- The Kentucky Wildcats (4-8, 3-2 SEC) face the Georgia Bulldogs (8-4, 1-4 SEC) in Athens on Wednesday, Jan. 20
- Coach Cal’s ‘Cats have lost two in a row after appearing to right the ship,while Tom Crean’s Dawgs are coming off their first conference win of the season
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The eternally intriguing Kentucky Wildcats (4-8, 3-2 SEC) travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs (8-4, 1-4 SEC) Wednesday, Jan. 20. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at Stegeman Coliseum. Head coach John Calipari’s club has lost two straight.
As for UGA, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 7-0 record against exceedingly inferior opponents (the highest-rated team by KenPom Georgia beat in that season-opening stretch was No. 80 Cincinnati). Now, after losing four straight to open SEC play, the Dawgs will try to win two conference games in a row following a 78-74 win over Ole Miss Saturday in Oxford.
Kentucky vs Georgia Odds
|Kentucky||-3.5 (-108)||-168||Ov 144.5 (-110)|
|Georgia||+3.5 (-112)||+142||Un 144.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 19 at FanDuel.
Just when you thought UK had figured things out following the storied program’s first six-game losing streak since the 1988-89 season with three straight wins, it goes out and loses to Alabama by 20 at Rupp then a closer — but every bit as frustrating — loss to Auburn on the road.
Meanwhile, Tom Crean’s crew features six players averaging or close to averaging double-digits, led by sophomore guard Sahvir Wheeler. The 5-foot-10 Houston product is putting up 14.5 points per game. But Kentucky straight up owns Georgia recently. The ‘Cats are seeking a 15th straight win over the Dawgs.
That’s why it’s not surprising to see UK is favored on the road.
Shake It Up
Calipari said he opened Monday’s practice by telling his players that all five starting spots are up for grabs. According to Cal, “a couple of guys” took the UK coach up on his offer. In total, Calipari says there may be as many as four new players in the starting lineup in Athens Wednesday. Whomever gets the start, there’s plenty of buzz in Wildcat Nation.
Ive defended John Calipari more than anyone. And I’m glad he’s helped tons of kids make their NBA dreams come true. But he gets paid to win games at Kentucky. And his total disinterest in playing Kentuckys best scorer (Dontaie Allen) because he isnt a surefire pro is indefensible
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) January 16, 2021
Dontaie Allen and Jacob Toppin, the team’s two leading scorers at halftime against Auburn, both opened the second half on the bench in an eventual 66-59 loss. Allen finished with eight points and is putting up 7.3 points per game this season.
Calipari revealed one of his lineups has produced with the best in college basketball during his call-in radio show Monday. The Wildcats have scored 89 points per game across five SEC outings, an improvement from the 64.9 per game they managed against non-conference foes. What that mystery lineup is though remains to be seen.
Georgia carries a No. 90 rating by KenPom into Wednesday’s home game, the third-worst in the SEC. But UGA is ranked eighth in all of Division I with an average of 76.8 possessions per game. What Crean’s club is doing with those possession is the problem. The team opened conference play with decent performances against Mississippi State and LSU in defeat, but got blown out by Arkansas and Auburn. The Dawgs got off the schnide Saturday in Oxford.
Wheeler has proven himself to be a playmaker as the team’s leading scorer and assist man, dishing out 7.3 dimes per contest. Alongside Wheeler is fellow sophomore Toumani Camara, who is putting up 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and a trio of seniors (Justin Kier, P.J. Horne and Andrew Garcia) who go for about ten points a night.
If this balanced attack can stave off the ‘Cats, recent history can reversed.
It’s been nearly eight years since Georgia’s last win against UK, a 72-63 victory on March 7, 2013. Kentucky has downright dominated the Dawgs since, winning 14 straight by an average of 13 points. But due to Kentucky’s enigmatic performances this season, you would think now is the time for Georgia to snap the skid.
Just getting started.
Your @SEC Freshman of the Week, @Swdkd10 ?https://t.co/qi06zUxhY4 pic.twitter.com/2QArFDpx32
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) January 18, 2021
Bulldog freshman KD Johnson could be the wild card Wednesday. The 6-foot-1 Atlanta native saw his first action of the season last week — and what an impact he made. He poured in 21 points against Auburn in his Dawg debut, the third-highest effort ever behind only Dominique Wilkins and Anthony Edwards, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Then Saturday against the Rebels, Johnson scored 14 in Georgia’s win at Ole Miss. If Johnson can be that dynamic scorer against UK — new Kentucky starting lineup or not — I like Georgia’s chances.
The pick: Georgia moneyline (+142)