UK vs. Alabama – Preview
Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 8, 2008
Kentucky pulled out a close one against Auburn Wednesday by rebounding the ball late in the game and forcing turnovers in the game’s final stages. That will not happen Saturday when the Wildcats host the Alabama Crimson Tide in Rupp Arena. Alabama is a better rebounding team and commits less turnovers than Auburn and Kentucky so UK must find other ways to win. Richard Hendrix will be the stiffest competition Patrick Patterson has faced all year skill wise and strength wise. Hendrix leads the conference in rebounding and when he gets a rebound there is no way you are going to get it from him. Patterson must let the game come to him and not force bad shots like he has in some of the lossess this season. Against Louisville Patterson got blocked numerous times and did not adjust to the way he was being played by the defenders, Hendrix is a better post defender than anyone UK has played because he is so strong that you really can not back him down.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The first KEY TO THE GAME is for UK to attack the basket like they did against Auburn and draw some fouls on the Crimson Tide big men so that Patterson will have an easier time scoring down low. If Hendrix gets a couple early fouls that might change the tempo of the game and might quickly make the ‘Bama players question their chances in the game. Without Hendrix I find it hard to believe that Alabama will win. Joe Crawford did a phenomenal job driving to the basket and getting good looks last game against the Tigers but he will have to be strong when he goes up and he will have to go into the lane knowing that he is going to get some contact and must still finish whether there is a foul call or not. I do not think that finishing will be a problem for Crawford seeing as he is the best on the team at getting to the cup.
The second KEY TO THE GAME will be for UK to play aggressive defense and not allow any easy shots. UK will be able to play a little overly aggressive because Alabama comes into the game ranked at the very bottom of the conference in foul shooting at less than 60%, which is in the bottom 25 in the nation! The Tide only have three players that shoot above 70% and Senario Hillman, Richard Hendrix & Alonzo Gee are just three of the players that are currently fighting to get to the 70% mark with Hillman and Hendrix both under 53%. Being able to play aggressively with basically no consequences will really benifit the ‘Cats because they do not have to worry about always giving away easy points because statistics tell us that Alabama will not make a lot of their free-throws. Another thing that driving the lane will allow UK to do is to drive and kick to the open man outside the three-point line. The Crimson Tide rank 11th out of 12 in the SEC in 3-point % defense and UK definitely has the shooters to make them pay for their inability to guard against the three. Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley (If he plays) & Michael Porter are all very good three-point shooters who could all easily light the Tide up from downtown.
Because these KEYS are so large I will only have two of them today. Kentucky should not find it that difficult to complete these KEYS and if they do complete them they very well might blow this Alabama team out.
My prediciton for the game is that UK wins, regardless if Ramel Bradley plays or not, 70-57. I think it will be the easiest SEC game so far and I think that Hendrix will not be a factor because I think that the Wildcats will spend a lot of time leading up to the game working on ways to stop him and strategies to containing him. I think Joe Crawford again will be the MVP of the game with 23 points and 4 rebounds.
Feb. 9 vs. Alabama
1:00 pm EST on RAYCOM Sports