Stuart McNair

Alabama will be going for second straight win over top 25 opponent

Alabama has decent record vs. Kentucky in Coleman Coliseum

It may seem there is nothing more one-sided than Kentucky vs. Alabama in basketball…or Kentucky vs. just about any other team in basketball. And, to be sure, the Wildcats do hold the advantage against the Crimson Tide in roundball.

When Alabama hosts Kentucky at noon CST Saturday in Coleman Coliseum, it will be the 146th game played between the two, and the Wildcats hold a 108-37 edge. That’s a 74.5 per cent success rate for UK. What could be better than that?

Well, how about Alabama football with a 37-2-1 record against Kentucky in football? That’s 93.8 per cent.

What does that have to do when the Crimson Tide hosts 12th-ranked Kentucky Saturday? Certainly, the football part doesn’t mean anything. And it likely will take Alabama’s best performance of the season to make sure the Wildcats’ basketball advantage doesn’t creep up a bit.

Alabama will have the advantage of the home court and the game will be sold out for the third consecutive Tuscaloosa performance. What is not an advantage is having to rise to the occasion against a top 25 team.

However, Alabama is coming off a quadruple overtime upset victory at No. 16 South Carolina, 90-86, last Tuesday night. It marked the Tide's first true road win over a top-25 team since knocking off then-No. 4 Mississippi State, 77-73 on Feb. 21, 2004, in Starkville, Miss. Furthermore, it was the second four overtime game in program history, as the Tide also took a four-point win over LSU on Feb. 12, 1972, winning 103-79.

That could be more relevant than Alabama vs. Kentucky in football.

Alabama vs. Kentucky in basketball tips off at noon Saturday in Coleman Coliseum. CBS will televise the game.

Saturday’s game, the first in a stretch of three-out-of-four Bama will play on its home court, will see the Tide trying to end a Kentucky winning streak of the last six games (three of those wins coming last season) and 13 of the last 15. Alabama, though, has done better in Tuscaloosa with a 17-19 mark in games played in Coleman Coliseum.

In two seasons as Alabama’s head coach, Avery Johnson has taken the Tide against top 25 teams 10 times and has a 5-5 record. Bama has not beaten top 25 teams in back-to-back games since 2000, which Alabama defeated No. 11 Auburn and No. 7 Tennessee in consecutive games.

Alabama is 13-9 this year and fourth in the Southeastern Conference with a 7-4 record. The Wildcats are 19-5 overall and in a three-way tie for first with South Carolina and Florida in the SEC at 9-2.

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