TV Schedule: Saturday, Jan. 9, 6:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Arena: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, AL
Line: Kentucky (-6.5)
The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of their worst loss of the 2015-16 season, as they fell on the road to Ben Simmons and the LSU Tigers, 85-67. Although John Calipari and Co. will be disappointed to have three losses on the season already, Kentucky should still feel fairly confident that the SEC is theirs to lose.
The Wildcats’ next chance to redeem themselves is a trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to face off with the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are struggling to find their footing in the middle portion of the season.
Huge wins against the Wichita State Shockers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish seem like a distant memory, as Avery Johnson and Co. continue to struggle against above average opposition. Their two losses since their big wins have both been against teams that seem to be barely hanging on to the edge of 2016 NCAA tournament hopes. With an upcoming three game stretch that involves Kentucky, the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks and the Vanderbilt Commodores, Alabama’s season could get ugly fast.
That being said, the Crimson Tide definitely have a chance to pull off the upset over the Wildcats. Kentucky has shown their weaknesses several times this season, and Retin Obasohan could be in for a massive game. Alabama has shown flashes of being an NIT team, and the Wildcats have already lost to teams that could find themselves in the NIT come March.
Kentucky, on the other hand, should win this game nine out of ten times. Skal Labissiere has been a massive disappointment of late, but he’s still an ultra-talented player who could break out at any moment. The Wildcats’ offense might struggle a bit early on in this one, but their defense will control the pace of this game and get the job done. Watch for Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis to have a great game, as Kentucky bounces back with a blowout win on the road.
Prediction: Kentucky 75, Alabama 62