Who: #9 Alabama; 13-3 (8-0) vs. Kentucky; 5-9 (4-3)
When: 6:00 pm CT, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.
Where: Coleman Coliseum; Tuscaloosa, AL.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
Alabama comes into Tuesday night’s game against Kentucky with their highest ranking in 18 years. The Tide are ranked #9 in the AP Poll and are on a 9 game winning streak, while also remaining undefeated in the SEC. Kentucky, on the other hand, has had a disappointing season but they are coming off of an impressive double digit win against LSU. Alabama won the first meeting with the Wildcats in Rupp arena by a score of 85-65. John Calipari’s team will come into Coleman Coliseum looking for revenge and looking to avoid the sweep, so Alabama has to come out with intensity from the start. Kentucky is not a very good offensive team coming in shooting 41.9% overall (no. 256 in the country according to TeamRankings) and 28.2% from 3 (no. 320). They’re only averaging 68.1 PPG compared to Alabama’s 81.8. One thing Kentucky has going for them is they scored 82 points in their last game, even though it was against a terrible LSU defense. It is something that will surely build their confidence a little and Coach Cal will hope that his team can carry that over into this game against the no. 9 team in the country. If Kentucky beats Alabama, it will come down to their offensive rebounding and ability to hit shots like they did in their last game. The Wildcats are one of the best teams in the country when it comes to offensive rebound % at 35.3% (no. 11). That is great news for them against a team like Alabama who comes in allowing opponents to get offensive rebounds at 27.9% (no. 239). James Rojas is questionable for this game and Jordan Bruner is still out, so Kentucky will have an advantage that they will need to take and then make shots. Shooting as poorly as they have all year will not beat many teams, especially a team as good offensively as Alabama is. It will be a tall task for Coach Cal to lead his team to a victory on the road Tuesday night.
Kentucky Players to Watch:
G Devin Askew (6.9 PPG, 2.9 APG, 2.8 RPG)
G Brandon Boston Jr. (12.4 PPG, 1.3 APG, 5.4 RPG)
G Davion Mintz (9.6 PPG, 2.6 APG, 3.3 RPG)
G Dontaie Allen (6.8 PPG, 0.2 APG, 2.2 RPG)
F Keion Brooks Jr. (11.4 PPG, 1.4 APG, 5.6 RPG)
F Isaiah Jackson (6.5 PPG, 0.6 APG, 7 RPG)
F Olivier Sarr (10.2 PPG, 1.1 APG, 6 RPG)
In the first meeting, Alabama won by 20, and it could have been worse. Kentucky showed improvements in their last game even though they did not play a defense (or offense) like they will face in Alabama. I expect this game to be a little closer, but not by much. Herb Jones, John Petty, and Josh Primo will once again shoot the ball well from deep and the Tide will roll to a 10th straight win.
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