Tuesday night will see Kentucky take on Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena in a battle of the SEC’s best vs a rising Vols team.
Tennessee has lost four of its last five games, all of them SEC games, and they’re 3-4 in conference play. Don’t let the record fool you though, as these Vols have narrow losses to top-25 teams North Carolina, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, and Oregon.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, are the only team left that’s undefeated in SEC play (7-0). The matchup is just as bad statistically as it is record-wise, as Kentucky tops Tennessee in every stat category.
The only issue that could negatively impact Kentucky is De’Aaron Fox’s health. Fox is day-to-day, and will probably be questionable going into gameday. We’ve seen that Kentucky tends to suffer greatly when even one or two of the big three of Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo aren’t on the floor.
If he’s ruled out, Tennessee may be able to keep the game close, especially with their leading scorer, Robert Hubbs III, being a stud backcourt player. A major contribution from Kentucky natives Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins, like we saw against South Carolina, would be a huge help in offsetting Fox’s absence.
Regardless of Fox’s status, Kentucky has no business losing this game. The Wildcats have the Vols outmatched in pretty much every aspect of the game. Tennessee posts fewer points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks than Kentucky. They also have a lower field goal percentage and allow more points per-game than UK.
Even with the game being at Thompson-Boling Arena, and Fox possibly being out, Kentucky ‘should’ win the game by double-digits, but that was also the case last year, and we know how that turned out...
Here is everything you'll need for the Cats and the Vols facing off Tuesday night.
When: Jan. 24, 2017
Location: Thompson-Boling Arena
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
Online Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: UK Radio Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt (info and affiliates)
Odds: Kentucky opened as a 10-point road favorite. KenPom projected them to be a 10.5-point favorite.
Prediction: KenPom has UK winning this one 90-80 and gives the Cats an 83-percent chance of winning in Knoxville.