Basketball's Wonder Dogs. Is Georgia a Legitimate Continder To Win The SEC?

David FunderburkContributor IJanuary 8, 2011

Donte Williams is one of several Bulldogs that have come of the bench to help Georgia start the season at a strong 12-2
Donte Williams is one of several Bulldogs that have come of the bench to help Georgia start the season at a strong 12-2

Coming of a stunning 77-70 win over the 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, The Bulldog Nation has a hype about their basketball program not felt since the "Human Highlight Film" was on the court for the Dogs.

With the win over Kentucky (12-3, 0-1) Georgia is on a nine-game winning streak, their longest since the 1982-83 season in which Georgia went 24-10, won the SEC Championship and went to the Final Four.

So is Georgia a legit contender for the SEC Championship, with how they have played so far they might just be.

Many of the things that haunted Georgia for much of the early season didn't bite them today, in fact they turned them around.

Going into the game with Kentucky, Georgia shot only 62 percent from the foul line, against Kentucky they went 30-34 while the Cats only shot 10-16.

That's not to say Georgia has completely corrected all of their problems, it just shows that they have the capability to do these kinds of things. The win definitely makes them contenders.

This is Georgia's second win over a top ten opponent in two seasons with Mark Fox, who has turned the entire program around since coming to Georgia, the last win over a top ten since they beat an eighth-ranked Tennessee team last January.

Tennessee since then has fallen somewhat. After a few big losses, the Volunteers lost their SEC opener on the road against Arkansas and are far from the SEC contenders they were at the start of the season.

With Tennessee reeling, that leaves Vanderbilt and Florida as the last two contenders in the SEC East. Georgia under Mark Fox has shown that they can beat the Commodores and the Gators as they split the series at one and one with both of them. 

For Georgia to be a contender they need to win on the road, something Georgia didn't do well last year only winning one road game in the SEC. They played phenomenal in all of those road losses, but fatigue on a young bench proved to be their undoing.

This year Georgia is a lot deeper in their depth chart with the emergence of Gerald Robinson Jr., Sherrard Brantley, and others, senior Chris Barnes has also been consistent coming off the bench.

When SEC Tournament time comes around, don't be surprised if Georgia was to make another run similar to their unbelievable run in 2008. It also might not be too big of a stretch to think that Georgia could secure a first-round bye.

One thing's for sure, don't let the title of being a football school fool you, Georgia's basketball team has come to play and they are ready to take the program to new heights.