Kentucky and Alabama are familiar SEC Tournament foes, but the Cats and the Crimson Tide only faced off once this season.
This will be the third consecutive year the two teams have met in the SEC Tourney. Kentucky won the previous two meetings by a combined 31 points. John Calipari is 4-0 against Alabama in the SEC Tourney and Kentucky has won all six semifinal match-ups with the Crimson Tide. The Cats have a 41-2 all-time record in the SEC Tournament semifinals.
In more recent history, Kentucky took down the Crimson Tide 81-71 in their only regular season match-up. The win snapped UK’s four-game losing streak and started a four-game win streak.
The key to success in the first game will be the same today — rebound.
The Wildcats out-rebounded Alabama by 17 and turned 20 offensive rebounds into 20 second chance points. Kentucky scored almost half their points in the paint. Eleven of the 40 came from Jarred Vanderbilt in his first double-digit scoring performance of his career.
This time around, Kentucky does not have Vanderbilt, and nobody’s hotter than Collin Sexton. Quade Green used physicality to limit Alabama’s star to just 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Quade must replicate that defensive intensity today to contain Sexton.