Kentucky's March Madness Begins at Georgia

March 2, 2010

Kentucky's March Madness Begins at Georgia

The Wildcats go for a share of the SEC title again as they travel to Athens and go for a season sweep of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Kentucky needs one win to wrap up a share of its 44th SEC title. UK just missed an opportunity to stake its claim on the championship at Tennessee on Saturday. Down 19 points in the second half, UK mounted a furious rally, tying the game at 65-65 with 2:09 left, however the Cats fell 74-65.

Kentucky Georgia 
Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Georgia Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Weds., Mar. 3, 8:00 p.m
Coverage TV: SEC Network
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Live Video via ESPN360
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Location Stegeman Coliseum
Athens, Ga.
Georgia Bulldogs at a Glance
Head Coach Mark Fox
Overall Record 136-57
2009-10 Record 13-14, 5-9 SEC
Ranking nr
Series Record Kentucky leads 111-24
Last Meeting Kentucky defeated Georgia 76-68 in Lexington earlier this season
2009-10 Team Stats UK UGA
Scoring Offense 79.9 69.2
Scoring Defense 65.5 69.6
FG Percentage 47.6% 46.3%
3-point FG Percentage 34.7% 37.9%
FT Percentage 67.9% 71.7%
Rebound Margin +9.8 +4.3
Assists 15.0 13.9
Turnovers 14.9 14.7
2009-10 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (16.8)
UGA: Trey Thompkins (17.9)
Rebounding UK: DeMarcus Cousins (10.3)
UGA: Trey Thompkins (8.1)
Assists UK: John Wall (6.2)
UGA: Dustin Ware (3.4)
3-point FG Percentage UK: DeAndre Liggins (41.9%)
UGA: Trey Thompkins (42.0%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (1.7)
UGA: Albert Jackson (1.2)
Steals UK: John Wall (1.8)
UGA: Ricky McPhee (1.3)

DeMarcus Cousins recorded his 18th double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds while John Wall tallied a team-high 19 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds.

Cat Scratches: Calipari not fazed by UK's 3-point shooting slump

At Memphis, it was his team's free-throw shooting. At Kentucky, it's his team's 3-point shooting.

Every team has an Achilles heel and the UK men's basketball team appears to be no exception. Although there have been few bones to pick with the Cats' 27-2 record this season, one area that's brought a bit of ire from fans of late is Kentucky's 3-point shooting.

Over the last four games, UK has hit just 12-of-73 shots (16.4 percent) from behind the arc, well below its 34.7 percent season average.

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Pregame Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On Georgia…

“From the tapes that I’ve watched the last two weeks, they are as good as anybody in our league, obviously. [They] just absolutely thumped Tennessee, who beat us. Vanderbilt, Florida… you can go right down the line, they have beat everybody on our half. The biggest thing is that they are really disciplined in what they do and how they play and they don’t change for forty minutes. They are very physical [Travis] Leslie is athletic. [Trey] Thompkins is about as good as there is in our league. [He] gave us twenty-five or thirty last time. They have a couple guys shooting threes. Their point guard is shooting better now. Against Vanderbilt, he made two threes down the stretch and gave them the chance to win. [It is] a hard game for us, a hard game to win; especially coming off of what just happened to us.”

On Jon Hood…

“That’s the greatest thing. He just came in and said, ‘Coach, I’m telling you I can guard this guy and that guy and I’ll make shots. I’m telling you.’ I said, ‘You know what? I need to give you a chance.’ So we’ll see how things play out. I love it when guys have that attitude: let me get in there and do it. Because then it’s not on me, it’s on them.”

On who the “go to guy” is on three-point shots now…

“I am comfortable with Darius [Miller ], Darnell [Dodson ], John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Liggins… You’re talking about guys, who, over the season, have shot the ball as well as anybody in the country. They have hit a spell where they don’t shoot it as well. I have done this so long that it doesn’t faze me. Now if they are buying into what everybody is saying, then it may faze them. You look at my team, early in the year we had great three-point shooting and we just killed on the three-point line. Then it was back to not having good three-point shooting. They are not machines. They don’t make every shot. They go through spells like anybody else. Hopefully we did it early enough that it doesn’t affect us down the stretch.”

On the team fatigue right now …

“I don’t think so, but I would imagine that just like any team right now, we are at thirty games. We’ve been doing this for five months, every day. They are all freshmen or sophomores that have never played. We have the most inexperienced team in the country and I would imagine that this is all new to them. [They are] playing for something significant. [This is] all new to every one of these guys. Either you are playing for the NIT or you are playing for something real. These guys have never really gone after this. They have never been like this. Now the games are different, the hype on the games is different. The road and experience is different. This is all new to this entire team, and so maybe that is wearing on them. I like my team. I like my players. I like how we play. I like how we defend. I like our offense. I like our speed. We are going to get everybody’s best. Georgia is going to play a great game, just like Tennessee played the best they played all year. That’s just how it is.”

On what needs improvement defensively…

“We are in the top ten in field goal percentage defensively. We’re in the top ten in rebounding margin, number one. We are in the ten in blocked shots. I believe we are up there in three-point field goal percentage. We just have to play like we have played all year. Probably, get a little more aggressive when teams are trying to hold it. If they had played we would have gotten beaten by twenty-five in the first half. They held the ball and gave us a chance. They held the ball and gave us another chance. We decided how to play it and gave ourselves the best opportunity to win…shooting 2-for-22 from the three.”

On the low percentage shooting spell…

“This is what you go through when you play. Anyone who has played this game has had spells where they were not feeling it. You either say, I’m going to change this by getting in the gym, which is what they are doing’ or you listen to everybody saying it you start believing it.”

On the shooting being a “mental” issues…

“It becomes a problem if you are losing a bunch of games in a row because of it. The reality of it is for our team that we have had games where you just don’t shoot as well. We are a great defensive team. We’re big, we rebound, we block shots and we are unbelievable defensively. That is why we’ll win. It won’t have anything to do with our three-point shooting. At Memphis I kept saying, “This is what we do exceptionally well.” We were the last team standing. I’d like to make every free throw and jumper, but I can’t get that in a dream.”

#4, Jon Hood, Fr., G

On putting in extra work on his shooting…

“I have been in (the gym) as much as I can, whether it be before practice, after practice, or during off days. You work on your shot to make it better, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

On how practice and hard work have improved his skills…

“Every day I come in and face these All-Americans and all these great players. During practice, I’m guarding Eric (Bledsoe), Darius (Miller), DeAndre (Liggins) and John Wall. I think my defense has gotten better. I’ve been working on my shot, ball-handling skills, and my strength in the weight room, so I think I’m better than I was the last time I played in a game and a lot better than I was at the beginning of the season.”

On how the upperclassmen have mentored him…

“Josh (Harrellson) has talked to me about some things and told me to stay humble, stay hungry and keep working. That’s what I’ve tried to do this year, whether it be getting in extra shots or watching tape and studying the games.”

#55, Josh Harrellson, Jr., F

On Kentucky facing Georgia’s (Trey) Thompkins…

“He’s a good player. The last time they (Georgia) played here, he had a great game, played tough, and scored a lot of points. Hopefully we can contain him better this time.”

On Georgia’s success this season on their home court…

“They have beaten a lot of quality teams at home this year. They beat Florida and Vanderbilt there, so they play really well at home. It will be a tough game for us to go down there and play them in that environment.”

On Kentucky’s attitude since their loss at Tennessee…

“Everybody is very focused and ready to get to work. We’re going harder in practice and more prepared. All of us are ready to put the loss behind us, work hard and focus on winning.”

On the team’s preparation for Georgia…

“Everybody is more prepared and has the mindset that we want to come out and beat everyone now. We’re all playing as hard as we can in practice. We’re doing more drills in practice and playing five-on-five.”