Friday, February 20, 2009
Kentucky vs Tennessee Prediction
Tennessee Volunteers at Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky and Tennessee meet on Saturday with the Wildcats looking to sweep the season series after beating the Vols in Knoxville. Kentucky is not sure whether or not star forward Patrick Patterson will be able to play. Patterson is coming off an ankle sprain a week and a half ago and did not play in the loss to Vanderbilt earlier this week. If he is not able to go then the scoring load will fall heavily to guard Jodie Meeks who went for a school record 54 points in the last meeting.
Tennessee 16-9, 7-4, 4-4 (away), RPI #24
Kentucky 18-8, 7-4, 11-4 (home), RPI #65
Kentucky has won 7 of the last 10
Kentucky has won 4 of the last 5 at home
Players to Watch
Tyler Smith (17.6ppg), Wayne Chism (13.2ppg), JP Prince (9.6ppg)
Jodie Meeks (25.8ppg), Patrick Patterson (17.8ppg), Perry Stevenson (7.7ppg)
What Tennessee must do to win…
Pretty easy…how about not letting Meeks get 50 plus on you again. But seriously, Tennessee has to do a better job of getting a hand in Meeks face on the defensive end. If Patterson is unable to go then UT should be able to concentrate heavily on slowing down the junior guard. Offensively, the Vols have to shoot better than their 38 percent effort in January.
What Kentucky must do to win…
The big “what if” is Patterson’s injury status. His presence gives UK a solid option down low that can draw double teams for kick outs to Meeks and company. If he does not play then Kentucky needs another player to step up like Stevenson. Meeks will have to pick up some of the 17 ppg loss as well. The Wildcats out rebounded Tennessee by seven in their last meeting and despite having 15 turnovers and forcing just eight won by 18 points on the road. However, controlling the boards will be difficult without Patterson who had 12 in January’s meeting.
Going off the notion that since Patterson did not play a few days ago if he does play in this game he will not be at full strength. Kentucky will need a monumental effort from Meeks overcome a missing Patterson, which they got in a win against Arkansas but didn't in a loss to Vandy. Meeks play will be the key to a Kentucky win or loss.
Tennessee wins by 1-8 points
Season: 17-14 SU through 2/20
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