TV Schedule: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Arena: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off of their worst loss of the season, as the surging squad fell at home to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Avery Johnson has worked wonders in his first season at the helm of the Alabama basketball program, but they might find themselves headed to the NIT after being projected to make the 2016 NCAA tournament just last week.
That being said, Alabama still has a legitimate shot at sneaking into the Big Dance, starting with their next game. The Crimson Tide travel to Lexington to face off with the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena.
Coming off of a disappointing road loss to the Texas A&M Aggies, Kentucky should no longer care about finishing the season strong and focus more on getting better as a team. Sure, the Wildcats are a juggernaut at home, but their last four losses all came on the road. With Derek Willis unlikely to play due to a nasty injury he sustained to his ankle, other players besides Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis need to step up.
That being said, Kentucky should win this one easily. The Wildcats are a completely different team at home than they are on the road, and Alabama has their lost four SEC road games this season. Although I would like the Crimson Tide to make it to the 2016 NCAA tournament, I have a feeling that they reached the high point of their season and will end up in the NIT.
Kentucky might not be as strong as they were last season, but they are still a legitimate national title contender that should stomp a much weaker opponent at home.
Prediction: Kentucky 76, Alabama 64