The University of Alabama men's basketball team plays its third game and six days and one of its biggest challenges of the season against No. 3/2 Kentucky on Tuesday evening in Lexington, Ky.
"[Kentucky] Coach Calipari has done a great job of blending the talent that he has," said UA head coach Anthony Grant. "He's got them playing extremely hard and they appear to be playing together. Anytime you do that it's a great recipe when you have the talent that he has. It makes for an awfully good team, which they are."
The Crimson Tide has dropped three straight games heading into Tuesday's game including a pair of one-point losses to fall to 13-10 overall and 3-6 in Southeastern Conference play. Of the team's 10 losses this season, five have come against opponents that are currently ranked in either the AP or ESPN/USA Today polls.
Kentucky enters Tuesday's contest with a 22-1 overall record and a 7-1 mark in league action and are a sterling 14-0 at home and have won their home SEC contests by an average of 15.5 points. The Wildcats, led by the freshman tandem of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, are averaging 82.3 points per game this season and 81.4 points in SEC action.
That potent offense will face a defense that still ranks first in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 60.1 points per game in SEC action. Just two SEC foes, Arkansas and Mississippi have scored more than 70 points against the Tide while SEC opponents are shooting just 39.6 percent against Alabama.
"Again, Kentucky is a very talented basketball team," said Grant. "For us it's just a matter of going in and controlling the things that we can control – how hard we play, how well we compete and the attention to the details that are involved in what allows us to have a chance. I think right now it's more about us than it is about anything else."