A change needs to come for Alabama to escape Big Blue funk

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Dec 29, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts during the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC Yum! Center. Kentucky defeated Louisville 71-58. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts during the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC Yum! Center. defeated Louisville 71-58. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

By Chris DePew
TideFans.com Staff
Jan. 5, 2019

Where to watch: No. 13 Kentucky (10-2 – #13 Pomeroy Rating) at Alabama (9-3 – #64) – Today, noon Central, Coleman Coliseum, ESPN

Who to watch: . To put it bluntly, if the Crimson Tide is going to upset Kentucky for the first time in six years, it needs someone to greatly exceed what they’ve already done this season. And Mack has the most room for improvement. A high-volume shooter, Mack has become a bit more consistent of late as a secondary scoring option, but only once at Alabama has he exceeded the 14.8 points-per-game average he rang up as a sophomore at Texas. He’s capable of getting hot from 3-point range and also of matching the tenacity of fellow guards and on the glass. It’s hard to ask for a career day against the Wildcats, but Bama needs a big win from somewhere to get itself on the right side of the NCAA bubble.

What to watch for: Is the Tide tough enough mentally not to wilt against Big Blue? ’s teams have played seven times against Kentucky and only once gotten closer than nine points. In the remaining games, Bama has has fallen everywhere on the range from flustered to downright intimidated to utterly defeated before the opening tip.

Every regular with SEC experience has put up at least one clunker against UK, so it may fall to Mack and freshman to step up and play fearlessly in their league debuts. And Johnson needs to provide a steadying hand by sharpening his rotations and making sure his team sticks to the game plan when adversity inevitably hits and the temptation to panic and freelance is strong.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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