The Kentucky basketball team suffered a devastating setback in their loss Tuesday night to Florida. Freshmen sensation Nerles Noel tore his ACL, ending his season. Many believe Noel was in line to be the top pick in this year’s NBA draft. The forward was leading the Wildcats in rebounds (9.5 a game) and blocks (4.4 a game) as well as averaging 10.5 points a game. Noel’s loss certainly leaves a major hole in the lineup for 25th ranked Kentucky.
Tennessee, however, got point guard Trae Golden back from a strained hamstring injury last Sunday in their win over South Carolina. On Wednesday night Golden returned to the starting lineup against Vanderbilt, replacing Kenny Hall. Hall didn’t play at all against the Bulldogs, according to head coach Cuonzo Martin, it was due to matchups.
Vols Forward Jarnell Stokes has played extremely well as of late, and will look to continue his level of play against Kentucky. He’ll be going for his seventh double-double in a row on Saturday.
Noel’s injury will leave the door open for Tennessee against Kentucky. The Vols played extremely well the first half against Vanderbilt, but stalled out in the second half. They will have to put together a complete game in order to compete with the Wildcats.
The Vols lost at Kentucky back on January 15th, 75-65. Kentucky outscored Tennessee 17-9 over the last five minutes to secure the win.
Kentucky is 17-7 overall and 8-3 in the SEC. Tennessee will come into the game with a 13-10 overall record and 5-6 conference record. The Vols will be looking for their third win in a row.
Kentucky and Tennessee will tip off at 1:00 PM EST on Saturday from Thompson-Boling arena. The game will be broadcast locally by CBS.