Wildcats hunting second straight SEC tourney title

Wildcats hunting third straight SEC tourney title

After knocking off higher-seeded Ole Miss yesterday, can Alabama muster what it takes to upend an even bigger behemoth in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament?

Online sports book BetDSI doesn’t exactly give the Crimson Tide a rosy outlook entering tonight’s showdown with Kentucky. The 23-8 Wildcats, averaging 91 points per game this month, opened as 9-point favorites.

It’s not a matter of blueblood trumping common sense, either. John Calipari’s newest collection of premium professional prospects shot 52.8 percent in back-to-back victories over Florida and LSU last week. UK just regained full health, too, having operated without Derek Willis (sprained ankle) and Alex Poythress (right knee) for extended stretches.

Avery Johnson probably dreams of deploying such talent. At the moment, though, the former NBA player and coach is getting the most out of his upstart group. Alabama defeated the Rebels by stifling everybody not named Stefan Moody and converting a scintillating 12 long-distance bombs

Be careful about expecting a reprisal of the marksmanship variety. The Tide had averaged 60.6 points on 40.1 percent shooting while dropping four of the last five contests of the regular season. Moreover, Tuscaloosa’s hoops heroes were outrebounded 84-54 in a pair of losses to Kentucky earlier this year.

The rids ends here. While Alabama will wait on that NIT call, however, the Wildcats should keep polishing that Big Dance resume.

FRIDAY NCAA FREE PICK: KENTUCKY -9

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