No. 10 Tennessee heads to Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon looking to avenge last month’s home loss against Kentucky.
After losing three of their first four games in February, the Vols knocked off No. 1 Alabama to get their mojo back Thursday night.
Kentucky is coming off a big road win at Mississippi State — its second quad one win of the season — but is still a desperate team entering the matchup as one of the last four teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s everything to know ahead of the rivalry matchup.
More From RTI: Everything Rick Barnes Said Ahead Of Matchup Against Kentucky
How to Watch – No. 10 Tennessee (20-6, 9-4 SEC) at Kentucky (17-9, 8-5 SEC)
- Start Time: 1 p.m. ET/noon CT
- Location: Rupp Arena
- TV: CBS. PxP: Ian Eagle, CC: Bill Raftery
- Online Streaming: CBS Live Stream
- Radio (Knoxville): The Vol Network/The Vol Network App
Team Statistics (via ESPN)
What Head Coach Rick Barnes Said About The Wildcats
On where Tennessee has to be better the second time around against Kentucky
“One is rebounding. They just absolutely annihilated us on the glass. I think doubled us up. The fact is, we had a lot of blown coverages. They played really good basketball. But we’ve got to do a better job on the boards. Certainly we’ve got to do a better job with our scouting report.”
On what they saw on the Kentucky tape from the first game that allowed Kentucky to dominate in rebounding
“A little bit of all of it. We came out, remember I think we got an 8-0 lead or something like that, the first time out. Then when we first started subbing, we just totally lost what momentum we had and they captured it. I thought their game plan, they were being efficient with everything they were doing. We got anxious and started really (being) undisciplined and leaving shooters. Doing things that you can’t do against any team you play against when you’ve scouted them. Everybody is expected to be on the same page, and when you’re not, again, I’m not taking anything away (from Kentucky). Because they came in here and it was, at the time, everyone thought they were struggling. They were, but they came in, they locked in and they beat us.”
- Spread: Tennessee -2 (-110), Kentucky +2 (-110)
- Total: Over/Under 135.5
- Spread: Tennessee -4 Kentucky
- Total: Over/Under 134
Probable Starters (via UT Sports)
- Points: Santiago Vescovi – 12.3 PPG, 38.9 FG%, 35.8 3PT%
- Rebounds: Jonas Aidoo – 5.1 RPG
- Assists: Zakai Zeigler – 5.5 APG, 2.2 TOPG, 29.6 MPG
- Points: Oscar Tschiebwe — 15.8 PPG, 55.2 FG%, 70.5%
- Rebounds: 13.3 RPG
- Assists: Sahvir Wheeler — 5.6 APG, 1.9 TOPG, 28.5 MPG
Last Five Games
- 02/15/23 — W — Tennessee def. Alabama 68-59
- 02/11/23 — L — Tennessee lost versus Missouri 86-85
- 02/08/23 — L — Tennessee lost at Vanderbilt 66-65
- 02/04/23 — W — Tennessee def. Auburn 46-43
- 02/01/23 — L — Tennessee lost at Florida 67-54
- 02/15/23 — W — Kentucky def. Mississippi State 71-68
- 02/11/23 — L — Kentucky lost at Georgia 75-68
- 02/07/23 — L — Kentucky lost against Arkansas 88-73
- 02/04/23 — W — Kentucky def. Florida 72-67
- 01/31/23 — W — Kentucky def. Ole Miss 75-66
As much as any game this season, I do not have a very good feel for this game.
On one hand, Tennessee is the better team. Even with their recent struggles, the Vols have proved that with their body of work over the course of the season. Tennessee has also had an abundance of success against Kentucky under Rick Barnes and hasn’t lost two games in the same season to the Wildcats since Barnes has been here.
Last season, Kentucky dominated Tennessee in Rupp Arena before the Vols turned around and handled the Wildcats in Thompson-Boling Arena a month later.
On the other hand, Kentucky is a desperate team and needs this game more than the Vols do despite their recent inconsistent play. Rupp Arena is an extremely difficult place to play and while Barnes has had success there as Tennessee’s head coach, the Vols have just four wins there this century.
Kentucky is also not a great matchup for Tennessee with their wing athleticism and ability to run the Vols off the three-point line. Lastly, Tennessee’s ability to play physical defense on the perimeter will likely be limited by how the home officials will call the game.
I don’t have a great feel for this game, but I’ll give the Vols a slight edge.
Tennessee 64, Kentucky 63