Tennessee and Kentucky meet tonight with both sides searching for answers. The Wildcats, now sitting at just 5-11, have dropped five of their last six games. Still, Kentucky holds recent wins over Florida and LSU, making them a difficult group to predict — kind of reminds you of a certain team we’re familiar with, right?
Tennessee blew out Kansas last weekend, then turned around and lost to Ole Miss on Tuesday after blowing an 11 point lead. The Volunteers have now dropped three of their last five, and any run at an SEC regular season title seems impossible now. The Vols just need to find some sort of consistency — any at all would do.
Problem is, the tests don’t stop in conference play, even with an underachieving Kentucky squad as the next team on the schedule.
“Well, Kentucky is Kentucky,” Tennessee assistant Desmond Oliver said. “Despite their record, they still probably have the most talented roster in the SEC. Certainly one or two—I’m going to say them and Florida. They’re still Kentucky. No one is going in there thinking that because of their record or whatever that they’re not a team that can go out there and blow you out and beat you pretty badly.”
Kentucky offers plenty of size and NBA talent, something that Oliver said might actually play into Tennessee’s favor.
“I like the matchup because the reality is, it’s more of a normal matchup for us, in the sense of we’re not playing against a small ball team,” Oliver said. “I think several teams that we’ve played against this year end up playing four guards and now you’re in a position where, do you play your normal lineup and play Fulky and Yves, because they’re guarding a smaller guy, or go small ball? Kentucky historically has always had two front-line guys that have great size, so I think it’ll be a typical Tennessee-Kentucky slugfest with two big front lines going at it.”
Injury note: The Wildcats will still be without Terrence Clarke, who has missed much of the season with an ankle injury. The former top ten recruit is getting closer, but has already been ruled out of this matchup.
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Tip-off time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Radio: Vol Network
KenPom: Tennessee 15th, Kentucky 55th
Odds: Tennessee -3.5