Kentucky Basketball: Will it be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde who steps on the court?

Kentucky guard Davion MintzCredit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky guard Davion MintzCredit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /
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When the Kentucky basketball team shows in Tuscaloosa will it be the Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde team?

In the first chapter of Kentucky basketball versus Alabama, it was the more subdued Dr. Jekyll team from the bluegrass that succumbed to the Crimson Tide.

Tonight is chapter two and the Wildcats need Mr. Hyde to show up and go for the upset against Southeastern Conference leader Alabama.

Usually, its teams in the SEC trying to slay giant Kentucky, but this year Bama (13-3, 8-0) is the big dog and while holding the top spot in the conference also ranks No. 9 nationally.

Kentucky (5-9, 4-3) is sitting in sixth place in the conference and not in any national ranking and trying to find a way to steal some wins in the brutal six-game stretch they are in looking for signatures wins.

As in Robert Louis Stevenson’s book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. there is a darker side of this Wildcat team that when angered they seem to find an inner self that rears up and plays with a fire and passion.

That is the team coach John Calipari is searching for and tonight that side needs to be front and center.

On January 12 in Lexington, it was Alabama putting an 85-65 beat down on Kentucky giving Calipari his biggest point loss at Kentucky and third-largest point defeat in Rupp Arena history.

There was a lot of trash talk being levied toward Kentucky during the game and the Wildcat players haven’t forgotten.

Kentucky assistant coach Bruiser Flint spoke to the media to preview the game is also fully aware of the talk and was asked if there is a bit of revenge factor.

"“It’s good for them stopping us and bringing the best out of us. It’s a good challenge. We’re going to war over there and I know that the guys are ready. So, it’s a great challenge for us. They talked a lot during the game, so we’ve got good motivation.”"

Will we see the team that opened SEC play with three straight wins including a thumping of Florida, or will it be the team that dropped the following three before ripping LSU on Saturday?

Kentucky center Olivier Sarr also hasn’t forgotten all the chirping Bama players did.

"“I mean, you know what’s happening on a basketball court. A lot of guys talk whether it’s trash or whether it’s just to get you out of your game. I’m not going to pinpoint exactly everything they said. We don’t need to do that. But all we know is that they talked a lot. It’s not part of our game. We’re just trying to focus on what we do and we’ll try to do that at the best of our abilities, and that’s what we’re going to try and do on Tuesday.”"

The line is Alabama by 8 points and if they play as they did against LSU and Florida there is a shot they cover or even pull off an upset. But all the stars have to align for that to occur.

Hearing that all the stars must align for Kentucky fans is hard to bear, but this team hasn’t given up hope and they need BBN to rally behind them.

Kentucky is 9-3 in the past 12 games against the spread on the road while Alabama is 4-1 in its last five games against the spread.

What will it take?