January 28, 2011

Dawgs looking to rebound

For a team trying to shake the doldrums of losing two of the past three games at home, Saturday's contest at Kentucky (4 p.m., ESPN) is a tough road to go.

Yes, the Bulldogs topped the Wildcats 77-70 almost three weeks ago in Athens. But as head coach Mark Fox so aptly points out, that was then. This is now.

"I think the first game has nothing to do with this game, I think they're playing much better," Fox said Friday. "I think they're a better team that they were a couple of weeks ago. They've had a week to prepare for us where last time we had a week to prepare for them. I think they've matured as a group and are much better."

The Bulldogs (14-5, 3-3) are not as healthy as they were that first game.

Friday, star forward Trey Thompkins was seen limping around, but Fox brushed off the injury as nothing too serious. Although he would not disclose what it was, Fox said it was not the same ankle which hampered him earlier this year.

"He's got an injury down there, but he'll play through it," Fox said. "It's not the exact injury, no."

Georgia, which dropped a double-overtime decision to Florida on Tuesday, returned to practice Thursday and Friday after taking Wednesday off.

Although Fox said the disappointment still remains, he hopes there will be no carryover in Saturday's game.

"I think that you're going to have a lot of close games. You look at the Tennessee game and we didn't do the things we needed to win," Fox said. "Other times you can do the right things and not win the close games. The percentages work in your favor if you do the right things. I don't think I'm overly concerned with that. I think we've made some mistakes that are correctable in the first 39 minutes that we have to address. It's not something that I'm overly concerned about with becoming a problem."

Saturday's contest against the Wildcats (15-4, 3-2) is the first of back-to-back road games for the Bulldogs who travel to Arkansas Wednesday night.

Georgia's next home game is Saturday, Feb. 5 before hosting Xavier in a non-conference showdown on Feb. 8.

Although Fox admits he follows his team's weekly RPI ratings, it's not something he's fixated on. Neither does he agree with the notion that his team has "little room for error" in regards to earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

"I don't agree with that. We don't have to go undefeated. There's room for error. We don't have to go undefeated the rest of the way to accomplish something," Fox said. "I think every team is going to have a loss or two from this point forward … you don't want too many of them, but we have to win more than we lose, that's for sure."

Fox also insists his team isn't feeling any additional pressure.

"I don't sense that from our guys. They want to have a great year … they've invested a great deal. They're going to do their best, there's no question, but they've got to focus on playing the game right and being fair to the game. If they do that, then the rest of the year will take care of itself."

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