First Screening Report: Kentucky Men’s Basketball vs Georgia

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Georgia coach Tom Crean and Kentucky boss John Calipari shook hands ahead of the UK’s 69-49 victory over the Bulldogs in 2018-19. As a head coach, Crean won victories over Kentucky at three different schools, Marquette, Indiana and Georgia.

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A first look to the future Kentucky Wildcats Upcoming Men’s Basketball Game:

The adversary

# 16 Kentucky (11-3, 1-1 SEC) will face Georgia (5-9, 0-1 SEC) Saturday January 8 at the Rupp Arena at the Central Bank Center (capacity 20,545) in downtown Lexington:

The game will begin at 6 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on the SEC network.

Coach Tom Crean’s Bulldogs lost 81-79 to Texas A&M on Tuesday night in Athens.

Series history

Kentucky leads the all-time series with Georgia 129-27 and has won 17 of the last 19 meetings.

Most recent meeting

Sahvir Wheeler of Georgia had 10 points and seven assists and Andrew Garcia contributed 16 points and six rebounds as the Bulldogs ended a 13-game losing streak against Kentucky with a 63-62 victory over the United United on January 20, 2021, at the Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.

Power rankings

Thanks to Monday’s matches, the NCAA NET Rank had No. 15 Kentucky and No. 243 Georgia.

the Kenpom Leaderboards ranked UK # 8 and Georgia # 216.

Kentucky was No. 10 in the Evaluations of Sagarin with Georgia No. 184.

Know your enemy

1. Kentucky point guard Sahvir Wheeler should face his old team. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior played his first two seasons for Georgia.

A Houston product, Wheeler averaged 9 points and 4.5 assists for the 16-16 freshman Bulldogs in 2019-20. Last season, when Georgia was 14-12, Wheeler averaged 14 points and an SEC record 7.4 assists.

Wheeler, however, was knocked to the ground in the UK’s game at LSU on Tuesday night after hitting hard on a pick he didn’t see with 16:07 left in the first half. After being unavailable for an extended period, Wheeler was escorted off the ground by two British support staff.

So it seems uncertain whether he will be able to play against his former team on Saturday.

2. Georgia coach Tom Crean holds a unique distinction: He is the only coach in the country who can claim to have beaten Kentucky’s last three men’s basketball coaches in NCAA tournament games.

In the round of 16 of the 2003 NCAA tournament, Team Marquette de Crean – led by emerging superstar named Dwyane Wade – suffered a painful 83-69 loss to the No.1-ranked Tubby Smith Wildcats.

He ended a 26-game winning streak at Kentucky.

Crean and Marquette ruined Billy Gillispie’s only NCAA tournament game as the UK chief, beating the Wildcats 74-66 in the 64 rounds of the 2008 NCAA tournament.

Marquette won despite 35 points from British goalkeeper Joe Crawford.

Crean had moved to Indiana when he coached the Hoosiers ahead of John Calipari and the Cats 73-67 in the Round of 16 of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Overall, Crean is 5-7 in his career against Kentucky – 2-0 at Marquette; 2-4 in Indiana; and 1-3 in Georgia – but 3-1 against the Wildcats when it matters most in the NCAA tournament.

Britain’s only success in the Big Dance against Crean came when the eventual Kentucky side for the 2012 NCAA Championship defeated Indiana 102-90 in the round of 16.

3. Georgia struggled mightily in 2021-2022, leading to much speculation about the firmness of Crean’s grip on its work.

Following Tuesday night’s loss to Texas A&M, the Bulldogs are 0-4 this season against opponents in the Power Conference, having also lost to Georgia Tech (88-78) and Virginia (65-55) of the ‘ACC and Northwestern of the Big Ten (78-62).

Perhaps worse still, Georgia lost home games to Wofford (68-65), George Mason (80-67), East Tennessee State (86-84) and our old friends Gardner-Webb (77- 60).

The Bulldogs’ only brilliant moment this season came on December 1, an 82-79 loss to Memphis in Athens.

Crean – in his fourth season in Georgia – is 46-58 as the Bulldogs head coach.

This story was originally published January 4, 2022 9:18 pm.

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Mark Story has worked in the sports department of the Lexington Herald-Leader since August 27, 1990 and has been a sports columnist for the Herald-Leader since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK- basketball. U of L. match but three since 1996-97 and each Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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Amanda J. Marsh