Kentucky ran the Tide off the court in Tuscaloosa back in January, but it will be difficult to replicate the way the Cats won by 16.
“Look Avery, that’s as good as we play,” Calipari told Alabama coach Avery Johnson after the game.
It’s not just because the Cats played about as good as they could, it’s because they did it with fantastic play from the frontcourt. Alex Poythress was 8/10 from the floor and 9/11 from the free throw line en route to a 25 point, 7 rebound performance. Marcus Lee had 11 rebounds and 8 points, a few missed free throws away from a double-double.
Tonight’s frontcourt will not look the same. It’s likely that we will not see Poythress for the sixth straight game. Derek Willis has been great in his absence, but he will also likely be absent after suffering a low ankle sprain against Texas A&M. A few days ago, Marcus Lee’s status was also in question after injuring his lower back last week against Tennessee.
Lee played on Saturday, finishing with an “OK” 8 points and 5 rebounds. He told the media yesterday that he’s fine. “There are some things that you go through throughout a season and being an athlete you gotta either play through it or try to fix it as fast as possible,” Lee said.
Lee will need to play well through the pain. Along with Skal and Humphries as the only three post players available, Calipari will likely have to go to a four-guard lineup. With the floor spaced out, the post player will have to screen and rebound well. The good news: Alabama’s strength is not in the post.
There is one important similarity between tonight’s game and the last game against Bama — both times the Cats were coming off a highly publicized loss. Prior to the last game, they were embarrassed by 18-points on the road at LSU. They played pissed off, something fans hope to see from Isaac Humphries after the way Saturday’s game ended.
The Box Score from Tuscaloosa, with highlights below.