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Kentucky vs. Alabama and Texas game glances

Two of Kentucky’s most challenging games of the season take place this week.

Kentucky Athletics

Will Saturday’s pounding of a 10-3 LSU team be enough to get things on track for John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats?

That may be an overreaction, but there’s now denying that UK did things on offense that we haven’t seen since game one against Morehead State.

Their 82 points were the highest output of the season, and you could see the confidence begin to grow with individual players.

Most importantly, BJ Boston.

Boston followed up a 18-point performance off the bench in Athens by pouring in 18 more in impressive fashion vs. LSU. The freshman made several difficult shots and created offense for his teammates.

Isaiah Jackson was another promising bright spot snagging a ridiculous 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes of play.

Sure, LSU’s defense is anything but spectacular, but it’s still a team that should finish near the top of the conference.

If freshman guard Terrence Clarke is able to return to the lineup and see a similar improvement as BJ Boston, then there is no telling where this team could be by the time March rolls around.

Calipari did say after the win that he doesn’t expect Clarke back for what will be arguably the toughest two game stretch of the entire season.

Alabama Crimson Tide: Tuesday, January 26th at 7 PM on ESPN

After building some potentially season saving momentum — Nate Oats is not the coach you want to see across the sideline. His 18th-ranked Crimson Tide have been making national headlines with their exciting style of play that produces a barrage of long range shots.

His philosophy is a blow-by lay-up or a three pointer, relatively no other shot is acceptable.

This was on full display last week when they scorched the nets for 23 threes in a 105-75 win over LSU, led by former UK recruit John Petty, who hit eight by himself.

There’s a real chance Alabama will climb into the top 10 of the new top-25 polls, which means Kentucky could face two top-10 teams this week.

Alabama is the top team in the SEC for a reason, and they obviously just recently dismantled Kentucky on their home floor.

This one won’t be easy on the road, but what we saw on Saturday can be replicated, UK just may have a shot to really turn this season around.

Considering how Bama has been rolling teams, you won’t find many people picking the Cats in this one.

Texas Longhorns: Saturday, January 30th 8 PM EST on ESPN

I for one will be looking forward to a break in SEC play to welcome the Texas Longhorns to Rupp Arena for the annual SEC/Big 12 challenge.

Some may argue that this is the worst year to draw a top-five team like Texas, but the Cats need quality wins and lots of them.

Even though winning the SEC Tournament still seems like the only viable path to the Big Dance, it will still be intriguing to see how Kentucky can stack up with one of the nation’s best.

The Longhorns are 11-2 with their only losses coming to ranked opponents. They’ll host Oklahoma on Tuesday before traveling to Lexington for a clash with the Cats.

Former UK recruit Greg Brown get a chance to play in Rupp Arena after all. He’s averaging nearly 12 points and eight rebounds on the season.

One of the best stories of the 2020-21 college hoops season has been the play of junior guard Andrew Jones, a cancer survivor who’s averaging a team-high 14.4 points per game. He hit the game-winning triple in Texas’ narrow road win over a top-25 West Virginia team.

Texas will be favored in this one, but by the time the ball tips, it may not be by as much as you’d think.

It’s hard to imagine a much more difficult midseason stretch, but after all, this is Kentucky basketball.