Welcome to the Kentucky Wildcats versus the Alabama Crimson Tide, part deux. This time, the Tide gets to do the road trip thing and face the Wildcats on their home floor where eight NCAA Tournament championship banners hang regally in the rafters. Even though the much bigger game is the Virginia Cavaliers and Duke Blue Devils, I’ll be focused on the Wildcats’ attempt to win their 21st straight game.
Essentials for victory
Play like champions — It’s time for Kentucky to start executing sharply on both sides of the ball. The tournament is only five weeks away.
Rebound — Both offensive and defensive rebounding has been suspect lately. the ‘Cats need to tighten that up.
Attack the rim — Kentucky has been doing a great job of attacking the rim lately. They need to keep it up.
Clean up the turnovers — Kentucky turned the ball over liberally at Missouri. Let’s not do that again.
Force Alabama to shoot inside the arc — Alabama is not a very good 3-point shooting team, but they take a lot of them and if they get hot, it will be trouble.
Bring more consistency — Kentucky has been great on one play and ordinary on the next, and we need to see more consistency possession to possession.
With Ricky Tarrant out, the Tide are going to have a tough time finding enough scoring to beat Kentucky in their own house. Injuries are a part of basketball, of course, as Kentucky knows all too well with the injury to Alex Poythress. But you can never take any opponent for granted, even a weakened team at home.
If they Wildcats respect their foe and play hard, they should win this game comfortably. Alabama has not been able to get out of their own way this year, and Kentucky has much more talent and depth, plus the advantage of playing at home in Rupp Arena.