Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report: Georgia vs Kentucky. It’s like finding money in your pants pockets. And the Dawgs were money on Saturday against an overmatched Auburn team.
Prior to tipoff, the Aw-barners announced the suspension of their best player. Losing those 18 points a game was obviously too much to overcome. You figure if Bruce Pearl suspends you, it must be something big. But give the Dawgs credit. They didn’t overlook Auburn and stayed focused. The final score was 65-55 but I have no idea how it was that close. The lead in the second half stayed around 19-24. And even while watching the game closely, I still don’t know how it got that close. Up next, Big Blue in Lexington. That city has historically not been kind to our Dawgs. I think our record up there is 6-61. However, Big Blue has proved beatable this year and I still contend UGA is as good as anyone in the SEC this year. So I’m saying there’s a chance. But before we talk Lexington, let’s look at Auburn.
The Dawgs played a very uninspired first half on Saturday. Luckily, Auburn was much worse. But then the Dawgs opened up the second half on an 18-4 run and basically put the game away. While the Dawgs missed 14 FTs and only shot 22% from three, we did have 48 rebounds and committed a season low eight turnovers. The Dawgs continue to be led by JJ Frazier with 16 point and Yante Maten who had a double double with 12 and 12. We probably didn’t play well enough to beat a good team, but the War Eagle Tigresses aren’t a good team. So it was an easy win.
This year’s UK may not be number one in all the land, but they’re still Kentucky and you know they still get all the calls in Lexington. So you have to beat them and the officials. Right now the Dawgs are listed in Joe Linardi’s first four out. So a win most likely places the Dawgs in the first four in category. That means this is crucial. They shoot a very high percentage from the floor, but are very mediocre from the FT line. Plus, both teams like to shoot FTs. So whoever makes the biggest impact at the charity stripe probably wins. Based on recent history, things must change for the Dawgs.
At this point, were are 6-4 in the SEC. I thought we’d be 7-3 when I looked at the schedule. If we knock off Big Blue, we not only have another quality win on the resume, but we also lockup the tie breaker against UK. That is gargantuan. Plus, at 7-4 we’re right back on pace for 11 or 12 wins and an invite to the Big Dance! So at 9 pm tomorrow night, it’s time to crank up the volume. 11 gives us a chance, 12 is a lock. But you gotta get to 7 before 11 or 12. This is what it is all about. Beating a storied tradition in Lexington to achieve a goal. Maybe even a good story for the grandkids down the road. Maybe Kenny Gaines or Charles Mann can tell the grands how they lit up the ‘Cats for 32 his senior season 40 years from now. They definitely have the opportunity. Let’s hope they take full advantage. Go Dawgs!
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