Kentucky vs. Alabama Preview: Kentucky Has a Chance to Make a Statement on Saturday

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky vs. Alabama Preview: Kentucky Has a Chance to Make a Statement on Saturday


Kentucky vs. Alabama Preview: Kentucky Has a Chance to Make a Statement on Saturday


Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that the Kentucky basketball team has stumbled out of the gate to start the 2022-23 season. They currently sit at 10-4 with losses to Michigan State, Gonzaga, UCLA, and Missouri. They seem to have righted the ship, however, following two big wins. They blew out Louisville and handled business against a good LSU team. 

They don’t have a signature win on the resume just yet, but they have an enormous opportunity on Saturday to set the tone in league play and add a signature win to the resume. On Saturday, the Wildcats will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take on the seventh ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide are 12-2 through their first 14 games, including victories over Houston and Michigan State. 

Nate Oats has his team humming. They are being led by star true freshman, Brandon Miller, who is averaging over 19 points per game along with 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He has looked like one of the best players in the nation thus far. Miller can score from anywhere on the floor and is a consistent matchup nightmare. As a 44% three-point shooter, the freshman has the confidence to rise from anywhere and use his length at 6’9 to shoot over smaller defenders. Miller is not doing everything alone, though.

Mark Sears transferred to Alabama after playing two seasons at Ohio University. The junior guard has come in and immediately become a scoring threat as he is averaging 14.6 per game on 42.5% three-point shooting. His backcourt mates, senior Jahvon Quinerly and freshman Jaden Bradley, are both averaging 3.8 assists per game.

When Alabama is moving the ball well, they consistently get open looks thanks to these three great guards. Cason Wallace and Sahvir Wheeler will have their hands full attempting to defend them. They must have success defensively if Kentucky wants to pull off the upset. 

Alabama has a lot of talent throughout their roster, but so does Kentucky. They have not always shown it this season, but it is there. Jacob Toppin encapsulates that so well. Everyone knows he has all the talent in the world, but he just hadn’t put it all together this season. Well, in the last two ballgames, Toppin has come to play. He has scored 45 points in the last two combined and has shot above 66% from the floor in both games.

He is the key to the game for the Cats. We know what Oscar Tshiebwe brings to the table every night, but having a consistent and efficient Jacob Toppin could be the key to Kentucky reaching their full potential. He will need to continue that hot streak Saturday if the Wildcats want to beat Alabama.  

Alabama is a phenomenal basketball team. They have a great coach in Nate Oats, and they have elite, NBA talent. But so does Kentucky, and they have the biggest opportunity of the season thus far. Kentucky doesn’t have a signature win yet, so it is time to make a statement.  

Kentucky takes on Alabama at 1:00 pm EST on ESPN. 


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