February 18, 2008

Scouting Report: Georgia at Kentucky

What: Georgia (12-11, 3-7) at Kentucky (13-10, 7-3)
Where: Rupp Arena
When: Tuesday
Time/TV: 9:05/ESPN
Series Record: Kentucky leads 108-22

Coaches: In his first year at Kentucky, Billy Gillispie has ledthe Wildcats to a 13-10 mark, 7-3 in the SEC. In just three seasons at Texas A&M, the three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year engineered one of the most amazing turnarounds in college basketball history, leading ESPN's Steve Lavin, among others, to christen him a "miracle worker." In the 2006-07 season, Gillispie, who was a finalist for the 2007 Naismith National Coach of the Year and Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year led the Aggies to a school record 27-7 record which included a school best No. 3 seed in the NCAA's, in which they advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1980.

Last Time Out: Kentucky downed Georgia 63-58 in Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia rallied and eventually reclaimed the lead at 48-47 on a Terrance Wood¬bury layup with 10:07 left. The lead changed hands twice more until UK forged ahead on Crawford's last bucket, a 3-pointer with 4:46 remaining.
The Crawford trey gave UK a 56-54 lead, and the ensuing exchange of posses¬sions told the story of this contest. Georgia missed five shots on its next trip -- the latter two virtually uncontested from 3-point range before Kentucky rebounded. Little-used Ramon Harris connected 17 seconds later to put the Cats ahead 58-54.

Last Five Games:
Lost to Kentucky 63-58
Lost to Vanderbilt 63-58
Lost to Florida 77-67
Beat South Carolina 82-64
Lost to Tennessee 74-71

Beat Georgia 63-58
Beat Auburn 63-60
Beat Alabama 62-52
Lost to Vanderbilt 93-52
Beat LSU 67-63

Did you know?
• The Bulldogs entered the Tennessee game with, apparently, just seven scholarship players at coach Dennis Felton's disposal. That number grew before game time when reserve forward Chris Barnes had recovered enough from a freak eye infection to log 12 minutes. The roster could expand again tonight, when guard Billy Humphrey, the Dogs' leading scorer until Sundiata Gaines' recent offensive rampage, is slated to return from a 3-game suspension.

• Should Humphrey return Tuesday, he'll find a vastly different Georgia backcourt than when he left it. In his brief absence, Gaines has suddenly developed a formidable offensive game, and freshman Zac Swansey has become a vital member of the starting lineup.

• Tonight's game begins a particularly unin¬viting portion of its schedule, where four of the next five games are on the road. The Bulldogs have struggled in true road games this season, having won just once in six tries: at Hawaii in the third round of the Rainbow Classic last December.

All Eyes On
Freshman forward Patrick Patterson (6-8, 232) leads Kentucky both in scoring and rebounding with 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds, respectively

Scouting the Bulldogs
F - 50 Jeremy Price 6-8 270 Fr. Decatur, Ga. 9.0 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game.
C - 44 Dave Bliss 6-10 255 Sr. Wausau, Wis. 7.7 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game
G - 2 Sundiata Gaines 6-1 205 Sr. Jamaica, N.Y. 15.0 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game
G - 30 Terrance Woodbury 6-7 220 Jr. Virginia Beach, Va. 9.7 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game
G - 5 Zac Swansey 6-1 175 Fr. Dunwoody, Ga. 4.6 points per game, 1.3 assists per game

Bench Report
G - 31 Billy Humphrey 6-2 190 Jr. Dacula, Ga. 13.1 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game
G - 23 Corey Butler 6-3 190 Jr. Decatur, Ga. 3.9 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game
F - 34 Albert Jackson 6-10 250 1.6 points per game 3.1 rebounds per game

Scouting the Wildcats
F - 21 Patrick Patterson 6-8 232 Fr. Huntington, W.Va., 16. 5 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game.
F - 42 Mark Coury 6-8 238 So. West Bloomfield, Mich. 2.4 points per game 2.2 rebounds per game.
G - 32 Joe Crawford 6-5 207 Sr. Detroit, Mich. 16.5 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game.
G - 3 Ramel Bradley 6-2 191 Sr. New York, N.Y. 16.2 points per game, 3.3 assists per game.
F - 24 Ramon Harris 6-6 213 pounds So. Anchorage, Alaska 3.5 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game.

Bench Report
F - 21 Perry Stevenson 6-9 201 So. Lafayette, La. 5.2 points per game 4.1 rebounds per game
G - 23 Jodie Meeks 6-4 207 Soph. Norcross, Ga. 8.8 points per game 2.6 rebounds per game.

Analysis and Prediction
Georgia has struggled on the road all year and nothing figures to change against the Wildcats, who despite being just three games over .500, are 7-3 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are expected to have Humphrey back and they'll need him at his best to have a chance. Georgia will also need another strong effort from Gaines, but the senior has played 40 minutes in two straight games. Felton would like to spell the senior more, but will he have a chance? Kentucky, meanwhile, is 4-0 in SEC home games this year.

Prediction: Kentucky 70, Georgia 60.

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