John Calipari puts his perfect Rupp Arena record on the line again as the Kentucky Wildcats host the Alabama Crimson Tide. The No. 2 Wildcats are 4-0 in the SEC and look to continue their dominance against an Alabama team that has dropped its last two.
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
CBS, or live stream at cbssports.com
Alabama: WTSK 790-AM
Kentucky: 630 WLAP-AM
Not available at this writing.
Alabama F Nick Jacobs (ankle), questionable according to chicagosports.sportsdirectinc.com
What’s At Stake?
Alabama, bounced from the rankings after a tough loss at Kansas State in December, would make a huge statement to the NCAA selection committee with an upset here. The Wildcats, meanwhile, look to keep their momentum rolling while keeping pace with Vanderbilt atop the SEC.
What They’re Saying
After his co-leading scorer, Tony Mitchell, went scoreless in a loss to Vanderbilt, Alabama head coach Anthony Grant tried to focus on moving on. “Tony has got to be able to regroup and understand that every player goes through a night where you struggle,” Grant told ESPN.
Kentucky coach Calipari is understandably encouraged by his team’s performance during its current 10-game winning streak. He told the Louisville Courier-Journal, “If we are closer to getting (Marquis Teague) right, if we are closer to getting Terrence Jones right, all of the sudden this thing takes on a different look.”
Alabama Player to Watch
PG Trevor Releford will need to be at the top of his game to penetrate the best interior defense in the country. With no outside shooters to fall back on, Releford must keep the Wildcat shot-blockers off balance.
Kentucky Player to Watch
SG Doron Lamb should be in for a big night against the unimpressive Crimson Tide wings. Kentucky’s leading scorer (not to mention best shot at .459 from long range) will light it up from everywhere on the floor in this matchup.
Alabama F Tony Mitchell vs. Kentucky F Terrence Jones. If Jones can keep Mitchell in a slump after his 0-for-8 shooting night against Vandy, Alabama’s upset chances will go down in flames.
Unless Alabama’s JaMychal Green suddenly resumes dominating inside as he did on occasion in 2010-11, the Tide are unlikely to pose much of a challenge to loaded Kentucky. The best ‘Bama can hope for is to keep it close through halftime, but the Wildcats are just too tough on defense for the nation’s 219th-ranked scoring offense to beat.