Kentucky Basketball: Buckle up, lace ’em up as UK and Bama battle for SEC top spot

Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats forward Keion Brooks Jr. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kentucky basketball
Olivier Sarr of the Kentucky Wildcats. /

Tempo: The name of the game

Alabama coach Nate Oats runs an offense similar to the one NBA coach and offensive wizard Mike D’Antoni invented in “taking a shot within seven seconds”. 

The Tide averages a shot every 14 seconds per possession and play at the 15th fastest pace in all of the NCAA while Kentucky is at nearly turtle speed ranking 239.

It’s sort of the tortoise and the hare race but can Kentucky keep the Tide in range?

Sarr discussed what is working for this team.

"“I think execution. I think everybody can see that we’re executing way better. Our offense is looking way better. We’re sharing the ball. We’re having fun out there and it makes a huge difference in the game.”"

We haven’t seen this type of an opponent this season although Florida admittedly likes to run and shoot as well, it was Kentucky holding them in check and completely took the Gators out of their game.

Alabama scores nearly 80 points per game. They have the 30th overall ranked offense and they also come in ranked 54th in offensive rebounding. Defensively, Alabama ranks 40th overall and they force turnovers at one of the higher rates in the nation.

The Tide gets 35.8% of its total points off three-pointers and even better 37.3% on the road.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats average just 68 points a contest due to poor shooting ranking 263rd in field goal percentage and 242nd in 3-point efficiency. But it’s the defense that has held this team together ranking 16th overall and fourth in blocks per game.