Kentucky (21-5, 11-2 SEC) looks to keep close to first place in the SEC when the Wildcats visit Georgia (15-11, 6-7 SEC) at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The last time these two teams met, it took overtime for Kentucky to overcome the Bulldogs. Malik Monk led the way for the Wildcats with 37 points and J.J. Frazier kept Georgia in the game throughout with 23 points and 3 steals.
More recently, both teams are coming off a win on their home courts. Georgia topped Mississippi State 79-72 in a game where Frazier logged 38 minutes, while Kentucky’s bench scored 31 in an 83-58 rout over Tennessee.
The Wildcats are riding a three-game win streak, but both of their conference losses have come on the road. The team is fourth in the country with 89.1 points per game and is 19-2 when scoring 80 or more. Monk leads the team and the conference in scoring at 21.7 points per game. Stellar play from Kentucky’s second unit and intense defense gives them a major edge in this week’s matchup.
The Bulldogs are coming off back-to-back wins against Tennessee and Mississippi State, but allowed at least 70 points in both of those games. Georgia’s defense has been inconsistent all season, allowing 69.5 points per game. Offensively, the Bulldogs are led in scoring by their starting guards, Yante Maten and Frazier, with 19.4 and 16.6 points per game respectively.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari told ESPN that those two will need to be shut down to slow Georgia’s scoring. “It’s going to be a hard game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who they’ve played; we know who they are and how they like to play.”
Georgia has a lot on its shoulders in the national prime-time game tonight. Expect Frazier to be called upon time and time again and keep the Bulldogs in the game, but ultimately fall short. Kentucky’s bench will be the difference in an 88-79 win for the Wildcats.
Edited by Quinn Pilkey
Featured image by Keith Allison, courtesy of CreativeCommons.org