Saturday, January 06, 2001

UK, Georgia share struggles

After tough early schedules, face off in SEC opener

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Georgia coach Jim Harrick thought he was doing his young team a favor when he put together a nonconference schedule that would challenge even the top programs.

        But now, as the Bulldogs (7-6) enter Southeastern Conference play today at Kentucky (7 p.m.), Harrick believes he may have been out of his mind.

  • When: 7 p.m. today.
  • Where: Rupp Arena (23,000), Lexington, Ky.
  • Records: Georgia 7-6, Kentucky 6-5.
  • TV: Insight Ch.6.
  • Radio: WSAI-AM (1530).

  Shon Coleman -6-6-Sr.-10.2
  Anthony Evans -6-7-Sr.-11.4
  Ezra Williams -6-4-Fr.-10.2
  Rashad Wright -6-0-Fr.-4.3
  D.A. Layne -6-0-Jr.-16.4
  Coach: Jim Harrick (17-26, second season; 420-208 overall)

  Tayshaun Prince -6-9-Jr.-13.6
  Jason Parker -6-8-Fr.-8.9
  Gerald Fitch-6-3-Fr.-3.7
  Saul Smith -6-2-Sr.-8.0
  Keith Bogans -6-5-So.-17.3
  Coach: Tubby Smith (92-28, fourth season; 216-90 overall)
  • 97-17: UK's lead in the series.
  • 70-64: The score of UK's victory in the teams' last meeting, Feb. 19, 2000, at Lexington, Ky.
        “It was probably stupidity,” Harrick said with a chuckle when asked about scheduling early-season games with Wake Forest, Stanford, Utah, Georgia Tech, Villanova, California, Fresno State and Minnesota.

        “It's nice to go around and say, "Well, we had the toughest schedule in America.' But I'd rather have two or three more wins.”

        If anyone knows exactly how Harrick is feeling, it's Kentucky coach Tubby Smith.

        His Wildcats (6-5) already have faced St.John's, UCLA, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Indiana and archrival Louisville, and their five losses have come by a total of 14 points. But they have won three straight games, for the first time this season, heading into their matchup with the Bulldogs in Rupp Arena.

        Smith was asked to give his team a grade for its play so far this season.

        “Based on the last few games, I'd give us a "C,'” he said. “But I would say that, overall, we're hovering right above passing.”

        Harrick knows that UK, like his own team, has struggled to find chemistry against tough competition.

        “This is going to be a difficult assignment for us,” Harrick said. “They're getting good guard play, and they're big and strong inside. But their wings, (Keith) Bogans and (Tayshaun) Prince are their key guys. So go Bogans and Prince, really, so goes Kentucky.”

        Junior guard D.A. Layne leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 16.4 points a game, including 28 points against Georgia Tech and 27 points against Minnesota and Villanova.

        “D.A. Layne has picked up where he left off last year as one of the best shooters in the country, not just the SEC,” Smith said.

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