Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is Georgia's most productive player, but he's not the Bulldogs' only player, Coach Mark Fox said.
"He's our No. 1 guy," Fox said Wednesday. "Everybody knows it. We really don't have a consistent No. 2 guy."Yet, Fox contended, Georgia can be effective even if KCP does not have a big game.
"It's amazing," Fox said. "A lot of nights when he doesn't attempt to score or doesn't shoot as much, we play better."
Fox cited the second half of a game at South Carolina in which Caldwell-Pope took only three shots and the Bulldogs made 60 percent of their shots.
"A couple other games, he hasn't been as aggressive and we've been real efficient," Fox said. "He is very important. But we had other chips on the table."
As the only player in the Southeastern Conference to score in double digits in every game this season, Caldwell-Pope would seem to be the model of consistency. Not so, Fox said.
"I don't think he started the (season) very well at all," Fox said. "The first month was not one he wanted to be very proud of looking back because I don't think he was a very efficient player early."
In Georgia's first eight games, KCP made 44 of 120 shots (36.7 percent).
"I thought he was really sped up to start the year," Fox said. "He's matured. The game has slowed down for him. Therefore, he's a much more consistent performer in league play."
UK is hoping for a repeat of the 2010-11 season. The Cats finished second in the SEC Eastern Division, three games behind Florida, then rode a wave of momentum to the Final Four.
"Two years ago, something happened," Jon Hood said. "Darius (Miller) started playing like a man. Josh (Harrellson) started picking it up. Everybody started playing well."
In the last two games, Hood has grabbed seven rebounds.
"I just want to come in and bring energy," he said. "Try to bring as much of that as possible. Bring as much toughness and fight.
"With rebounding, there's a little bit of luck to it."
UK 'very good'
Fox does not buy the notion that Kentucky is only a capable and quality team.
"Kentucky is a very good basketball team," he said. The Georgia coach noted that UK is in second place in the league and has won 20 games. (Only three other SEC teams — Florida, Missouri and Mississippi — have won 20 games so far this season.)
"Kentucky is a team that's extremely talented," Fox said. "Long. Athletic. Very well coached. Much like our team, it's a team that continues to get better because they play a lot of young guys."
Of Georgia's top six scorers, there's one senior — Vincent Williams (4.9 ppg). The top three scorers are two sophomores — Caldwell-Pope (18.0 ppg) and Nemanja Djurisic (7.7 ppg) — and a freshman — Charles Mann (6.6 ppg).
Mann has become a key player for Georgia. "Charles has played the lion's share of the point-guard minutes," Fox said.
In the last two games, Mann has not committed a turnover while being credited for nine assists in a total of 50 minutes. He had a career-high eight assists in Georgia's victory over Tennessee last weekend.
Tooth or consequences
Calipari pronounced himself ready to coach at Georgia. He missed Monday's SEC coaches' teleconference and his weekly radio show that evening after undergoing a dental procedure Sunday night.
"It'll be fine," he said.
Men at work
■ The SEC assigned Jim Burr, Michael Stephens and Roger Ayers to officiate the Kentucky-Georgia game.
■ Rece Davis and Hall of Fame Coach Bob Knight will call the game for ESPN.
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227 Twitter: @JerryTipton Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com