By: Zach Gaines
TUSCALOOSA, Ala – This Saturday afternoon the Crimson Tide will look to take down yet
another top 5 ranked team, the Kentucky Wildcats, in an SEC rematch in Lexington.
Fresh off of their third consecutive win against Mississippi State, and with only five games
remaining, Alabama currently sits with a 17-9 (7-6) record. After going on a three-game winning
streak, the Crimson Tide have also improved to No. 20 overall in KenPom rankings (14th
offensive & 66th defensive).
With their first matchup of the year resulting in the favor of the Wildcats, The Crimson Tide looks
to yet again seek revenge on a team they lost to earlier in the season. In a game that was much
closer than it should have been, Alabama put up their worst shooting performance under Nate
Oats era, shooting 28% from the field and just 10% from three.
The Wildcats look to be coming into this game without TyTy Washington which can serve to be
key. Washington was one of the main reasons for Alabama’s lackluster shooting performance in
their last matchup.
“It’s not like they get much worse. Davion Mintz has been playing really well for them,” said Oats.
Mintz along with Tshiebwe are going to have to step up in bigger roles, especially the defensive
end, if Washington does end up missing this game.
Over the course of the year, Oscar Tshiebwe has struggled scoring over people taller than him,
so Bediako will have to use his size to his advantage. To go along with that, Alabama is going to
have to key in on Tshiebwe especially after he dominated the glass last time out against the
“We’ve gotta do a good job of keeping Charles out of foul trouble. I do think he [Tshiebwe] has
problems scoring over length. But he’s great at getting his own misses,” said Oats.
On the offensive side of the ball, Alabama is going to have to start shooting at somewhat of a
consistent rate. The past few games, shooting-wise, have been truly unacceptable. It has been
two weeks since the last time the Crimson Tide shot over 20% from the three-point line. In order
to beat Kentucky, they are going to have to shoot over 20% from three.
Look out for this game to be much different than the first go-around. As compared to the first
time matching up, the Tide aren’t coming off their hardest three-game stretch in recent memory,
but rather are coming off a hot streak. With how the season is going, and how the Tide love to
make every game interesting, look for this to be neck and neck until the final buzzer.
Being as close to March as we are, this game has the potential to shake up tournament
seedings in a massive way.
Ladies and gentlemen, the best part of the year is upon us.