By Chris DePew
March 15, 2019
Where to watch: Alabama (18-14 – #60 Pomeroy Rating) vs. No. 4 Kentucky (26-5 – #8), Today 6 p.m. Central, Bridgestone Arena (Nashville), SEC Network
Who to watch: Herbert Jones. January’s upset of the Wildcats is best remembered as Tevin Mack’s breakout game, with six made 3-pointers. But Jones had an incredible day of his own, producing 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists with nary a missed shot or turnover to sully his box score. And the Crimson Tide will need him at his creative playmaking best, because Kentucky has grown and gelled as a team since losing by a basket at Coleman Coliseum 10 weeks ago. The Cats allow a paltry 65.2 points per game, hold opponents to 40.4 percent shooting from the field and defend without fouling, giving up an average of just 15.3 free throw attempts per game to opponents. When he’s on, Jones has the ability to disrupt defenses with his passing in tight spaces and slashes to the rim.
What to watch for: How much will Bama be willing to push the pace? As talented as Kentucky is, it isn’t a deep team and it isn’t much of an uptempo team. Avery Johnson surprised many by letting his team run and gun in the opening minutes of the first game and it seemed to keep UK off-balance most of the day. The Tide of course just expended lots of energy in Thursday’s SEC tournament comeback against Ole Miss, but Johnson did use 10 different players and only two for more than 30 minutes. With a NCAA bid likely at stake tonight, don’t be shocked if Bama goes wide open and hopes for the best.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris