Alabama Hosts Kentucky

For the second time within four days the Alabama basketball team will play a Top 20 ranked team. Alabama, ranked 25th and 18-7 overall and 5-6 in the Southeastern Conference, plays host to number 20 Kentucky (18-7, 7-4) on Saturday. Tip-off in Coleman Coliseum is set for 2 p.m CST. All tickets to the game are sold. The game will be regionally televised on Lincoln Financial Sports.

The game marks the 130th meeting between Alabama and Kentucky in basketball. Kentucky is one of only two SEC teams Alabama trails in its series with as the Wildcats have won the match-up 95 times compared to 34 wins by Alabama. One of those wins for the Tide came last season when Alabama traveled to Rupp Arena on January 14, , left Lexington with a 68-64 win, led by 28 points and eight rebounds from Jermareo Davidson.

The two teams met again on March 10 in the 2006 SEC tournament quarterfinal in Nashville. This time Kentucky emerged a 68-61 winner.

The game matches up two of the league's top centers, both from Atlanta, Alabama's 6-foot-10 ? junior All-SEC center Jermareo Davidson and Kentucky's 6-foot-11 junior Randolph Morris.

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried said, "(Last year) Jermareo had a great game up there, and then we played again in the SEC tournament, and I thought Randolph Morris had a very good game. They're (UK) going to be excited about playing. We're (UA) going to be excited about playing. We've had some great games with Kentucky recently, so we should have another one here on Saturday."

Both teams are seeking wins to move up in the SEC standings. Alabama trails Ole Miss (6-5) by a game and is in second place (5-6) in the SEC Western Division standings while Kentucky is in second place at 7-4 in the Eastern Division where Florida is dominating at 11-0. Both teams are also trying to bounce back from mid-week losses. Alabama fell 76-67 at number one ranked Florida on Wednesday. Kentucky fell 89-85 at Tennessee on Tuesday.

"We've got a lot of respect for Kentucky's program. They have a great team this year. We're coming off a tough loss and Florida and we've got to bounce back quickly," said Gottfried.

Alabama goes into the game led in scoring and rebounding by sophomore forward Richard Hendrix who is averaging 15.0 points and 8.9 rebounds 25 games into the season. Hendrix is the SEC's most accurate shooter. He leads the league in field goal percentages, averaging 62.6 oer cent (154 of 246) in all games and 64.2 per cent (70-109) in league play.

Hendrix said, "Kentucky is a good team and we are in a situation where we are in need of a win. So we are just going to have to go out there and take care of business. They're a good team. They've got a lot of players who have played a lot, played big games; so we know they are going to be ready to play. They have strength at every position. They're a great team. We just have to be ready to bring our ‘A' game."

Alabama continues its Eastern Division swing after Saturday's game with a trip to Tennessee on Wednesday.

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