Who: Alabama; 9-3 (4-0) at Kentucky; 4-6 (3-0)
When: 8 pm CT, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.
Where: Rupp Arena; Lexington, KY.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
On Tuesday night, Alabama will look to keep their 5-game winning streak alive and keep sole possession of 1st place in the SEC when they travel to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Both Alabama and Kentucky are undefeated in SEC play and are looking to gain a huge advantage in the SEC title race with a win in this game. John Calipari’s team started the season out 1-6 before slowly turning their season around. They are now on a 3-game winning streak and coming off of a blowout win over Florida while sitting just behind Alabama in the SEC standings. The Wildcats do not stand out statistically in many areas, as they have had a bad start overall, but they are learning how to play as a team and seem to finally be turning the corner. They are a low scoring team averaging only 68.5 PPG (no. 212 in the NCAA according to TeamRankings) compared to Alabama’s 78.9 PPG (no. 41). Offensively, Alabama has the advantage here as they are getting better and are coming off of a 94 point outing against the Auburn Tigers. Defensively, Kentucky has the overall edge, but Alabama has been a very good defensive team for the most part since SEC play began. Kentucky holds teams to an average of 67.1 PPG on 40.5% shooting overall and 30.8% from three. Alabama, on the other hand, gives up 71.5 PPG on 41.5 % shooting overall and 31.6% from three. One thing Kentucky does not do well is take care of the ball. The Wildcats turn the ball over almost 15 times per game. If Alabama can force turnovers and get points off of them, that will give them another advantage on the road. One last thing Alabama will need to be very mindful of is Kentucky’s ability to block shots. They average 6.1 BPG and are ranked 3rd nationally in that category. Lately, Alabama has had a lot of trouble getting shots blocked under the rim and it has cost them points. Every point is going to be valuable if they want to beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena for 1st place in the SEC.
Players to Watch (Kentucky):
G Devin Askew (7.7 PPG, 2.8 APG, 2.5 RPG)
G Brandon Boston Jr. (12.8 PPG, 1.7 APG, 5.3 RPG)
G Terrence Clarke (10.7 PPG, 1.3 APG, 3 RPG)
G Davion Mintz (10.3 PPG, 2.9 APG, 3.3 RPG)
G Dontaie Allen (7.1 PPG, 1.7 RPG)
F Keion Brooks Jr (12 PPG, 4 APG, 6 RPG in 1 game against UF)
F Isaiah Jackson (5.7 PPG, 0.9 APG, 7.2 RPG)
F Olivier Sarr (11.2 PPG, 1.2 APG, 5.6 RPG)
Alabama has been on a roll these past 5 games bringing energy and intensity on the defensive end while taking advantage of open shots and sharing the ball well for the most part. You can see things are starting to click for this team, especially offensively, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. It is always hard to win on the road in college basketball, but it is really difficult to win at Rupp. This game could go either way as Kentucky is a 2-point favorite, but Alabama is one of the hottest teams in the country. Alabama continues to bring that energy to the court, Petty gets hot, and the Tide will roll out of Lexington with another SEC win.
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