His point is that his team is playing at the level most observers expected coming into the season.
"When have we ever looked like a team that should be running through
the SEC?" Felton responded when asked about how to turn around his
team's fortunes. "We're just fighting the good fight."
Georgia (8-5 overall, 0-2 SEC) teased its fan base with an 83-80 upset
over then-No. 3 Georgia Tech two weeks ago. That was the first game in
which the Bulldogs played with the consistency Felton desired, but
Georgia didn't capitalize on the momentum and was beaten by a combined
45 points by Tennessee and South Carolina last week.
"It didn't take us long to get right back to a consistency
Felton said. "We're not a team searching for answers. The answers are
right there. We're a team searching for the toughness to do things with
the required consistency. That toughness takes years to develop."
Tubby Smith, whose No. 5 Kentucky Wildcats (11-1, 2-0) will play host
to Georgia today at 1 p.m. in Rupp Arena, thinks Felton can turn the
Bulldogs around, eventually.
"It just takes time," Smith said. "You can't do it all at
has done it once before, at Western (Kentucky). He did a good job there.
That's why he was selected at Georgia."
Felton coached his Western Kentucky team to an upset over the Wildcats
in Rupp Arena early last season, giving him as many wins in the building
as the Bulldogs have in the last 19 years. Georgia has won just three
times in 54 games in Lexington, and nothing suggests it will up that
total to four today.
Kentucky has won 21 straight SEC games. The streak is the
ninth-longest in conference history and only the second time since 1969
a team has won more than 20 in a row in the conference.
"It is a point of pride," said Smith, who will go for his
career win today. "It says a lot about this group of young men and how
they've been able to thrive under pressure."
Kentucky is led by Macon native Gerald Fitch. The Westside graduate is
third in the SEC in scoring with 18.1 points per game and is first in
the league in 3-pointers made with an average of more than three per
game. He has hit 13 of his last 24 3-pointers.
The novelty of playing against his state school has long since passed,
"It kind of gets old," said the senior. "That's kind of a
Fitch is averaging 31.3 minutes per game but won't see that much
action today if Smith has his way. The Wildcats only weakness this
season has been depth. None of Kentucky's reserves is averaging more
than 2.5 points per game, and even Smith acknowledged today's game might
be a chance for him to give his reserves more playing time.
"(Georgia is) playing more inexperienced players than most teams we
play so that should give me the courage to play more of those guys,"
Smith said, putting as positive a spin on the comment as he could.
It's doubtful Felton would take offense to the remark.
Dawgs get ready for Cats
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