UK looking to bounce back against Crimson Tide

Head coach John Calipari talks with Guard Tyler Ulis on the sidelines in the game against Tennessee.

Anthony Crawford

The Cats lost a heartbreaker in their overtime game at Texas A&M.

Here are the matchups to watch in the game against the Crimson Tide.

Tyler Ulis vs. Retin Obasohan

These two guards come in with nearly identical contributions in the scoring column, with Tyler Ulis averaging 16.7 points per game for UK and Retin Obasohan with 16.9 points per game.

Ulis separates himself in this matchup, though, coming in as the better distributor — leading the conference with 6.9 assists per game — and coming off a contest where he dropped 11 dimes.

Obasohan plays a similar role for the Tide as Stefan Moody does for Ole Miss. He can be hard to contain off the dribble, and that leads to him being fouled a lot, as he is averaging nearly six trips to the charity strip per game.

Isaiah Briscoe vs. Arthur Edwards

To the surprise of many, Isaiah Briscoe made a three against the Aggies over the weekend, but he bricked multiple long two-point attempts thereafter.

When he finds the right balance of when to drive and when to shoot, he’ll be valuable as a more consistent source of scoring for the Cats.

As a team Alabama struggles from behind the arc shooting 33.3 percent from three. Senior Arthur Edwards is the Tide’s best shooter leading the team in made threes on the season.

Jamal Murray vs. Riley Norris

As freshman Jamal Murray continues to be one of the Cats best scoring options, he has started to successfully add some variation to his offensive game. Now you see him mixing more drives to the basket to complement his outside shooting.

Sophomore Riley Norris has played his way into a scoring drought in the team’s last couple of games, even going 1-for-7 on the road against LSU. Alabama will need the forward to find his shot if the team wants to upset UK.

Derek Willis’ replacement vs. Michael Kessens

Besides losing, the worst result from the game at Texas A&M was seeing junior Derek Willis have to be carried off the floor after sustaining an ankle injury. Willis had become a consistent third option on offense, and the offense will greatly miss the spacing he provided.

The job of guarding junior Michal Kessens will now fall to Willis’ replacement. Kessens’ minutes and production have dropped off from last season, but he is finishing around the rim stronger, as he has a field goal percent of 59.7.

Marcus Lee vs. Jimmie Taylor

The lack of physicality forward from Marcus Lee, who replaces injured Alex Poythress in the starting lineup, was on display against Texas A&M. Lee allowed his matchup Tyler Davis to pull down nine offensive and 12 total rebounds.

Lee will have to be better at holding his position down low against 6’10”, 248-pound Jimmie Taylor, who leads the Tide in rebounding.