Good morning, Big Blue Nation!
The Cats are fresh off a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores that ended with multiple flagrant fouls and a frustrated John Calipari. It was clear from the beginning of the second half that Jerry Stackhouse and the Commodores weren’t interested in playing Kentucky: they wanted to muck up the game as it was their only chance at a win.
That likely won’t be the case with Nate Oats and the Tide. Alabama is short on size and physicality. The style they run is the style that UK wants to see. The Tide likes to run out they shoot a high volume of three pointers to offset their lack of post play.
While Alabama has some of the most impressive wins in the country, they have multiple dud losses. There were high expectations for them but they sit as a fringe tournament team at 14-8 and completely out of the race for the SEC.
The question is: which Alabama team shows up? The Tide have played to their competition all season long, so I expect this to be a close game. The Cats get the nod due to the presence of Oscar Tshiebwe, Keion Brooks and Jacob Toppin. The Tide may have the guards to compete with Kentucky, but they most certainly do not have the bigs. This is a game where Oscar could have another 20-20 performance.
The Tide’s main hope is that they are on fire from three. If that’s the case then Kentucky will have a battle on their hands. But if their threes aren’t falling, it could be a long night for Nate Oats and his team.
Tweets of the Day
John Calipari is no Math Benny: "I said it's like math. I couldn’t stand math, so I got B-pluses instead of As. Literally, I got some Ds in math because I couldn’t stand math. Calculus, I couldn’t even spell calculus, let alone take it." pic.twitter.com/sR0H6WWOpA— Vaughts' Views (@vaughtsviews) February 4, 2022
Calipari has been on one as of late.
Another rowdy road environment awaits Saturday night.— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 4, 2022
We wouldn’t want it any other way. pic.twitter.com/1UJVcEpjuW
Kellan Grady discussed how he loves hitting threes as much on the road as he does at home. Silencing the crowd is as satisfying at getting cheers.
Unless there’s something up with UK, I can’t see a reason Bama should be favored here. UK is clearly the better team. Bama has a weakness in halfcourt defense at the rim, and UK is the best in the nation at scoring there. Baylor’s issue was that Bama shut down the fast break.— Sean Vinsel (@HoopsInsight) February 5, 2022
It’s been a difficult role for Davion Mintz but now he’s thriving | Vaught’s Views- Davion Mintz from starter, and probable best player on the team, a year ago and is now coming off of the bench. It took him a while but now Mintz is as vital as any player on the team.
John Calipari is a sinner | The Enterprise- John Calipari had a hilarious back and forth with my friend Dr. John Huang yesterday during his pre-Alabama press conference. Cal admitted that he attends Mass daily because he’s a sinner and he needs church to wipe away his sins so he can go sin some more. One of his struggles is dealing with the media’s stupid questions. I listened to the clip about 5 times and couldn’t stop laughing.
TyTy Washington feels 100% | Cats Pause- Kentucky’s star shooting guard hasn’t been quite himself in the last couple of games after injuring his ankle against Auburn. He told the media that he’s back to being fully healthy. I have a feeling they’ll need his scoring tonight so this is great news.
UK/Bama predictions | Cats Illustrated- Kentucky has the clear advantage here but that doesn’t always translate if the opposing team is on fire.
Starting 5 | SDS- You have to scroll down some but there’s some really good stuff on Davion Mintz’s massive game against Vanderbilt and how Oscar Tshiebwe’s defense helps the ‘Cats offense in transition.
Another Saturday, another tough road trip for the Cats | UK Athletics- Surprisingly it’s not a t-shirt game in Alabama.
College basketball Saturday picks | CBS- The majority of the guys at CBS pick Alabama to win outright.
ESPN basketball picks | ESPN- It’s the exact opposite over at ESPN as the Cats get the sweep.
Bryan Harsin runs a toxic environment at Auburn | USA Today- The Auburn head football coach is under fire for multiple reasons: a 6-7 season, the worst recruiting class at Auburn in years, players leaving in droves and assistant coaches leaving in droves. But now there’s the added story of an extra-marital affair that may mean that Auburn can fire him without owing him any money.
Tough tests await UK, IU and UofL | WDRB- It’s a massive day for the area teams. Kentucky is looking to continue to prove they belong with the elite teams, IU is trying to secure another massive home win, and the Cards...well, they’re just trying to be respectable which is a tall task.
Check me out on the KY Fish and Wildlife UK Postgame Show at around 10:00 PM tonight as I break down the game in Tuscaloosa, take your calls and take John Calipari’s press conference immediately after the game. It’s your first place to listen and react!