Early in the Southeastern Conference portion of the schedule, there are just three teams that remain unbeaten in league play. One of those, South Carolina, has played just one league game. The other two, Kentucky and Alabama, are set to face off on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky is now 4-6 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the conference. The Cats are coming off perhaps their best win of the year, a 76-58 triumph at Florida on Saturday.
The current three-game win streak has the Cats feeling much better about themselves, according to senior forward Olivier Sarr.
"It feels better, you know, it feels great," Sarr said. "We stayed positive during the tough time, but you can feel guys are feeling more confident. We are all feeling more confident, more comfortable. It just feels great."
As for what the Cats have done better recently, Sarr thinks it's simple.
"I think execution. I think everybody can see that we're executing way better," Sarr said. "Our offense is looking way better. We're sharing the ball. We're having fun out there and it makes a huge difference in the game."
Alabama is 9-3 overall and 4-0 in the SEC. Included in that record is an impressive 71-63 win at Tennessee earlier in January. Sarr knows that the Crimson Tide will pose a big challenge for the Cats.
"We're getting ready. Obviously, we'll see and talk about it more at practice (Monday), but they're doing really good so far and it's a great team," Sarr said. "A lot of good players. We've got to be locked in on defense and lock in on the scouting report. We'll get better until tomorrow for the game."
Freshman forward Isaiah Jackson knows that the Alabama contest is important, even this early in the conference slate.
"I feel like it's very important," Jackson said. "Every game that we've played this year was a war. So, it'll continue on. This one is a war too. We're preparing every day for practice and then practice to prepare for every team we face including Alabama. We'll come in fighting."
Sarr expects Tuesday's game to be a tough one.
"It's a great battle test," Sarr said. "We've been good so far in the league and their team too. I think it's going to be a battle. It's going to be a war. It's going to be a great test for us."
Jackson hopes that the Cats can continue their recent strong play against Alabama.
"We're on a run right now," Jackson said. "We're just going to try to keep it going."
Tuesday night's game will give one team a leg up in the early conference race. The Cats hope the momentum from Tuesday's win, and the current three-game winning streak can help them stem the Tide.
Kentucky vs. Alabama
Tue., Jan. 12 - 9 p.m. ET
Radio: UK Sports Network
UK Stats UA
4-6 Record 9-3
3-0 Conference Record 4-0
68.5 PPG 78.9
67.1 Opp PPG 71.5
.428 FG% .421
.405 Opp FG% .415
38.2 RPG 41.3
.311 3PT FG% .322
.308 Opp 3PT FG% .316
11.9 APG 13.3
6.7 SPG 8.4
6.1 BPG 3.9