ATHENS — Alabama might be the hottest team in the SEC, but Kentucky is the league standard when it comes to basketball, and Georgia will see how it measures up on Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs (8-4, 1-4 SEC) play host to the Wildcats (4-8, 3-2) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Stegeman Coliseum (TV: SEC Network).
Georgia coach Tom Crean has had some battles with John Calipari, and he’s making sure his team doesn’t read into Kentucky’s surprising record.
“There were picked to win the league by some,” Crean said. “I don’t think we’re playing their record, we’re playing Kentucky.
“We’re preparing for a team, not what their record is.”
The Wildcats have won 14 straight over Georgia dating back to 2013, but Crean has had success against Calipari and the Wildcats, beating them two of the last three times he played them while at Indiana in 2011 and 2016.
Calipari, whose past two losses came to red-hot Alabama and Auburn, said it’s about time this team gets on a roll.
“We’re playing defense as well as anyone in the country,” Calipari said during his video press conference on Thursday. “We’re not making baskets … that’s a key for us.
“We have too many tough shots we take when we shouldn’t, and it’s usually early in the shot clock.”
Calipari said he has told his team to bring confidence to the floor.
“I told them, ‘You guys could be as anybody in the country, you’ve got to get on roll, that means you’ve got to score some baskets,’ “ Calipari said. “You’ve got to stay defensively where you are, and now we’ve got to make easy plays for each other, open up the court a little bit.
“We’ve got to do it on the court, we’ve got to bust through.”
Georgia players held a team meeting after last week’s home loss to express the same sentiment, discussing how it was important to share the ball.
“We had a deep conversation with each other,” said UGA newcomer K.D. Johnson, last week’s SEC Freshman Player of the Week.
“Telling each other, ‘Ok, we know you’re a scorer, but passing the ball in certain areas and doing stuff like that, and being as one, and not being separate, that will make better strides on the team.”
GeorgiaDogs.com Did You Know?
“Georgia began last week as the only Division I basketball team in the nation with six players averaging double figures.
Through games of Jan. 10, 345 D-I teams had begun their 2020-21 campaign. Toumani Camara, Sahvir Wheeler, Justin Kier, Andrew Garcia, P.J. Horne and Tye Fagan represented the only sextet of teammates contributing 10 or more points of offense.
The Bulldogs enter this week with seven players contributing 9.5 ppg or more.”