TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 9/8 Alabama men’s basketball team is set to square off against the Kentucky Wildcats for the second time this season when the two teams meet on Tuesday night inside Coleman Coliseum (6 p.m. CT on ESPN). In the first meeting which was played at Rupp Arena just two weeks ago, the Crimson Tide captured an 85-65 victory to snap an eight-game losing streak in Lexington.
The Tide enters the contest having won nine straight and 10 of its last 11 games following an 81-73 victory over Mississippi State last Saturday night. It marked the sixth consecutive game that Alabama has eclipsed the 80-point mark, marking the first time that has occurred since opening the 1985-86 season with six-straight 80-point games.
The last time that Alabama defeated Kentucky twice in the same season came 32 years ago during the 1988-89 season. That year, the Crimson Tide captured a 76-64 victory over the Wildcats in Tuscaloosa and followed that with a 71-67 victory in Lexington. Furthermore, UA will be looking for its first back-to-back wins in the series since capturing wins in 2000-01 and 2001-02. In all, Kentucky owns a 114-39 lead in the all-time series including a 20-18 record in its games played inside Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama will be looking to win its 10th straight game which would mark the longest winning streak since starting the 1996-97 campaign with 10 consecutive victories before suffering its first setback.
- Tuesday’s game will be available on ESPN with Karl Ravech (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (analyst) on the call.
- The radio broadcast can be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart (play-by-play), Bryan Passink (analyst) and Roger Hoover (sideline) on the call. The pregame show will begin one hour prior to tipoff.
- Alabama vaulted up the national rankings, checking it at No. 9 in the Associated Press Top-25 and tied at No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches poll. It’s the first time since the first week of January of 2007 that UA has earned a top-10 national ranking in the AP Poll.
- Joshua Primo earned the league’s Freshman of the Week honor for the week of Jan. 25. It marks Primo’s first career weekly recognition, while also making the fourth time in the past five weeks that an Alabama player has been recognized by the SEC. Primo joined Jaden Shackelford, who was recognized on Dec. 28, and John Petty Jr., who was tabbed the Player of the Week on Jan. 4 and Jan. 18, as UA players who have been garnered the weekly recognition this year.
- Alabama is one of only five teams across the nation which is ranked in the top-15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com (as of 1/25). The Crimson Tide currently rank No. 13 in offensive efficiency and No. 11 in defensive efficiency among the top-20 in the nation in both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. Joining Alabama in the stat is Gonzaga (2/11), Baylor (3/1), Michigan (7/5) and Texas (15/8).
- The Tide is ranked No. 9 in the NCAA NET rankings (as of 1/25) which leads all SEC teams. Alabama is one of six SEC teams ranked among the top-35, which also includes No. 12 Tennessee, No. 23 Missouri, No. 26 Florida, No. 32 Arkansas and No. 35 LSU. UA owns a record of 4-0 against Quad 1 opponents and 5-2 versus Quad 2 foes.
- At a perfect 8-0 in league play, Alabama has three more wins than anyone else in the league standings and has outscored its league competition by a combined +134 points. The next closest team is Florida, who has outscored its league competition by a combined +32 points.
- The Tide’s eight-straight SEC wins has matched the second-best start to league play in program history, matching the 1974-75 and 1986-87 SEC seasons. Only the 1955-56 “Rocket 8” team was better, finishing that year with a perfect 14-0 mark in league play.
- In conference games only, Alabama leads the SEC in five separate offensive categories entering Tuesday night’s contest against Kentucky. The Tide ranks No. 1 in scoring offense (86.8), scoring margin (+16.8), three-point field goal percentage (.421), threes made per game (13.1) and rebounding offense (41.1), while also ranking second in assists per game (15.8).
- Alabama also ranks as the league’s most efficient defense in conference play. Entering the Kentucky game, the Crimson Tide ranks first in the league in field goal percentage defense (.377), three-point field goal percentage defense (.250), steals (9.5) and defensive rebounding (29.1), while rnaking sixth in scoring defense (70.0).
- Nationally, Alabama currently ranks fourth in the NCAA in three-pointers made (179), attempted (494) and made per game (11.2). The Crimson Tide is also fourth nationally in average possession length on offense (14.2) and ninth in the nation in adjusted tempo (74.9 possessions per game).
- Alabama enters contest against Kentucky riding an nine-game winning streak – the longest winning streak dating back to winning nine straight to open the 2002-03 campaign, eventually reaching No. 1 in the nation that season. The Crimson Tide extended its best win streak in nearly 20 years with an 81-73 home win over Mississippi State last Saturday night.
- Four Crimson Tide players are averaging 12.5 or more points per game for head coach Nate Oats on the season. Guard John Petty Jr. leads the way at 14.1 ppg while Jaden Shackelford is second on the team with 13.1 ppg. Forward Herbert Jones averages 12.9 ppg followed by Jahvon Quinerly’s 12.5 ppg.
- Jones, considered one of the top defensive players in the entire nation, leads the team in rebounding (5.7 rpg), three-point field goal percentage (.481, 13-of-27), charges taken (5), Blue Collar Points (334.5, 20.9 BCP per game), deflections (58), floor dives (13) and Hard Hat Awards (8). He also boasts much improved offensive numbers during his senior season. In addition to averaging double digits, Jones is collecting 2.4 assists per contest, while shooting 48.9 percent from the field (69-of-141).
- The combination of Petty (43-of-102) and Shackelford (32-of-89) have combined to hit 75 of the Tide’s 179 three-pointers (41.9 percent) and have 191 of the team’s 494 (38.7 percent) total attempts from beyond the arc. Combined, the duo is shooting 39.3 percent (75-of-191) from beyond the arc.
- As a team, Alabama is outscoring the opposition by 11.2 points per contest (81.8-70.6) while shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from deep and 69.9 percent from the charity stripe.
- It’s the Crimson Tide’s defense that has set the tone to its 8-0 start in SEC play. UA leads the league in defensive efficiency, ranking first in field goal percentage defense (37.7 percent), three-point field goal percentage defense (25.0 percent) and steals (9.5), while ranking sixth in scoring defense (70.0).
- This season, the Tide welcomed back four starters and five of its top seven scorers off last year’s team, three were named as All-SEC performers a year ago. Petty (Second Team All-SEC), Shackelford (All-Freshman) and Jones (All-Defensive) all earned a spot on the postseason teams. Both Petty and Jones tested the NBA waters, with Petty, who was one of the last players to withdraw his name, announcing his return in early August and Jones in mid-June.
- Alabama was predicted to finish fifth overall as voted on by a select panel of both SEC and national media members. Additionally, Petty All-SEC Preseason First Team honors by both the coaches and media members, while Jones earned a spot on the preseason second team as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
- Head coach Nate Oats is in his second season at the helm of the Crimson Tide program and owns a record of 29-18 (.617) during his time at the Capstone. Oats, who is in his sixth season as a collegiate head coach, owns a career record of 125-61 (.672).
- Kentucky enters the contest sporting a 5-9 record on the season and is tied for fifth in the league standings with a 4-3 record in SEC play. Most recently, the Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak with an impressive 82-69 victory over LSU on Saturday night. Guard Brandon Boston Jr. paced UK with his second consecutive game scoring 18 points.
- Boston is averaging a team-leading 12.4 points per contest, including 18.0 ppg over his last two games, to lead four UK players who average in double figures. Forward Keion Brooks, who had 15 points and nine rebounds in the win over the Tigers, is second on the team in scoring (11.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg) while shooting a team-leading 51.2 percent from the field
- Forward Olivier Sarr contributes 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds, while Terrence Clarke (10.7), who has been injured and missed all but seven games this season, and Davion Mintz (10.2) also add to the offensive attack. Meanwhile, Isaiah Jackson averages 6.5 ppg and leads the team with 7.0 rebounds and a league-leading 3.0 blocks per game.
- As a team, Kentucky is outrebounding the competition by +4.0 rebounds per game (39.4-35.4) and averages 68.1 points per contest. The Wildcats are shooting 41.9 percent from the floor, 28.2 percent from beyond the arc and 70.7 percent from the charity stripe. Behind Jackson, who is seventh in the nation, the Wildcats lead the SEC and rank second in the nation with 6.1 blocks per game.
- The Wildcats are one of the top defensive teams during SEC play this season. Against league competition, Kentucky leads the SEC in blocked shots per game (7.3) ranks second in field goal percentage defense (.399), fourth in three-point field goal percentage defense (.329) and is fifth in points allowed (69.7). UK also leads the conference in free throw percentage (.752) and is second in rebounding offense (39.6) and rebounding margin (+2.1).
- Kentucky head coach John Calipari comes into Tuesday’s game with an all-time record of 780-226 (.775) in his 29th season at the helm of the men’s basketball program. Now in his 12th season at UK, Calipari owns a record of 335-86 (.796).
Alabama-Kentucky – Series Notes
- Tuesday’s game will mark the 154th meeting in series history between to two schools and the second meeting between the teams during the regular season.
- In the first meeting this season, the Crimson Tide captured an impressive 85-65 victory over the Wildcats inside Rupp Arena back on Jan. 12. The win not only snapped an eight-game losing streak in Lexington for the Crimson Tide, but it was also the largest win by a UA team in Lexington since winning by 23 points (94-71) on Feb. 23, 1974.
- John Petty Jr. led the Tide with while Jaden Shackelford stepped up with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds. Herbert Jones scored eight points and two assists in eight minutes before exiting the game with an injured left hand and did not return. Jordan Bruner also went down with a meniscus injury midway through the second half and has not seen action since. A full box score from that contest can be found on the right.
- The 153 total games played in the series stands as UA’s fifth-most common opponent in program lore. Kentucky owns a 114-39 edge in the all-time series.
- When playing Kentucky in Tuscaloosa, Alabama owns an all-time record of 24-31, including an 18-20 mark in games played at Coleman Coliseum.
- The last meeting between the two rivals in Tuscaloosa came on Jan. 5, 2019 when the Crimson Tide captured a 77-75 victory. That win snapped a four-game losing streak to the Wildcats in Coleman Coliseum.
- The Tide has dropped 13 of the last 15 games played against the Wildcats. The last UA victory over UK came on a 59-55 win on Jan. 22, 2013 in Coleman Coliseum.
- The series began in 1923.
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