UK set for top 25 showdown against Tennessee


Head coach John Calipari shakes hands with Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes after the game against the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 83-58.

Chris Leach

After starting SEC play 2-0, the Kentucky basketball team will look to keep its undefeated conference record unscathed when the Cats travel to No. 23 Tennessee.

The Cats are coming off a three-point road victory at LSU. Three UK players finished with double-digit points, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his recent hot streak, leading the Cats with 18 points.

Kentucky’s Kevin Knox finished with 16 points against LSU, which is the most points he’s scored since facing Virginia Tech on Dec. 16.

Read: Kevin Knox now practicing with the forwards 

As for the Volunteers, they will be looking to avoid a 0-3 start to conference play after losses to Arkansas and Auburn.

The Vols have entered the discussion as one of the top teams in the SEC after starting the year off 7-1 with wins over Purdue and Wake Forest. Two of Tennessee’s losses came to Villanova and North Carolina, both of which were decided by single digits. 

The Vols have had good fortunes against the Cats in Thompson Boling Arena in recent years, as Tennessee has come out on top in Knoxville in three of the last four meetings. Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams both finished with double-digit points in last year’s game to help the Vols pull off the two-point victory.

Williams and Schofield both returned to Tennessee this season, and they’re the top two players offensively for the Vols. Williams leads Tennessee, averaging 15.6 points per game, while Schofield averages 12.3 points a game.

This will be a tough test for UK, not only because it’s a road game, but because Tennessee has proven to be a quality opponent despite the two-game losing streak. The Cats lost their only game to a ranked opponent earlier in the season to Kansas, and are 2-2 in games away from Rupp Arena.

Fortunately for the Cats, head coach John Calipari doesn’t lose to top competition on a regular basis, as UK is 50-23 under Calipari when facing a ranked opponent.

Tipoff at Thompson Boling Arena is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcasted on SEC Network.