Friday, February 10, 2017

Game Preview - Kentucky

After beating their first ranked opponent of the season, Alabama will look to repeat that feat against the mighty Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday when the 15th-ranked team visits Tuscaloosa. Game time is 12:00 PM. CBS will be televising the game. After looking like they would run through the league early, Kentucky have lost 3 of their last 5 games, and there are some definite chinks in the armor. Alabama might just be catching them at the right time.


70.3 PPG 90.2

66 OPP 74.3

42.3 FG% 48.7

40.4 OPP 43

48.5 EFG% 54.4

46.9 OPP 48.2

32.1 3PT% 35.7

35.9 OPP 32.3

65.2 FT% 69.3

67.1 OPP 68.5

41.7 FTRATE 40.8

40 OPP 33.8

40 RPG 40.3

33.4 OPP 35.5

34.8 OREB% 35.3

26 OPP 29.1

14.4 TOPG 12

14.7 OPP 15.7

20.6 TO% 15.6

21 OPP 20.3

61 KenPom Ranking 7

My Two Cents: John Calipari was noticeably frustrated with his team following Tuesday night's closer-than-expected victory over LSU at Rupp Arena. While the team is averaging 90 points per game, this has been arguably Calipari's worst defensive team at Kentucky. Once again, Calipari is having to rely on multiple freshmen to shoulder the load for his team; and, despite having two potential All-Americans on the team in freshmen De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, the team has had its share of inconsistent play as a result of leaning on freshmen. There won't be too many tears shed for Calipari as at least three of those freshmen (Fox, Monk and Edrice "Bam" Adebayo) are all expected to be 1st round draft picks. Alabama has been a solid defensive team this season, but Avery and his staff are going to have their work cut out for them to match up with the talent of Kentucky. Uptempo teams have been a nightmare for Alabama this season, and Kentucky is one of the fastest teams in the country. I think you have to play zone vs this Kentucky team. They're too fast, too athletic to guard one-on-one, and Adebayo in the middle will be as physical a player as our big guys have seen this season. They're not a great 3-pt shooting team. I say bite the bullet, play zone, and hope the shooters for this Kentucky team don't shoot the ball the way Auburn did in Coleman last weekend. Hold your own on the boards, muck up the game a little, keep the crowd in it....who knows?

Players to Watch: Dazon Ingram and Braxton Key combined for 13 points in the game vs South Carolina. While it was encouraging that the team gutted out a win without major contributions from its top two players, Dazon and Braxton must play well on Saturday if Alabama has any chance of winning.

Malik Monk has been streaky at times for this Kentucky team, but when he's on, he's one of the best players in the country. The hope is that he will fall in love with the 3-pt shot, because if he is aggressive off the dribble, I'm not sure there's a player on this Bama team that can guard him.

Prediction: While I love the fight this team has shown this season in responding to adversity, sometimes basketball is about more than heart and hustle, x's and o's; sometimes it just comes down to the matchup. And I don't believe the matchup favors Alabama. I believe they will fight, and the crowd should keep them in it, but Kentucky just has too much offensive firepower. Kentucky - 86 - Alabama - 76

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