance underway still ranked in the top 10, and having beaten the Dawgs twice already this season. The game in Rupp Arena went to overtime before finishing 90-81, and three weeks ago was an 82-77 victory in Athens. It’s been over a month since they last lost in a game (at Florida), and the only time Georgia has ever knocked off Kentucky in an SEC Tournament was under unique circumstances.
Freshman PG De’Aaron Fox has been battling a knee injury, but should be healthy and ready to show off his elite quickness this afternoon. Next to him will be another NBA lottery pick in freshman Malik Monk, who is arguably the best scorer in the country. Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe has been the veteran of the starting core for most of the season, and brings an elite all around game of 12 pts, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per night (although he’s really bad at 3 pt shooting). Big man Bam Adebayo leads the way inside, with either fellow freshman future lottery pick Wenyen Gabriel or senior sharpshooter Derek Willis alongside him up front.
Seniors Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder get time off the bench inside, while sophomore seven footer Isaac Humphries is their 4th choice big man.
In the two previous games, Georgia has been decimated on the glass (58 rebounds combined as opposed to 86 for the ‘Cats). We’ve hung around thanks to better than normal shooting (right around 50% from the field in both), and a lot of fight. With their season hanging in the balance, expect similar effort this afternoon although the talent gap is sizeable.
Still, it’s not as big as usual, thanks to a pair of All-SEC performers in red and black. Senior JJ Frazier is hoping the NCAA bubble can keep from bursting one more day, while Yante Maten enters a second straight game fresh off three weeks away for a knee sprain. Maten may or may not start, as yesterday coach Mark Fox opted to open the game with sophomores Turtle Jackson, Toe Wilridge, and Derek Ogbeide alongside Frazier and junior wing Juwan Parker. Freshmen Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris came in off the bench on the outside, while Pape Diatta and Mike Edwards chipped in some good efforts in the front court with Maten from the reserves.
Fox may expand his rotation to include seniors Kenny Paul Geno and Houston Kessler to keep guys fresh against the powerful Kentucky squad, but we’ll find out together soon enough. If Georgia can somehow sneak an upset, not only will it give them a strong win on the resume come Selection Sunday in a few days, but it will also mark the fourth straight appearance in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Can we pull out another miracle?
GAME & BROADCAST INFO
- Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats
- Records: No. 8 seed Georgia (19-13, 9-9) vs. No. 1 seed Kentucky (26-5, 16-2 SEC)
- Rankings: Georgia NR, Kentucky No. 8
- Tipoff: Friday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Bridgestone Arena (19,395) in Nashville, Tenn.
- TV: SEC Network (Joe Tessitore, PBP; Sean Farnham, analyst; Kaylee Hartung, reporter)
- Video Stream: WatchESPN.com
- Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer) Flagship: AM 750 (Atlanta)
- Flagship: WSB AM 750 | Affiliates
- Audio Stream: Georgiadogs.com | Mobile
- Live Stats: GameTracker