The second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats put the nation's longest current home winning streak on the line this afternoon, as they welcome the Alabama Crimson Tide to Lexington, for SEC action at Rupp Arena.
The Wildcats ran their win streak at home to 46 straight games with Tuesday's 86-63 rout of Arkansas. It was the team's 10th consecutive victory since the lone loss on the season to Indiana (73-72). The win over the Razorbacks moved Kentucky to 4-0 in SEC play.
The Crimson Tide are an even 2-2 in-conference thus far. After opening league play with back-to-back wins over Georgia and LSU, the team has now suffered consecutive losses to Mississippi State (56-52) and most recently, Vanderbilt (69-59).
Kentucky holds a sizable 101-36 lead in the all-time series with Alabama. UK has won 10 of the last 12 meetings and currently own a 52-10 ledger against the Tide in Lexington.
The Crimson Tide are at their best when they can slow things down with their defensive play. Alabama comes into this contest holding foes to just 56.4 ppg and well under 40 percent shooting (.370). Defensive tenacity has been a must, as the team is averaging a rather modest 66.3 ppg. Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green are atop the scoring list at 13.7 ppg each. Mitchell leads the way in rebounding (7.4 rpg), followed closely by Green (6.7 rpg). Trevor Releford rounds out the major scoring threats on the team with 12.6 ppg. The Crimson Tide led early on, but Vanderbilt went on an 11-0 run in the first half and built its lead to as many as 23 points in the second half, before settling for a 10-point victory over Alabama. Releford led the way in the loss with 14 points and six steals. Levi Randolph added 13 points, while Trevor Lacy chipped in with 10.
The Wildcats are a legitimate national title contender thanks to stellar play at both ends of the floor. Kentucky ranks 20th in the nation in scoring (79.6 ppg) and 22nd in scoring defense (59.1 ppg). The team ranks second nationally in field-goal percentage defense (.358) and third in scoring margin (+20.5). Five players are currently averaging double figures led by Doron Lamb's 14.0 ppg. Freshman forward Anthony Davis has made a huge impact inside though and is starting to assert himself as one of the nation's premier big men already. The 6-10 youngster is averaging a double-double with 13.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, while leading the nation with 4.7 blocks per outing. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (13.2 ppg), Terrence Jones (11.8 ppg) and Marquis Teague (10.5 ppg) add to the youth movement in Lexington. Davis was simply unstoppable in the win over Arkansas, finishing with a career-high 27 points to go along with 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Lamb added 14 points off the bench. Jones just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine boards, while Darius Miller and Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.