Kentucky vs. Alabama odds

ST LOUIS MO – MARCH 10 Wenyen Gabriel

ST LOUIS MO – MARCH 10 Wenyen Gabriel

Alabama takes on the victor of Kentucky vs. Georgia in the tournament semifinals Saturday.

All the sensational freshman did was torch Auburn for 31 points, including 21 in the second half, to spark the Tide to a come-from-behind 81-63 rout of the regular-season league champion while solidifying his team's bid to make the NCAA T ournament.

And after Alabama defeated his team Thursday, Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy said, "That's the best they've played, that I've seen them in the last few weeks".

United Kingdom made 12 of 18 on 3-pointers, 66.7 percent.

But much as United Kingdom stifled Georgia star Yante Maten on Friday, Sexton never got in gear.

Next for the Wildcats: UK plays the victor of Arkansas/Tennessee on Sunday for the SEC Tournament championship.

Mark Fox and John Calipari were hired at Georgia and Kentucky within days of each other in 2009, but in a matter of days Calipari might become the true dean of SEC coaches. "Defense", he said, "that is the key to every postseason game".

Alabama's basketball team, as a No. 9 seed in the SEC tournament, crushed top-seeded Auburn, 81-63, on Friday to advance to the tournament semifinals Saturday.

Matt Zenitz is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group.

The only questions now are how high the Tigers will be seeded, who they will play in the first round and where that game will take place. Hall is Alabama's leading rebounder with 6.9 per game. A full six Kentucky shooters made attempts from out in the yard, with Gabriel himself splashing down all seven of his offerings.

The hype surrounding this matchup was understandably outsized, what with Alabama guard Collin Sexton emerging as a force of nature right as March hoops picked up this year.

But just because Kentucky has had success against Alabama doesn't mean it will be able to cover the four-point spread.

Auburn fans in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis were having the opposite of fun. Gabriel seemed a most unlikely candidate to go 7 of 7 from deep Saturday, considering he'd scored in single digits in 12 of the previous 13 games, had not made more than three 3-pointers in a game this season and had a recent cold spell in which he sank just 6 of 34 threes.

UK, 23-10, also got a lift from Sacha Killeya-Jones. But do not forget that Bama lost its last five regular season games, starting with a 10-point Kentucky win in Rupp Arena Feb. 17. Bryce Brown finished with 11 points but made just 1-of-8 3-pointers.

Kentucky led 29-19 at halftime.

The Alabama Crimson Tide look for another victory after beating Auburn on Friday. "As you all could see, we shot the ball a lot better in the second half, and we just played with a lot more confidence". The Tigers missed their first nine shots of the second half, causing coach Bruce Pearl to call an early timeout.

Washington had five points in the first half, but that dunk was a momentum changer.

So which side of Alabama-Kentucky do you need to be all over? "I don't know if I've ever coached against a guy that's got seven from the 3-point line on any level". Desean Murray hit his third 3-pointer and ripped off five straight points to put the Tigers up 41-31 over the Crimson Tide at halftime. The emotionally charged Bulldogs took a 23-22 lead late in the first half after a pair of free throws by Associated Press SEC player of the year Yante Maten, but the edge was short-lived.

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