How to watch Alabama Crimson Tide (17-9, 8-5 in SEC) at Kentucky Wildcats (17-9, 6-7 in SEC)
Game time: 2 p.m. EST on Feb. 17, 2018
Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY
TV Channel: CBS
Online Stream: CBS Sports Online and CBS Sports Mobile
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: Kentucky opened as a 3.5-point favorite. Despite their recent struggles, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is favoring the Wildcats by giving them a 67.8% chance of victory. KenPom gives Kentucky a 65-percent chance of winning and projected them to be 4.5-point favorites.
Prediction: The Wildcats can take a breath for now, capturing a must-need win to fuel their momentum down the stretch. Calipari finally figures his young guys out and they play a full 40-minute game of pure team basketball. Final Score: Kentucky 76, Alabama 68
The last two weeks have been rough for the Kentucky Wildcats and their fan base.
Kentucky was ranked sixth in the AP Preseason Top-25 with high hopes for their young and talented roster. However, they now find themselves unranked after losing four straight games. That four-game skid, though, has been only one of many dents in their troubled season.
Kentucky’s issue all year long has been execution. They’re averaging more turnovers than assists per game and no one can seem to be a consistent shot maker. Combine that this is the toughest schedule John Calipari has played in quite some time, along with this is the youngest team he’s ever had, and you’d expect some setbacks throughout the season.
However, no one expected this.
Saturday afternoon’s matchup with Alabama can turn their entire season around, though, as Alabama is a quality team and any kind of win would be a huge lift for Kentucky’s spirit. Make it a quality win and they should be able to build momentum into next week’s matchup at Arkansas.
They have to start somewhere, and Saturday may be just the right time. It’s no secret that their time to “flip the switch” is running out. The Cats have just five games left until the start of the SEC Tournament, where they’ll likely have a lot to prove to the NCAA selection committee.
Alabama is riding high entering Saturday, as they’ve scored home wins over Auburn, Tennessee and even have a road win at Florida. That’s three wins over the league’s top three teams, and a big part of it has been the play of Collin Sexton.
The freshman point guard is one of the best players in college basketball, averaging 18.3 points, 3.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Stopping him will be key to the Cats ending their losing streak and winning in Rupp on Saturday.