Published: Sun, February 18, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Kentucky vs. Alabama - 2/17/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Kentucky vs. Alabama - 2/17/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Given the fact that Kentucky has lost four straight games, all of the Big Blue Nation's focus has been on the Wildcats and their woes.

Before tipoff, courtside hosts Ravi Moss and Maria Montgomery put into words what was at stake Saturday in Rupp Arena.

Montgomery agreed, saying, "It's getting serious now".

For the first hour of Alabama's season opener Friday, the atmosphere at Sewell-Thomas Stadium would have provided good material for a Smiths song.

As one streak hung in the balance, another continued.

Sam Finnerty (1-0) earned his first win of the season behind a strong outing that saw the junior go a career-long 6.0 innings, allowing one earned run on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts. However, it was not enough to earn the Crimson Tide an elusive road win as Alabama fell to Kentucky 81-71. "We played some pretty good defense".

The game was tied 2-2 when Brandon Dorsey hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to give the Govs the win. What works. Lock in defensively. While the Crimson Tide average 19 three-point attempts per game, they let off 15 shots from deep in the first half alone. And they missed eight free throws in the game.

PJ Washington gave Kentucky a post presence, without which a team is a "fraud", as Calipari likes to point out. UT didn't hit its first field goal until 23 seconds later as Mercedes Russell, who scored her 1,500th point in the second quarter, banked in two points.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Tennessee, which next plays on Sunday at Missouri. "We went at him". In order to improve, Vanderbilt said the Wildcats must "buy into what (Calipari) is telling us". "When you get outplayed at those two positions, it's going to be very, very hard to win".

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In each of the four consecutive losses before Saturday, there was a moment when Kentucky looked like it might win.

Alabama also defends opponents well inside the arc, as the blocked shots and 46-percent makes allowed from two-point range illustrate. That included 20 offensive rebounds, 13 of which came in the second half. Hall had 2 of the Tide's 3 blocks, however, Alabama leads the SEC in blocks per game and the Wildcats managed to beat them in that statistic 4 to 3.

"I don't know if we were sped up", coach Avery Johnson said. Then immediately amended himself.

United Kingdom has only four regular-season games remaining - two at home and two on the road - and an 18-7 record. He also had five rebounds to help offset five turnovers, including four in the first half. But they were aggressive, and it didn't even require three-point shooting. United Kingdom fans cheered the hustle.

The Tide would strike for two more in the bottom of the seventh, using a pair of hits to pad its lead and set the score at 16-2, the eventual final.

Alabama's offense was highlighted by three-hit efforts from a pair of juniors in Cobie Vance, who went 3-for-4 with a double, one RBI, a walk and two runs scored, and Jett Manning, who finished a flawless 3-for-3 with a home run, a team-high three RBIs and two runs scored. That gave United Kingdom its largest lead yet, 41-34.

Alabama would extend the lead, scoring six runs across the next two frames, plating one in the fifth and putting up a five-spot in the sixth. United Kingdom had the advantage for most of the first half, but never managed to create too much separation.

After losing their second-quarter lead, the Lady Vols came out in the third quarter, shooting 58.8 percent and using a 15-0 run to start those next-to-last 10 minutes, while 'Bama went scoreless for almost four minutes. He hit a three-pointer from the left corner to put United Kingdom in front 50-48. But Alabama would not go away, setting up another United Kingdom victory or defeat decided in yet another five-minute game.

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