Tuesday night the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Kentucky Wildcats in a game that–at the beginning of the season–was supposed to be the best of the West versus the best of the East. At this point in the season where both teams are sitting on 6 and 5 losses respectively, this game is worth far much more than the bragging rights until the NCAA tournament. I’m going to make a bold prediction: If Kentucky loses this game, Alabama makes it into the NCAA tournament and Kentucky does not.
After this game, the Crimson Tide have three tough games against Tennessee, Florida, and Ole Miss. Ignoring an upset (which is possible – just look at Alabama’s losses to Mercer and Tulane), worst case for Alabama is that they end up 21 – 11. That’s a good definite NCAA-bound record in a tough league.
Kentucky’s remaining schedule is much tougher than Alabama’s. The Wildcats have road games against Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M, and Arkansas, and home games against Missouri and Florida. Worst case scenario the Wildcats end up 18-13. That is NOT an NCAA tournament record.
If the Wildcats lose this game against Alabama, they will panic and lose more games. Young players that expect to win national titles in their first year will not do well under pressure to make it to the tournament. I’m all for Kentucky stirring up the NCAA tournament when March swings around, but this team looks shaky at times. The winner of this game will end up being a top 5 seed in the NCAA tournament; the loser will probably not make it. Alabama wants this game more. Unfortunately, this game will be too much for Kentucky. Roll Tide.