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Kentucky vs Alabama staff predictions, picks, odds

Long the class of the SEC the roles are reversed for Saturday’s league matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and Alabama Crimson Tide. While Bama dominates on the gridiron it’s the Wildcats who own the hardwood, though they have struggled by their standards this season. After dropping two of three, including their SEC opener to Missouri with a lackluster effort, the Cats rebounded nicely thumping rival Louisville. Alabama crept into the top-10 early last month and has remained winning six of its last seven games while going a perfect 6-0 SU at home.

This NCAA men’s basketball game will air live on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 7, 2023 from Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Kentucky vs Alabama Odds

Kentucky Wildcats (Check Back Later)

Alabama Crimson Tide (Check Back Later)

Over/Under (Check Back Later)

Season Story

Most sportsbooks had Kentucky pegged as the regular season SEC champion and while that may still happen since we’re just a few games into the conference schedule, the Cats will have to work for it. The hope for John Calipari is that the team gets stronger at the end of the year after a tough non-conference slate. Three of their losses came to respected programs Michigan State in double overtime and ranked Gonzaga and UCLA. They were laying points to the Spartans but were slight underdogs in the other matchups. They beat teams they were supposed to beat but struggled on a few occasions. The Cats were 0-6 ATS before pushing the line in an 86-63 win over Louisville.

With an overall record of 11-2 following a 78-67 victory over then No. 21 Mississippi State, Alabama is the highest ranked team in the SEC at No. 7. Like Saturday’s opponent, the Tide dropped a tilt with Gonzaga but also has four wins against ranked foes, including a pair against the No. 1 team in the country. They knocked off then No. 1 North Carolina in overtime, 103-101, in late November pushing the 2-point line. A few weeks later Bama won at Houston 71-65 as a 9-point dog.

Kentucky Wildcats

There’s a reason why the Wildcats were so highly regarded at the start of the season. There is plenty of talent, as always, however the insane amount of turnover leads to chemistry issues and the club has yet to consistently find what works. Sure, talent alone will win games over lesser foes. There was a 32-point win over Howard in the opener when the Cats played without Oscar Tshiebwe and Sahvir Wheeler. But when playing against top competition cracks appeared. Kentucky lost to the best teams on its pre-conference slate.

Then there was that debacle at Missouri last week where the Cats lost by 14 as a 3-point favorite. At times they’ve struggled from the perimeter allowing opponents to pack the paint against Tshiebwe. Somehow the reigning player of the year still manages to be a force. He scored 23 points with 19 boards against Missouri and followed that with 24 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Louisville. Saying his team wasn’t in sync offensively before the Louisville game, Coach Cal was proven wrong for one game at least. UK shot 59 percent from the field in the 23-point win.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama hasn’t done much wrong during its 11-2 start. The up-tempo attack averages over 83 points led by the formidable duo of Brandon Miller and Mark Sears. Miller averages team-bests of 19.2 points and 8.8 rebounds while Sears chips in 14.5 points. The two combined for 39 points in Bama’s 78-67 payout win over Mississippi State. More impressive in that outing, though, was the defensive effort against MSU’s big man Tolu Smith. Averaging over 15 points and shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor, the Tide held Smith to just five points on 1 of 7 shooting.

Interior defense has been an issue and played a major role in the loss to Gonzaga when Drew Timme went off for 29 points on 12 of 18 shooting. “We didn’t do a very good job on Timme. We got to figure out a way to keep our bigs out of foul trouble with Tshiebwe coming up,” coach Nate Oats said. Timme got to the line eight times while MSU’s Smith attempted 15 foul shots.

Kentucky vs Alabama Prediction

Both teams have a game prior to this matchup, but it’s certainly one the clubs are looking forward to. UK has a chance to make a statement in the conference most expect them to win. Bama meanwhile is looking to continue its preseason success while staying unbeaten at home. The Cats have struggled from the free throw line shooting under 66 percent as a team and that will impact them in close games if they don’t improve. Tshiebwe should have another big game against in the block and the Cats will build off their impressive win over Louisville to get a huge road triumph.

Prediction: Kentucky Wildcats / OVER

View today’s college basketball betting odds.

Jake Flynn
Jake Flynn
Senior writer for Writes NBA, NCAA basketball, MLB, UFC and daily fantasy sports articles.

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