Who: Alabama, 8-6 (1-1) vs. #14 Kentucky, 11-3 (2-0)
When: 11 a.m. CT, January 11, 2020.
Where: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Watch: ESPN (Play-by-Play: Dan Shulman; Analyst: Jay Bilas
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink; Sideline: Roger Hoover)
Coming off of a dominant 21 point win over a good Miss State team, Alabama’s really starting to find a rhythm offensively, and they’re having fun doing it. Alabama has now scored 90+ points in the last 5 games, which is the first time that’s ever happened in program history. Nate Oats has his team playing fast and they’re averaging 81.1 possessions per game according to TeamRankings. This is giving guys like John Petty, Kira Lewis Jr., and Jaden Shackelford their chance to shine and they’re taking advantage of it as of late. The Tide are now averaging 84.4 PPG which is top 4 in the country and it’s only improving every game. Meanwhile, Kentucky averages 71.3 possessions per game and 74.7 PPG. The huge advantage Kentucky has is on the defensive end. Alabama is giving up 78.9 PPG while Kentucky only allows 62.2. Alabama must step up defensively on Saturday if they want to add a quality win to the resumé. One thing that fans must really pay attention to in this game is the 3-point shooting. Alabama shoots 37.2% from 3 while Kentucky shoots 30.1%. Numbers can sometimes be deceiving, though. Last game, Kentucky made exactly half of their three point attempts and they’ve been shooting close to 40% over the last 3 games, which is better than Alabama. Whichever team gets hot from 3 will win this game. Alabama has shown for awhile that they’re capable, but Kentucky has been on fire lately as well.
Key Players to Watch:
G Tyrese Maxey (14 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG)
F Nick Richards (13 PPG, 7.5 RPG)
G Ashton Hagans (12.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 7.1 APG)
G Immanuel Quickley (12.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.8 APG)
If this game was in Tuscaloosa, I’d probably pick a close win for the Tide. Since this game is in Rupp, I think their crowd is going to be into it as always and it will give them the slight edge. Kentucky will shoot the 3 a little better than Alabama, and Kentucky will win a high scoring contest.
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