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Game Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

Still recovering from a heartbreaking buzzer-beating loss in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, Kentucky welcomes Alabama for a top-25 matchup with SEC implications on the line. As all of Big Blue Nation eyes March, the Wildcats could use a win like this to get them back on track, but it will not be easy.

As a one-seed last year in the NCAA Tournament, Alabama's high-flying offense was sent home by San Diego State in the Sweet Sixteen. Nate Oats' team regrouped and brought in a bunch of transfers, placing them once again in the top-15 with the number one offense in America. The Tide are 19-7 (11-2 in the SEC) with losses to Purdue, Auburn, Creighton, Arizona, and some smaller named opponents. They have now won three in a row and are looking to clinch another SEC regular season championship and a win today could help with that. Since they are likely already in the NCAA Tournament field, the Crimson Tide are trying to bolster their resume and boost their seeding.

Like all Nate Oats' teams, this one is an offensive juggernaut. They average 91 points per game which is set at 1st in the nation, a spotlight that Kentucky held for the majority of this season. They like to take a lot of three-point shots, averaging almost 31 attempts per game. They're led by senior guard Mark Sears who has been making his case for SEC Player of the Year throughout the last few weeks. Sears averages 20.1 points per game and shoots 44% from the three. The 'Cats will need to limit him today if they want to slow down Alabama's offense. Grant Nelson was the key transfer that Nate Oats brought in this summer, whom averages 12 points and 5 rebounds a game and does a little bit of everything for the team. Defensively, Alabama struggles just as Kentucky does. They allow 77 points per game which is 320th-best in the country. If both offenses do what they normally do, then this game should be a shootout.

Kentucky will have trouble stopping Alabama's offense, but if they can slow down their three-point shooting then it will be hard for the Tide to get points in bunches. Keys to the game are as expected. Slow down the high-powered offense of Alabama, as well as limit Mark Sears' impact. Offensively, Kentucky needs to get back to what they have been good at -- Getting up and down the court and shooting plenty of threes. Today is the perfect day to get back into a groove offensively.

A lot of people are negative after the loss to LSU, but with March right around the corner, Kentucky needs these wins more than ever. We need a winning streak to start today. I'll see you in Rupp Arena.

The game is at 4:00 PM and will be broadcasted on CBS.


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