By Dr. John Huang
It’s Kentucky (10-3, 1-0 SEC) versus Georgia (10-3, 0-0 SEC) tipping off in Athens tomorrow night at 9 pm on ESPN. For those of you planning to stay up and watch episode No. 2 of the “Nick and Quick” show, Karl Ravech and Jay Bilas will have the call from Stegeman Coliseum.
First time on the road for real
This will be Kentucky’s first foray onto an opponents home court this year. We all know what that means–packed arenas with rowdy fans thirsting for Wildcat blood. One…two…three…IT’S EVERYBODY’S SUPER BOWL! Coming off of their big upset road win over Memphis this past Saturday, Bulldog fans will be especially stoked. How this Wildcat team responds to adversity on the road for the first time will tell us a lot about the rest of the season.
“Every game’s tough,” explained sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley. “Most teams’ student sections are right on the floor, so they’re screaming and yelling and saying stuff. Just gotta try to be composed and for a freshman that can be tough.”
Hagans questionable, Juzang out?
It’s not just the rabid opposing fans screaming profanities about your mother that will be challenging, but Kentucky may also be without their floor leader. Point guard Ashton Hagans suffered a low ankle sprain towards the end of the Missouri game.
Assistant coach Joel Justice subbed in for head coach John Calipari earlier today in the pre-Georgia press conference, and was asked about the extent of the injury.
“We’ll see where he is today, but I think for us, it’s day-to-day,” Justice answered. “At this time of the season everybody is starting to get a little bit banged up, so that’s not any different than any of the other 13 guys on the roster.”
To me, that’s extremely good news and actually quite telling. With these types of injuries, no further news is good news. With today’s treatment modalities, low ankle sprains in young athletes heal pretty quickly. Just be glad it wasn’t something worse. Being from Georgia, you know Hagans will be itching to get in on the action. The bigger concern now is that he doesn’t return before he’s ready.
Who will step up?
If Hagans can’t go, and with Johnny Juzang out with the mystery virus, Kentucky may be down to just seven scholarship players. It’ now or never for Keion Brooks, Khalil Whitney, or EJ Montgomery to step up their game. Repeat performances of “Nick and Quick” every night out is probably too much to ask.
Get ready for a barn burner tomorrow night. Ear-shattering decibel levels, Tom Crean pacing the sidelines, bad officiating, and Georgia star freshman Anthony Edwards (18.4 ppg) hitting everything in sight.
You know it’ll be wild.
Sellout at Stegeman.
The Bulldogs have not lost at home (8-0).
There’s free pizza for students.
Adversity in Athens.
Count on it.
See you there!