Live from Dogs-Cats: Can Fox’s Hounds shock the world?

DeMarcus Cousins and the not-so-adoring Georgia fans. (Photo by M. Bradley)

DeMarcus Cousins warms up before the not-so-adoring Georgia fans. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Athens – Here’s an amazing stat, courtesy of Georgia publicist Tim Hix. The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 494-457 in the first halves of their 14 SEC games but have been outscored 564-505 in second halves. Being my analytic self, I take this to mean:

Preparation and coaching gets Georgia ahead; the lack of depth gets them behind.

And this, I submit, is why a surprisingly decent team has lost six conference games in which it held a second-half lead. One of those games came Jan. 9 in Rupp Arena, where the then-unassuming Bulldogs led Kentucky with 8:06 remaining.

I mention this because the two meet again here tonight. As was the case nearly two months ago, the Big Blue enters ranked No. 3 in the nation, but Georgia has a much different look. The Bulldogs have proved they can beat quality opponents from the SEC East — Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida — on this court. But Kentucky is clearly a cut above those teams.

The Cats are 7 1/2-point favorites, and they need a victory to stay ahead of Vanderbilt in the SEC East. They’re also coming off a loss in Knoxville, and as a Bluegrass native I can tell you that any UK loss is cause for hand-wringing. (It was after the second — and final — loss of the 1977-1978 season that Joe B. Hall referred to his team as “The Quitting Quintet” and “The Folding Five.”)

Having just taken a tour of the court, I can report that many NBA scouts — including two former Hawks GMs (Billy Knight and Pete Babcock) — are in attendance. There might be six lottery picks playing tonight, only four for Kentucky. Georgia’s Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie are listed in the top 10 of NBAdraft.net’s 2011 mock draft. As is UK’s Eric Bledsoe. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson are expected to be taken in the 2010 lottery.

Speaking of Cousins: The Kentucky center was being razzed by Georgia students during early warmups, and Cousins was moved enough by this to stop shooting and glare into the stands. A couple of weeks ago Cousins was the center, so to speak, of a mini-tempest: Mississippi State students had gotten hold of his cell phone number and were leaving unflattering messages.

So we’ll monitor Mr. Cousins tonight. He has a temper, and he’s easily flustered. He’s also the best center in the nation. And we’ll see if Georgia can manage to go 5-0 against the SEC East at the Stegasaurus after going 0-5 on the road. And I ask you, not for the first time and I’m hoping not for the last, to join me. And I thank you, as always, in advance.

351 comments Add your comment

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:26 pm

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:27 pm

And i concur with your assessment of the numbers: very fine coaching and prep but nothing behind the first 5 or 6 guys.

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:30 pm

I predict Mr Cousins will experience a great deal of frustration or success tonight. The crowd will bring out either the best or the worst in him.

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:31 pm

Coach Grantham with a first and a concurrence. What a night! And we’re a half-hour from tipoff!

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:32 pm

It will only get better as the night goes on (i hope).

J Clay

March 3rd, 2010
7:34 pm

So glad to be able to discuss UGA basketball again – the team is making great strides and think we have the right coach in Fox. The 1-4 record versus the West is the worst stat of all this year – that side of the conference is weak, and I believe 3 of those games were ones we lead late into the 2nd half before collapse. Thinking next year we should legitimately be a tournament team.

All that being said – I don’t feel real good about tonight. Hope I am wrong and we can pull it out – but this has the feel of a UK blowout: them coming off loss, them needing win to stay in first, a few people actually starting to notice UGA.

No matter the result tonight – we really must beat LSU this weekend to get that elusive road victory – and thinking we could win 1 or 2 games in the conference tourney next week.

Go Dawgs

TheShaft

March 3rd, 2010
7:35 pm

FIRE PAUL BLEWIT!!!

…oh and congrats to UGA hoops and their big turnaround from a Tech grad.

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:36 pm

I’ve been around a while. I’ve seen a few things. But I just saw something new.

I walked out of the press room, and the Dance Dawgs had linked arms and were doing a pregame cheer in the tunnel. Included in their circle were Vince Dooley and Damon Evans.

Gravy Train

March 3rd, 2010
7:36 pm

I like The Hounds chances tonight. Trey and Travis runnin’ wild on the sons of the Prince of Darkness (the only way to explain escaping multiple probations and violations unscathed.)

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:37 pm

Mark, i hear Herb White is doing the radio color. if that’s possible on the radio.

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:38 pm

Surely V and D weren’t in the same attire as the D Dawgs.

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:38 pm

Knew it was coming but still missed it

MB I asked you last time and the dogs covered ( You said they wouldnt. Big Surprise )

Cats are favord by 8. Do the dogs cover?

BTW Im not using this in any monetary way ahem. No seriously

Trionbd

March 3rd, 2010
7:38 pm

Hey Mark…is there no local tv for tonights game?

yay for Fox!

March 3rd, 2010
7:40 pm

MB, since you graduated from Kentucky are you going to be rooting for them? Or has being a journalist in Atlanta made you unbiased towards events like this? I’ve always wondered how journalists view games like these

Trion bd

March 3rd, 2010
7:41 pm

Hey Mark…is there no local TV for tonights game????

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:41 pm

so vince came in with the dogs of dance
he was taking somewhat of a chance
when barb saw all that skin
she suddenly lost her grin
and looked at vince quite askance

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:42 pm

Included in their circle were Vince Dooley and Damon Evans.

There are worse places to be

Trion bd

March 3rd, 2010
7:43 pm

Is there no local (Atlanta) TV for tonights game??

yay for Fox!

March 3rd, 2010
7:43 pm

wait…its not televised?!?!?! not cool…

Gravy Train

March 3rd, 2010
7:44 pm

Release the Hounds! Trey and Travis run wild over the son of the Prince of Darkness. (How else do you explain surviving multiple violations and probations unscathed?)

Cuz

March 3rd, 2010
7:44 pm

Mark did you get my burger from Allens?

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:45 pm

Did not. Went to the Five Points Deli instead, Cuz.

Trion bd

March 3rd, 2010
7:46 pm

Hey Mark…No local TV for the game?????

Gravy Train

March 3rd, 2010
7:47 pm

Mark, can you ask what grade of oil Calipari uses to get that slick hair look?

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:47 pm

Zaza and Marvin Williams lead the Hawks in scoring

Hawks 38-28 over sixers

yay for Fox!

March 3rd, 2010
7:48 pm

MB, since you graduated from Kentucky are you going to be rooting for them? Or has being a journalist in Atlanta made you unbiased towards events like this? I’ve always wondered how journalists view games like these

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:48 pm

I was waiting for that question, yay for Fox!, and now I’m about to let you in on something that really isn’t a secret among my close friends. (At least it wouldn’t be if I had any friends.) I’m a UK graduate, but I grew up a Louisville fan. My dad graduated from U of L’s dental school. Our family comprised the entire rooting section in Maysville, Ky.

Cuz

March 3rd, 2010
7:48 pm

Five Points Deli is good. I hear they have a mean Turkey.

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:48 pm

I’ve always wondered how journalists view games like these

I would hope as a journalist

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:49 pm

I’m pretty sure it’s on TV in Atlanta, Trion bd. Try Peachtree TV.

yay for Fox!

March 3rd, 2010
7:49 pm

haha thats cool…so i hope that we agree on this…GO DAWGS!

Cuz

March 3rd, 2010
7:50 pm

ESPN 360 has the game, just leave Bradley up for comments. The guy thinks he is a comedian or something. I am betting on something.

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:50 pm

Elmore, I stopped rooting a while ago. Comes with the job. No matter who wins, I’m still on deadline.

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:50 pm

When I think Louisville I think Denny Crum

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:50 pm

I had the egg salad, Cuz. It was pretty decent.

Cuz

March 3rd, 2010
7:50 pm

Elmore, we are talking Bradley, not Schultzie.

Cuz

March 3rd, 2010
7:52 pm

Mark, in the second half. I am glad I am not sitting next to you. Did you buy some clothespins for the innocent bystanders?

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:52 pm

Mark, you sounded very testy on the radio interview about your feud with Hewitt.

yay for Fox!

March 3rd, 2010
7:53 pm

sucks for you MB, rooting is the best part of sports

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:53 pm

Elmore, I stopped rooting a while ago. Comes with the job. No matter who wins, I’m still on deadline.

Id agree with that. At some point it would seem you would have to. Or go to work as a SID

todd grantham

March 3rd, 2010
7:53 pm

was the dental and rooting description on purpose?

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:53 pm

And now let me anticipate another question: How many Cat fans are in the building?

A pretty good contingent — maybe 700 or so — but not as many as I’d have thought. You know the economy is rough when even Big Blue zealots aren’t traveling.

That said, the Cat fans started up with “Go Big Blue” just as I typed this.

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:54 pm

ESPN 360 has the game,

Dang thanks dude. Had forgotten about that. Game not on in Alabama.

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:55 pm

Testy, huh? You calling me testy? And I’m supposed to take that lying down?

See, I’m making a tiny joke.

Cuz

March 3rd, 2010
7:55 pm

I don’t know there yay. I am a huge SEC fan. When they play each other I have a great time watching the game even though I have no Dawg in the fight. Not intended as a jab at a former Atlanta quarterback.

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:56 pm

Georgia seniors being honored. Three of them — Albert Jackson, Ricky McPhee and Tyler Whatley.

Cuz

March 3rd, 2010
7:56 pm

You and tiny. The two go together as well as hamburger steak.

Elmore Spencer

March 3rd, 2010
7:57 pm

McPhee has got the most out his talent for sure.

Mark Bradley

March 3rd, 2010
7:58 pm

I’ll always recall the Tech-Georgia game. Ricky McPhee outscored Derrick Favors. (I know, they weren’t guarding one another. Still.)

Dawg 3/20

March 3rd, 2010
7:59 pm

Is Mark “2-7″ Richt in the house tonight?