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Kentucky vs. Gonzaga: TV/Streaming Info, Keys to the Game, and Predictions



The Kentucky Wildcats and Gonzaga Bulldogs will face off in Rupp Arena in the second game of a six game series.
UK Athletics

Following a dominating “get right” victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores, the Kentucky Wildcats return to Rupp Arena for their next challenge against the Gonzaga Bulldogs this Saturday.

In 2022, the two programs agreed to a six-year series which include two games at Rupp, two games in Spokane, and two neutral site games. After losing the first game of the series last season in Spokane, Kentucky will look to even it out this season. While it is still a quad one opportunity for Kentucky, just barely by four NET ranking spots, it is not the ranked battle that many thought it would be.

Over the last decade, Gonzaga has been one of the winningest programs in college basketball. A lot of that has to do with playing in the WCC, but they are not even leading their league this season, two games back from Saint Mary’s. Over the season, the Bulldogs have just three top 100 NET wins and no quad one wins.


Gonzaga has put themselves as a bubble team, currently on the outside looking in. For Kentucky, this is the type of team that they will play in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. With March just on the horizon, it is a good test.

Let’s dive into the matchup.

Get Back in Transition

Gonzaga likes to play fast and excels in transition, averaging almost 21 points per game in that area. Most of the Bulldog’s transition opportunities don’t come off of turnovers, but off of defensive rebounds and hitting the outlet pass.

While playing fast plays in Kentucky’s favor on offense, they will need to get a few stops on the defensive end. This week Kentucky’s staff and players have talked about the effort needing to be better on the defensive end. Fortunately, sprinting back on defense is pure effort.


Rebounding Battle

Gonzaga is one of the best rebounding teams that Kentucky will face the season, ranked 15th in the country in rebounds per game with nearly 40 per game. Their rebounding helps fuel their offense. As mentioned, they are really good and hitting the outlet pass off of defensive rebounds, but they also crash the offensive glass, grabbing a third of their misses.

Kentucky’s just outrebounded Vanderbilt 44-25, with a team effort. Let’s see if that can carry over to a more talented opponent.


Kentucky’s frontcourt will be a big factor on both sides of the ball on Saturday. On offense, they will have some looks with Gonzaga’s three-quarter top coverage to deny entry. On defense, they will need to contain Anton Watson and Graham Ike, who combine for more than half of their offensive production.

With three seven-footers and Tre Mitchell, Kentucky has the versatility to throw multiple looks at Gonzaga. You could pull the bigs out with Zvonimir Ivisic or Aaron Bradshaw to create more space on offense, or put in Ugonna Onyenso to anchor the defense and provide a post presence.


Opposing Players to Watch

F Anton Watson 6-8, 228 lbs

  • 14.5 PPG
  • 7.7 RPG
  • 2.6 APG
  • 42.4% 3P

G Ryan Nembhard 6-0, 175 lbs

  • 12.5 PPG
  • 5.8 APG (25th in nation)
  • 3.7 RPG

G Nolan Hickman 6-2, 183 lbs

  • 13.0 PPG
  • 50% of shot attempts have been 3P

Kentucky Basketball vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Time: 4:00 PM EST
  • Date: February 10th, 2024
  • Location: Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center in Lexington, Kentucky.
  • TV Channel: SEC Network
  • Online Stream: WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
  • Radio: Tom Leach and Jack Givens have the radio call on the UK Sports Radio Network.
  • Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
  • Rosters: UK | ZAG
  • Stats to Know: UK | ZAG
  • KenPom: UK | ZAG
  • Team Sheet: UK | ZAG
  • Odds: No DraftKings spread just yet, so check back Friday evening. ESPN’s matchup predictor is confident in the Cats, giving them a 70.3% chance of victory. The rest of the projections give Kentucky the edge, but are not as confident. EvanMiya is at 56%, while BartTorvik is at 64%. KenPom sits at 60%
  • Predictions: The projections are anticipating a close game. Bart Torvik is picking the Cats to win 87-83. Haslametrics and EvanMiya both have Kentucky winning by just two points, 85-83. KenPom projects an 85-82 victory for Kentucky.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

Men's Basketball

Tre Mitchell’s Stepfather Gives Injury Update, “Ridiculously Painful”



Kentucky Wildcats forward Tre Mitchell injury is still "ridiculously painful"
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Tre Mitchell missed his third-straight game on Saturday, suffering a shoulder injury during the Ole Miss game, while also still trying to recover from a lingering back issue that kept him out two games prior.

His stepfather, Tony Bergeron, was on WPBK-FM on Friday, before Kentucky’s game against Alabama, where he gave an update on Mitchell. “I thought he came back a little too early (against Ole Miss), got hit, and sprained that shoulder like it was a football injury. The problem now is that it is ridiculously painful,” Bergeron said.

On a positive note, this may help Mitchell reach 100 percent. “He needs to just wait until his back is 100 percent,” Bergeron said. It’s clear that Mitchell hadn’t been himself while playing through the back pain, shooting just 35 percent (8-23) over the three games prior to his first DNP.


With compounded injuries, it is best to just rest and recover fully until making a return. Kentucky will need Mitchell at his best for a post-season run.

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Men's Basketball

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State, Round 2: TV/Streaming Info, Keys to the Game, and Predictions



After a dominant win over Alabama, the Kentucky Wildcats will take on Mississippi State on the road.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

What a win on Saturday for the Kentucky Wildcats, who put up one of the best offensive performances in college basketball this season on Saturday in a 117-95 win over Alabama. Now they will go back on the road to take on a Mississippi State team in a quad-one opportunity.

With Kentucky coming out on top in the first matchup, back in January, Mississippi State will look to even the season series and defend their home court on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are playing some of their best basketball of the season, riding a five-game winning streak, including a twenty-point road victory over LSU, whom Kentucky just lost to.

Let’s look at the matchup.


Interior Defense

Tolu Smith is arguably the best big man in the SEC. In the first matchup between these two teams, he certainly made his presence felt despite the loss, scoring a season-high 26 points on better than 70 percent shooting.

This time around will be a good test to see how an improved Kentucky defense handles a physical interior player. While improving and reportedly back at practice, Tre Mitchell is unlikely to play on Tuesday, so it will be up to the seven-footers.

Ugonna Onyenso is Kentucky’s most physical big, but Zvonimir Ivisic who just scored a season-high 18 points, gives Kentucky a higher offensive ceiling.

Rebounding Battle

Similar to the stereotypical SEC team, Mississippi State is a physical team that does well on the boards, ranking toward the top of the country in total rebounds, offensive rebounds, and rebound margin. In the first matchup, Kentucky outrebounded the Bulldogs 30-29, that effort will need to be there again Tuesday.


Josh Hubbard

Mississippi State’s equivalent to Rob Dillingham is Josh Hubbard. The sub-six-foot electric guard is a similar microwave-type player who just won his fifth SEC Freshman of the Week honor this season after scoring 32 points against LSU.

Scoring just three points on 1-11 shooting against Kentucky back in January, Hubbard is motivated to have a better performance. The priority in defending Hubbard is chasing him off the three-point line or pushing him back as more than 64 percent of his shots have been taken from deep. Similar to what Kentucky did to Alabama, make him finish at the rim.

Opposing Players to Watch

F Tolu Smith 6-11, 245 lbs

  • 16.8 PPG (9th in SEC)
  • 8.1 RPG (3rd in SEC)
  • 59.7% FG (1st in SEC)

G Josh Hubbard 5-10, 185 lbs

  • 15.3 PPG (10th in SEC)
  • 76 3PM (1st in SEC)
  • 7.9 3PA per game

G Dashawn Davis 6-1, 190 lbs

  • 6.2 PPG
  • 3.0 APG (17th in SEC)

Kentucky Basketball vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • Time: 7 PM ET on February 27th
  • TV Channel: ESPN
  • Announcers: To be announced.
  • Location: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi.
  • Online Stream: WatchESPN and ESPN app
  • Radio: Tom Leach and Jack Givens have the UK radio call on the UK Sports Radio Network.
  • Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).
  • Rosters: UK | MISS ST
  • Stats to Know: UK | MISS ST
  • KenPom: UK | MISS ST
  • Team Sheets: UK | MISS ST
  • Odds: DraftKings has yet to release the odds for the game, but check back on Monday evening. Despite a convincing win over Alabama, the projections are not in Kentucky’s favor. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Cats just a 40.9% chance at victory, with Bart Torvik right in line at 41%. EvanMiya and KenPom give Kentucky a slightly higher chance at the win, at 46% and 45% respectively.
  • Predictions: The projections have the game coming down to the wire. Bart Torvik and KenPom have Mississippi State winning by two points, 80-78 and 79-77. Haslametrics and EvanMiya have the Cats winning by just one point, 77-76.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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Men's Basketball

Recap and Takeaways From Kentucky’s Dominating Win Over Alabama



The Kentucky Wildcats dominated Alabama in a 117-95 win.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Rupp Arena was rocking on Saturday when Kentucky faced no. 13 Alabama, and the Wildcats matched that same energy in a fun one. The Cats absolutely demolished the Crimson Tide by a score of 117-95, one of the best offensive performances ever.

Justin Edwards had his breakout game, finishing with 28 points on a perfect 10-10 shooting, and 4-4 from deep. Antonio Reeves added 24 points, Zvonimir Ivisic had 18, and Rob Dillingham poured in 16 to lead Kentucky in scoring to go along with an impressive 63% from the field and 54% from three-point range.

Let’s take a look at how the domination happened.


Justin Edwards Has His Breakout Game

Saturday’s game against Alabama will be known as the Justin Edwards Game. After having a rough season so far going through many mental battles, Edwards finally had his breakout game, and BBN and his teammates were so happy for him. Finishing with a career-high and team-high 28 points, he added 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

Edwards went a perfect 10-10 from the field, and shot 4-4 from deep. That makes Edwards only one of three players in UK history with at least 10 field goal attempts with no miss.

Kentucky Shows Historic Offensive Performance

The offensive performance on Saturday was one for the ages. Kentucky’s 117 points were the most scored against an AP Top 25 opponent in UK history. Shooting 63% from the field, it was one of the more impressive performances, while also shooting 54% from three-point range.

Kentucky had 5 players in double figures. The assist-to-turnover ratio was top notch, with a 24:10 ratio. It was a performance that will be remembered for a long time


Three-Point Defense Improves

Kentucky’s defense as a whole wasn’t the best, with allowing 95 points, but the Cats forced 16 turnovers and had 29 points off of them, while also having 7 blocks and 11 steals. The three-point defense was really impressive. Holding a team that attempts nearly 30 three-point attempts per game to just 17 attempts, it was certainly running Alabama off the three-point line. Alabama only made 6 threes on those 17 attempts, shooting 35%.

Making Alabama score in other ways besides three-pointers seemed to be an emphasis for Kentucky. They definitely succeeded at that on Saturday.

Kentucky had their best offensive performance of the season, and one that was against a top-15 opponent, and much needed in the final stretch of the season. Next, Kentucky will head to Mississippi State on Tuesday. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.

Check out the box score and highlight’s from Saturday’s win.


Box Score


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