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Kentucky at Tennessee
Fans of the Kentucky Wildcats are some of the most intense in all of sports.
Nothing less than a win is acceptable. The past few years have been rough for
the program, but Coach Calipari has restored them to their former glory thus far
in 2010. His team boasts a record of 26-1 and a national ranking of #2. They
will play the Tennessee Volunteers for the second time this year at 12 PM EST on
CBS. Tennessee is ranked #17 in the country with a record of 20-7. The last win
for the Volunteers came on the road against South Carolina. Neither team truly
“needs” a win here, but doing so would boost their tournament profile.
Senior swingman Wayne Chism is the most important player for the Tennessee Volunteers based on statistics. He puts up 12.9 PPG while getting 6.9 RPG, 1.5 BPG, and 1.3 SPG. He played decent in his first game against UK, but they limited him to just 5 rebounds. He was hindered by a inury in that game. Chism has proved he can put up big points. He had 24 against Purdue and a whopping 30 against South Carolina.
Bobby Maze will have an impact on the game at G. The senior had 15 points against Kentucky in their first meeting. He does a good job distributing the ball on offense and averages 3.1 APG. Scotty Hopson has been strong for Tennessee and he had 20 points in a 75-62 loss to Florida on Tuesday. He had only 10 points against UK the first time around and his team will need more production from him this time.
It seems that all of the Kentucky Wildcats starters are guaranteed first round picks. They truly are a team filled with stars. John Wall shines the brightest at guard. The freshman is putting up 16.8 PPG and 6.3 APG. He had 24 points in the first game against Tennessee. He can take a game over which is very rare for a freshman. He will be a star in the NBA and is arguably the best player in NCAA basketball right now. I’m sure he will break out the famous “John Wall Dance” if UK is victorious.
Patrick Patterson provides leadership for this young team even though he is only a junior. He was rendered ineffective against Tennessee last time, but should do better this go around. He is tough on the boards with 7.6 RPG. His best game of the year came against Mississippi State where he had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Demarcus Cousins is also solid with 16.1 PPG and 10.1 RPG. The Volunteers allowed him to score just 5 points last time. He had 27 in a loss to South Carolina. G Eric Bledsoe isn’t as heralded as Wall or Cousins, but he makes an impact with 10.7 PPG and 3.3 APG. He had one of his best games of the year against Tennessee when he scored 16 points.
The first matchup between these stellar teams was closer than the 73-62 score would lead you to believe. Tenessee had the lead mid way through the second half, but key players like Chism and Prince had to play with foul trouble. Chism was also nursing an injury during that game. This game promises to be much closer this time because Chism is healthy and the Vols will have home court advantage. Kentucky is good enough to overcome both of those factors, but if they go to sleep the Vols could put them away quickly. The Volunteers will need to try and get out of the gate quickly if they want to succeed where they failed earlier this year.
Predicted Final Score - Tennessee 71 Kentucky 70
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