No. 17 Kentucky Looks to Slow Down High-Powered No. 13 Alabama Offense in SEC Showdown

Saturday’s matchup will feature two ranked teams that are seeking to improve their resumes as March looms near. The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off of a thrilling overtime victory over No. 24 Florida on Wednesday. However, Kentucky suffered a heartbreaking defeat on the road to LSU after a game-winning layup at the buzzer. But the Wildcats will need to regroup as an opportunity to knock off the first-place team in the Southeastern Conference awaits.

Tide’s Lethal Offense

Alabama will bring in the nation’s top offense to Lexington. The Crimson Tide beat their opponents by an average of 13.6 points per game while using a versatile offensive attack with four players averaging double-digit scoring marks. They make 11.7 3-pointers and score 91 points per game and are led by the SEC’s leading scorer Mark Sears. The senior guard averages just over 20 points and four assists per game and will be a focus point for UK defensively.

Rounding out Alabama’s offensive attack are graduate student and sophomore guards Aaron Estrada and Rylan Griffen. who combine for over 24 points per game. Holding down the frontcourt for the Tide is senior forward Grant Nelson. The North Dakota State transfer is Bama’s leading rebounder and can stretch the defense knocking down 24 3-pointers on the season.

Crucial Opportunity for Kentucky

It’s been an up-and-down week for UK head coach John Calipari’s squad. The Wildcats went into Auburn and knocked off the No. 14 Tigers on Saturday. However, they were handed a one-point loss to LSU who sits in tenth place in the SEC standings. Kentucky has lost four games in Rupp Arena this season and will need to show up in a big way to avoid making it a fifth.

The Wildcats will rely heavily on their elite guard play. Kentucky guards Rob Dillingham, Reed Sheppard and Antonio Reeves combine to average over 45 points per game. Moreover, it will be critical for the Cats’ to contain Alabama on the boards. Senior Forward Tre Mitchell enters the contest as a top 5 rebounder in the SEC at 7.5 per game.

Kentucky knocks down the deep ball at an efficient 41% from 3-point range. They defend the perimeter at an elite level as well, holding teams to just 29% behind the arc.

The Wildcats will need to execute at a high-level both offensively and defensively to hang with the high-flying Crimson Tide offense in what has the potential to be a wire-to-wire matchup.

Tip off between No. 13 Alabama and No. 17 Kentucky will be at 4 p.m. at Rupp Arena on Saturday.

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