- Overall long, athletic team.
- Good defensively; they will block shots and rebound well.
- Half-court offensive team that won’t launch a ton of 3’s.
- 4-1 in SEC play, including two straight impressive victories.
#12 PG Kenny Gaines: 6’3’’ 195 SO
A long, athletic player who does a very good job of taking care of the ball offensively and will get after it defensively. Gaines averages 12 points per game, but isn’t the most efficient offensive player. He is shooting just 41.1% from the field and 28.6% from beyond the arc. Gaines will shoot it from deep, nearly half of his shots have been 3’s.
#4 SG Charles Mann: 6’5’’ 210 SO
Mann is a talented, all-around offensive player who leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 13.1 points per game. He is pretty aggressive offensively; will look to drive to the basket more than shoot from the perimeter and does a good job of getting to the foul line. Georgia doesn’t push in transition a whole lot, but if they do Mann is just as likely, if not more likely, to handle the ball than Kenny Gaines. He is turnover prone.
#31 SF Brandon Morris: 6’7’’ 215 SO
Another long, athletic player, Morris comes in averaging 9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Morris is not a shooter, but is a very good driver from the wings and can operate very well inside. Can be a tough matchup for smaller wing players because of his strength and ability to score on the interior.
#2 PF Marcus Thornton: 6’8’’ 235 RS JR
Marcus is very strong down low and plays hard. He averages 7.5 points per game to go along with 5.6 rebounds, but is especially effective on the offensive glass. The Wildcats must make a point to box him out. Offensively he is best at scoring off of put backs and easy dump off passes from guards; he will not create his own shot with his back to the basket. Shooting just over 40% from the field on the year. Good shot blocker.
#15 C Donte’ Williams: 6’9’’ 225 SR
Similar to Thornton, Williams is a very good offensive rebounder and shot blocker. He doesn’t look to do much offensively besides get the “garbage points.” The lone senior in the Bulldog rotation, Williams averages 5.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
#3 SG Juwan Parker: 6’4’’ 200 FR
An aggressive offensive player off of the bench, Parker averages 5 points per game to go along with 3.8 rebounds. He will take some 3-point shots, but has hit only 24% of his attempts from beyond the arc.
#30 PG J.J. Frazier: 5’10’’ 150 FR
J.J. is a super quick, lefty point guard who plays just about 8 minutes per game but will come in and look to attack. 21 of his 32 shots on the season have been 3’s, but he has only made 4 of those attempts. He is averaging 2.3 points per game, but is very capable of getting hot.
#42 PF Nemanja Djurisic: 6’8’’ 230 JR
The stretch-4 big man plays starter’s minutes off of the bench and averages 10.5 points. By far the Bulldog’s best perimeter shooter, Djurisic is shooting 53.7% from beyond the arc (22/41). He has some serious range too; I have seen him knock in a couple of 3’s from 27 or 28 feet.
- Georgia prefers to play their offensive possessions in the half-court. They are not going to get out and run in transition a whole lot and will look to attack the basket or feed the post rather than shoot 3’s. As a team, the Bulldogs are making just 3 ½ 3’s per game while shooting 33.8% from beyond the arc.
- The Bulldogs will look to methodically attack Kentucky in the half-court and will have many possessions end with a high ball-screen being set as the shot clock winds down. Both Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann are very good at scoring coming off of ball-screens.
- If Gaines or Mann do not score themselves off of a dribble drive, they will look to kick out to the other one or Nemanja Djurisic spotted up beyond the arc. The post duo of Marcus Thornton and Donte’ Williams get a handful of points every game off of put backs as well.
- A solid defensive team overall, the Bulldogs have a lot of long, athletic guys that will be able to do a decent job of matching up with the ‘Cats. They have held teams to 40% shooting from the field and are allowing 68.6 points per game.
- As a team, Georgia is blocking nearly 4 shots per game. Thornton and Williams do most of the rim protecting, but perimeter players like Kenny Gaines do a very good job of contesting, and blocking, some other shots. Again, their athleticism across the board means that few shots will come easy.
- Kentucky should be used to this by now, but Georgia will almost certainly play some zone defense to go along with man-to-man. Having a bunch of length (see Syracuse every year) can greatly improve a zone defense, so the Bulldogs have a pretty good zone lineup.
Keys to the Game
- Execute offensively. This statement can be made before every game, but Kentucky has a tendency to struggle at times with getting good shots offensively. It isn’t because they can’t get a good shot, with the size, athleticism, and talent the ‘Cats have that should never be an issue, but the Wildcats do tend to settle a lot. Against a good defensive team like Georgia, UK will need to work hard offensively and make sure that we get shots that we want each time down the floor.
- Keep the Bulldogs off the offensive glass. Georgia is going to score most of their points by driving to the basket off of the dribble and scoring inside, or an occasional kick out to Djurisic or Gaines for a 3-pointer. Since Kentucky is so good at protecting the rim, the Bulldogs interior scoring should be neutralized a little bit. So, that leaves offensive rebounding as a way that the ‘Dogs could grab an advantage.
- Stay out of foul trouble. Georgia does a good job of drawing fouls and getting to the foul line quite a bit. Luckily they shoot only 65.8% from the free throw line, but the bigger issue for Kentucky would be guys picking up multiple fouls.
- Set the tone early with a quick start. Every Kentucky fan has been harping on this point, and it got a little better against Texas A&M, but a solid start is especially important today. Georgia has gotten off to a 4-1 start in SEC play and has played the role of “surprise team” so far. They are coming off an impressive win against Arkansas and a route of South Carolina, so if the ‘Cats allow them any early confidence they could run with it as they try to pull a huge road upset.