How to watch Kentucky Wildcats (12-2) at Tennessee Volunteers (9-4)
Date: January 6th at 9 pm EST
Location: Thompson-Boling Arena
TV: SEC Network
Online Stream: You can stream the game online or on a mobile device using WatchESPN.
Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington or online at UKAthletics.com.
Odds: The Cats are a 3-point underdog. KenPom projected the Cats to be a 3-point underdog in Knoxville.
Predictions: UK has a 32.3-percent chance to win, according to ESPN’s matchup predictor. KenPom gives UK an 40-percent chance of winning and projects an 74-71 win for the Vols.
SportsLine Projection Model’s score: Tennessee 77, Kentucky 74
Vegas line: Tennessee is favored by 3 (O/U 146.5)
Projected stats: In a tight one in Knoxville, the Volunteers eke out a huge win, thanks in large part Grant Williams’ 13.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. The Wildcats get balanced scoring from their starters, including Hamidou Diallo, who registers 13.8 points and 4.8 rebounds, and Kevin Knox’s 13.7 points and 5.7 boards.
Knoxville has not been kind to the Kentucky Wildcats the last two years.
Each of those two years, the Wildcats have left the Volunteer State with a loss to the Tennessee Volunteers. Last year, Kentucky came into the game ranked 4th an fell just short as the Vols pulled off an 82-80 upset in Thompson-Boling Arena in which the Volunteers shot 50 percent from three.
The year before, Kentucky gave up a 21-point first-half lead before falling to the Volunteers by a score of 84-77.
Overall in his tenure at Kentucky, John Calipari is 3-4 against the Volunteers in Knoxville, including three of those losses coming in the last four contests.
This year, the Vols are currently ranked 23rd in the country but have dropped their first two SEC games (a 95-93 loss in overtime at Arkansas and a 94-84 home loss to Auburn).
But the Volunteers, led by head coach Rick Barnes, have a solid non-conference victory over Purdue as well as wins versus NC State and Georgia Tech while playing North Carolina and Villanova close.
Kentucky will be walking into a hostile road environment after a tough road win at LSU on Wednesday, and asking a group of freshmen to pull out back-to-back road wins like that will be a tall task for Calipari and the Wildcats coaching staff.
The Vols have 3-4 guys that can be a threat on any given night, but given Kentucky’s struggles with opposing forwards this year, they will need to keep sophomore forward Grant Williams in check, who comes in averaging a team-leading 15.6 points per game this season.
Outside of Williams, Admiral Schofield (12.3 ppg, 43.4 three-point percentage), Jordan Bowden (10.8 points per game, 26-43 from three this year), Lamonte Turner (9.8 ppg), and Jordan Bone (9.3 ppg) are all threats to have a big game that could lead to an upset.
The Volunteers have shown the ability to put points on the board, especially in their first two SEC contests. Unless Kentucky can really clamp down on defense, this one could easily turn into a shootout.