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3 takeaways from Alabama basketball’s blowout loss at Kentucky

3 takeaways from Alabama basketball’s blowout loss at Kentucky

Alabama Basketball Updated: Feb. 24, 2024, 5:39 p.m. Published: Feb. 24, 2024, 5:24 p.m.

Alabama men’s basketball honors 2004 Elite Eight team Alabama basketball maintained their SEC lead after Saturday’s matchup at Kentucky. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, the margin of error for the regular-season championship got thinner, as UA lost 117-95 to the Wildcats.

From the middle of the first half onward, UK jackhammered the Tide in one of Alabama’s worst defensive showings of the season.

Alabama dropped to 11-3 in SEC play with the loss, 19-8 on the season. The Tide return to action Wednesday at Ole Miss.

Before that, here’s what to know from Saturday’s loss in Lexington.

Faltering offense Entering the game, the storyline was simple. Two of the best offenses in college basketball matching up for a conference battle.

Early on, it seemed it would live up the billing. Alabama and Kentucky traded leads and both struggled immensely to get stops.

Then, Alabama faltered. The Crimson Tide’s offense got run off the line by the Wildcats, and had trouble picking up the points elsewhere.

By halftime, the score was 58-42. Things didn’t get better in the second, as UK continued to go on long runs, and even with Alabama getting up to 93 points late in the half, it still felt shaky.

With the regular season coming to a close, it’s becoming more and more obvious that Alabama’s margin for error in most games is extremely thin, and it can’t afford off nights offensively.

Defensive disaster Defense has been a major problem for Alabama all season. It was always going to be an issue, ever since Charles Bediako decided to leave for the NBA Draft.

The problem had never been more apparent than in the Kentucky game. Alabama hasn’t played well on the road this season, and the Wildcats took advantage, blowing the doors off Oats’ bunch.

By the halftime break, Alabama was allowing Kentucky 1.568 points per possession. At the final horn it hadn’t got much better, finishing at 1.539.

The Wildcats have been a high-ceiling, low-floor team that struggled at home entering Saturday’s contest. The Crimson Tide’s total inability to defend gave John Calipari’s team the perfect springboard to return to form, and created deep questions about itself as the 2023-24 campaign enters the home stretch.

Missing pieces Latrell Wrightsell Jr. missed his second consecutive game for the Crimson Tide due to a head injury, leaving UA without one of its starting guards. Weakening Alabama even more, Mo Wague was out with a suspension, after elbowing a Florida player in the head in the Crimson Tide’s last game.

The absence of both was obvious. As one of the biggest players on a small Tide team, Wague’s presence would have been useful as Alabama struggled mightily to play defense.

When the offense faltered, Wrightsell’s three-point shooting ability would have been appreciated. Alabama needed another offensive option and didn’t have the horses to keep up with Kentucky.

Wague will return for the Ole Miss game. Wrightsell’s status is unknown.

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