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Georgia V. Kentucky: Did The Cats Ignore The Beware Of Dawg Sign?

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 02:  John Calipari the Head Coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives instructions to DeMarcus Cousins #15 and Patrick Patterson #54 during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Rupp Arena on January 2, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Marc DaleyAnalyst IJanuary 9, 2010

If you had never seen John Wall play before today you might have walked away wondering why the mass population anointed him as the basketball equivalent of a recession-fixer.  You also might be wondering how a collection of some of the finest basketball minds could have picked the Georgia Bulldogs to hold down the bottom of the SEC.

So, what's all the hubbub, bub?

OK, Georgia easily covered the spread and made the Rupp Arena collective sweat until Wall and Co. broke through in the last minute to score a 76-68 victory.  But before the talk-show voices erupt in songs of misery let's all take a breather and examine this victory a little closer.

Kentucky only made two of fourteen from radar love.  They weren't ill-advised attempts and most of the shooters displayed proper form.  Historically, Rupp Arena has been a tough place to shoot.  Sometimes the lid stays closed unless you're Ricky McPhee, who remembered he used to play for Gardner-Webb and nailed three big threes while Billy Gillispie gnashed his teeth somewhere in Texas. 

Georgia also did a fine job on the glass, outrebounding the Wildcats 31-29.  In addition to the dirty work, Trey Tompkins and Travis Leslie called up some moves from Pete Newell's Big Man Camp and used them to make some some needed inside baskets.

Finally, tempo makes a difference.  With the arsenal Kentucky has at its disposal they like to run at every opportunity.  Georgia, despite committing 26 turnovers and using them to open another Magee's Bakery in suburban Lexington, never let the horses get into a gallop.  Their zone defense limited the dribble-drive opportunities and they made sure to take the first good shot on offense, even if it meant taking the shot clock down to near zero.

So relax, Big Blue Nation.  It's conference play in the Power Six.  Duke and Purdue went down.  Villanova had a scare.  Georgetown made a mad comeback to beat UConn. 

It's that time of year.  Be glad for the competition.

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