Another tough road test for the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team?
They wouldn’t want it any other way.
Head coach John Calipari and his No. 5 Wildcats have had their share of difficult road matchups already this season and should be well-prepared for an Alabama team that is completely capable of knocking off Top-5 teams.
Kentucky is 4-1 in their last five games with the one loss a close call at No. 1 Auburn. They did, however, bounce back with a near-record defeat of Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse.
Alabama is 3-2 in their previous five outings, also losing at Auburn but by a much larger margin. They also lost at Georgia (6-16) last Tuesday but did beat then-No. 4 Baylor last Saturday but failed to find themselves in the Associated Press top 25 this week.
How will tonight’s game end? Will the Wildcats continue rolling or will the Crimson Tide come up with another victory over a Top-five team?
According to Draftkings Sportsbook, Kentucky opened as -1.5 point underdogs at Alabama with the game total expected to be around 157 points. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index however is estimating Kentucky having a 61.9% chance of a road victory.
- Kentucky are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 6 games.
- Kentucky are 7-1 SU in their last 8 games.
- Kentucky are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against Alabama.
- Kentucky are 12-3 SU in their last 15 games against Alabama.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 6 games on the road.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 9 games when playing on the road against Alabama.
- Kentucky are 17-3 SU in their last 20 games this season.
- Kentucky are 6-1 SU in their last 7 games against an opponent in the Southeastern conference.
- Kentucky are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games played in February.
- Alabama are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of Alabama’s last 9 games.
- Alabama are 19-1 SU in their last 20 games at home.
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Alabama’s last 9 games when playing at home against Kentucky.
- Alabama are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games this season.
- Alabama are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games against an opponent in the Southeastern conference.
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Alabama’s last 6 games played in February.
- Alabama are 11-2 SU in their last 13 games played on a Saturday.
FanSided — Kentucky 81, Alabama 78
OddsShark — Kentucky 82, Alabama 74
Pete Fiutak — Kentucky 82, Alabama 80
Vegas Insider — Kentucky 81, Alabama 78
Herald-Leader — Kentucky 94, Alabama 91
Tuscaloosa News — Kentucky 82, Alabama 80
While John Petty Jr. finally moved on from Alabama after last season, the Crimson Tide still have multiple guards that can light it up on any given night. The most consistent scoring punch comes from junior guard Jaden Shackleford, who is averaging 17 points per game for the season but a little over 22 per game in his team’s last five contests. Jahvon Quinerly (14.8) and Keon Ellis (12) are the other two Alabama guards that round out double-figure averages on the season, with Quinerly scoring 20 in each of his last two appearances.
Thankfully Kentucky’s roster counters that attack well with multiple guard/wing defenders and streaky scorers of their own. Keion Brooks is on a tear and his veteran experience could very well be significant for Kentucky in what will undoubtedly be a hostile road environment. Sahvir Wheeler’s ball protection will be another major focus as it would be ideal to limit how many possessions Alabama’s three guards have to score the basketball. Not only will Wheeler play a part in limiting those possessions, but if Oscar Tshiebwe can continue to control the glass it will also limit scoring opportunities for Alabama.
While defense will indeed be a factor in Saturday night’s matchup, so will shot-making. Davion Mintz, Kellan Grady and TyTy Washington will all need to hit shots in key moments. Kentucky has proven they can take a lead and run away with the game (see Kansas) but also proven they aren’t the best team under late pressure (four road/neutral losses by an average of 6.5 points). Staying ahead and playing with poise is the key to winning on the road. Saturday night in Tuscaloosa won’t be any different.
Final Score: Kentucky 81, Alabama 77