What a difference a few years can make for two programs in the SEC. On Saturday, in the early slate of college basketball games, we will see the Tennessee Volunteers on the road to take on the Kentucky Wildcats.
At any point of the 2010’s, there would have been no question about Kentucky being the tried and true NBA destination for most incoming freshmen in college basketball.
These days, the program still garners talented individuals, but they really have suffered in the recruiting world and failed to nab some of the bigger names.
Going up against a program as solid as Tennessee is going to be a tough matchup, as the Volunteers boast one of the best defenses in all of the SEC.
The two offenses are relatively even with all things considered, so it is going to be up to Kentucky to figure out how to score against this strong defensive unit.
Tennessee draws the slight road favorite in this game at -2.
A thrilling takedown of the number one seed
The Tennessee defense was on full display in their most recent matchup against the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
They were able to dominate the paint, outscoring Alabama by 16 points, and hold the Crimson Tide to their lowest scoring total of the entire season.
It was a monumental victory, but not the biggest surprise. This year’s college basketball season has been full of upsets and the number-one-ranked team has lost four different times.
In the first matchup with Kentucky this season, Tennessee was beaten up on the interior against standout player Oscar Tshiebwe. Putting the lid on his rebounding prowess isn’t easy for any team, but Tennessee has the players down low to be able to do it.
Holding the defense up with the offense
The Wildcats, like most seasons, have experienced no troubles with scoring the basketball so far this season.
What has been the biggest issue is the defense and their commitment to that side of the floor. Giving up nearly 70 points per game is going to make for a rough season, regardless of how good the offense is.
Just like their previous matchup, this game can be won for Kentucky on the interior and with their superior rebounding abilities. Putting together the complete package is going to end up being the biggest question for this roster in pulling off a win against a ranked opponent.
Volunteers @ Wildcats Betting Prediction
Ahead of this game, it really is hard to lean in one direction or the other. Tennessee is coming off of their biggest win of the season, but wasn’t able to get the job done in their matchup with Kentucky earlier this year.
Where this game will be won or lost will be with rebounding on the interior. The team who wins the rebounding battle will be the one to get the victory.
Kentucky has arguably the best rebounder in the country, so roll with the Wildcats at home to get the job done at +2.
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