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Kentucky Basketball Good, Bad, and Ugly: Alabama Edition

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What was good, bad, and ugly about Kentucky's win over Alabama?

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There were several questions for the Cats going into Tuesday night's matchup with the Crimson Tide.

What's the injury situation with Alex Poythress and Derek Willis? How will the Cats score without Willis in the lineup? How will the Cats bounce back from the heartbreaking loss at Texas A&M from Saturday?

Most of these questions were answered positively by Kentucky in this game. Poythress played 17 minutes and looked fantastic scoring 14 points which helped answer the scoring question. As for bouncing back, it started during pregame with Isaiah Briscoe spiking the ball in the huddle while Issac Humphries laughed and shook his head. Kentucky then came out and dominated winning by a final score of 78-53.

Good: Defense and rebounding

There were several positive takeaways from this game, but the two that really stood out were the 35% shooting by Alabama and the 41-29 rebound margin in favor of the blue. Kentucky's defense was smothering for the entire game and especially for a 16 minute stretch in the first half where the Tide were held to just one field goal.

Although the great defense led to only eight fast break points, the Cats were able to play well in their half court sets and get open looks along with getting to the free throw line and converting on 22 of 28 attempts.

As Kentucky fans have noticed this season, the first shot defense isn't what has plagued the Cats. It's the second and third shots that teams are getting off of offensive rebounds. In this game however, Kentucky held Alabama to just six offensive rebounds and five second-chance points. Marcus Lee led the way with twelve rebounds while the other four starters all grabbed at least four rebounds a piece.

Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis had their normal outstanding games combining for 42 points. Ulis also added ten assists for another double-double.

Bad: Derek Willis didn't play, contributing to the 20% shooting from three.

By now you've all seen the picture of Willis' ankle. It seems as though most are saying that the picture looked much worse than the injury actually is and that there may even be a chance for Willis to return to the floor as early as Saturday at Vandy. However, only time will tell.

As for this game the Cats were just 2-10 from distance with both makes coming from Jamal Murray. Tyler Ulis missed all three of his attempts while Murray missed his other three attempts and Briscoe and Dominique Hawkins both missed one a piece. On a positive note for the "bad" portion, the Cats attacked the rim in this game and scored 40 points in the paint.

Ugly: Guarding Retin Obasohan

Kentucky was very successful in keeping everyone on Alabama's team from scoring, except Retin Obasohan. Obasohan scored 29 of the Tide's 53 points on 9-13 shooting and 10-12 shooting from the free throw line. He scored in a variety of ways in this game with jumpers and a finger roll to beat the halftime buzzer. The other starters for Alabama combined for just eight points.