Monday, January 21, 2013

Kentucky vs Alabama....A Preview

Kentucky vs Alabama….1/22/13 Tuesday 9PM (TV-ESPN)
UK leads series 102-36

Alabama Crimson Tide

Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Enrollment: 31,747
Arena: 15,383

Head Coach: Anthony Grant
Career Record: 139-64 (68.1%) 6 seasons
At Alabama: 63-39 (61.8%) 3 seasons

2011-12 Record: 21-12
2011-12 SEC Record: 9-7
2011-12 Postseason: 0-1 in NCAA

2012-13 Record: 11-6
2012-13 SEC Record: 3-1

Alabama 70 South Dakota St. 67
Alabama 80 West Alabama 49
Alabama 65 Oregon St. 62
Alabama 77 Villanova 55
Alabama 59 Charleston Southern 46
Alabama 75 Lamar 47
Cincinnati 58 Alabama 56
Dayton 81 Alabama 76
VCU 73 Alabama 54
Alabama 66 Texas Tech 62
Mercer 66 Alabama 59
Tulane 53 Alabama 50
Alabama 65 Oakland 45
Missouri 84 Alabama 68
Alabama 68 Tennessee 65
Alabama 75 Mississippi St. 43
Alabama 50 Texas A&M 49

PPG-65.5
FG%-45.2%
3 PT%-36.3%
FT%-69.8%
RPG-32.1 (-0.2)
APG-11.8
TO’s-13.1
SPG-8.6
BPG-4.6

Probable Starting Lineup

Trevor Releford-G 6’0” Jr………………16.2 PPG
Trevor Lacey-G 6’3” Soph………………12.5 PPG
Rodney Cooper-G 6’6” Soph……………11.6 PPG
Levi Randolph-G 6’5” Soph……………..8.3 PPG
Nick Jacobs-F 6’ 8” Soph………………..5.8 PPG

Other Key Players

Devonta Pollard-F 6’8” Fr……………….5.7 PPG
Andrew Steele-G 6’4” Sr………………...4.3 PPG
Moussa Gueye-C 7’0” Jr…………………1.0 PPG

Alabama’s head coach, Anthony Grant, has a solid resume in coaching. Grant was an assistant under Billy Donovan at Florida for 10 years…then was HC at VCU for 3 years where he posted a solid 76-25 record and put VCU in the NCAA for 2 of those years. When Donovan nearly left Florida for the NBA, the Gators offered the job to Grant before Billy decided to stay at Florida. Now Grant is at Alabama and he took a struggling Tide team to the NCAA in his 3rd season. UK fans remember Alabama defeating UK at Tuscaloosa 2 years ago 68-66. Bottom line….Anthony Grant is one of the best coaches in the SEC and his teams play hard and are well prepared. Despite a few disappointing losses this season , it would be a mistake to think that this is not a dangerous Alabama team…..and one that is improving.

Coach Grant usually plays 8 players and has alternated his starting lineup throughout the season. Trevor Releford leads the Tide in scoring and in steals. Releford along with Trevor Lacey and Levi Randolph are all shooting over 40% from the perimeter. Lacey is, in fact, shooting lights out from long range hitting 35-77 for a red hot 45.5%….Lacey also leads in assists with 61. Rebounds for the Tide are mostly by committee with Lacey, Randolph and Cooper being the most active on the boards. Alabama does play 7’0” Moussa Gueya for usually 10-12 minutes and while he does garner some rebounds…..he is a very poor offensive player shooting 26.3% from the field.

The Tide are not usually very tall in most of their lineups and play several guards which makes them a very fast team. Alabama will be very tough in Tuscaloosa with a packed arena when the Cats arrive Tuesday.

Kentucky is coming off their overall best game of the season in defeating Auburn on the road. The Cats playing without WCS really stepped up their overall offense and defense. All the players contributed and all played hard and with great intensity. It was great to see so many smiles on UK players. Certainly, UK took a solid step forward in their overall improvement, but they must not rest on their laurels in defeating Auburn. Alabama will be a very tough road game and the Cats need to continue their terrific team play and overall intensity.

WCS might be available for the Alabama game, but that is unknown at this time. In any case, UK will need for sophomore Kyle Wiltjer to continue his greatly improved play the past two games and for everyone to bring their A game! The Alabama game will be a big challenge for these young Cats….a win would be huge for UK.

I see a real dogfight in Tuscaloosa with UK pulling out a close 5 point win. GO Cats!

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