Mark Fox got a little agitated.
"What makes me angry is," said the Georgia basketball coach, sitting on the podium during his postgame press conference at Rupp Arena, "why does everyone in this league have to beat Kentucky for us to be tournament teams?"
Georgia didn't beat Kentucky on Tuesday night. Georgia lost 69-58 to the nation's No. 1-ranked team on Kentucky's home floor.
Georgia was without leading scorer and rebounder Marcus Thornton, trailed by 15 points at the half, then cut the Kentucky margin to five points with 2:05 left.
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"If we could have made a couple of more shots, we might have made things interesting," Fox said.
So did Kentucky play poorly?
Or did Georgia just play really well?
"I'm not going to evaluate how Kentucky played; that's John's (Calipari's) job not mine," Fox said. "But this league is a lot deeper than people realize."
The perception is that the league is Kentucky and the 13 dwarfs. Kentucky is the only SEC team in the AP Top 25.
Whether the SEC coaches like it or not, when the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee gets together in March, probably the top reference point on each league team's résumé is how it played against the No. 1 team in the nation.
In that respect, Georgia gave a very good account of itself. Let's be honest, the Cats weren't dynamite. They were outrebounded 36-24. They claimed just five offensive rebounds compared to 27 defensive rebounds for Georgia. Devin Booker missed five of his six three-point shots.
In fact, UK needed a terrific night from Andrew Harrison, who scored 23 points and made seven assists, to keep its head above water down the stretch.
But Georgia had much to do with all that. The Dogs were just more aggressive in the second half. They drove the ball to the basket with authority. In Thornton's absence, they got 13 points and nine rebounds from Yante Maten, a freshman.
In non-conference play, Georgia beat Seton Hall, which was ranked 24th last week. It won at Kansas State. It had won five straight conference games before Thornton was lost to a concussion and the Bulldogs stumbled badly at South Carolina on Saturday.
And, oh yeah, by the way, Mark Fox can coach.
"Everyone says Kentucky could go undefeated in any league, and they could go undefeated in ours and they may not," he said. "But why do the teams in our league have to beat Kentucky to be worthwhile?"
"I think there's quality non-conference wins across the league. The perception is that our league is like it was a year ago or two years ago. That's not the case. This league is terrific from top to bottom."
Let's not overstate the case. The SEC isn't the ACC. But the SEC is getting better. It played a much tougher non-conference schedule than in past years, however, and that alone helps every team from top to bottom.
If Kentucky wasn't on it's A-game Tuesday night, Georgia had a lot to do with that.
"I'm glad he got mad," Calipari said when told of Fox's passionate defense of the league. "The media should be mad. The people that cover the teams should be mad, unless you cover us and don't like us."
The Kentucky coach then smiled and gave we the media a wink.
"But I would tell you that they (Georgia) should be mad because they're playing well and they have one of their best players out," Calipari said. "I mean, they did what they had to do — think about it — to stay in this game."
An 18-point underdog, without its leading scorer, Georgia made it a game.
"There's going to be a lot of battles in this league," Fox said. "And if they have close games, it's not because Kentucky is bad or Kentucky's young, it might be because the other team is competitive."