The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of potentially their best half of the season. After trailing by nine at halftime at Vanderbilt, they fought back to run the Commodores off the floor and cover the spread.
Tyrese Maxey was scoring, Ashton Hagans was taking care of the ball, Immanuel Quickley was hitting big shots, and Nick Richards was doing just about anything he wanted to do. It was Kentucky at their very best, and a taste of what many teams would fear in tournament play.
However, you cannot expect these guys to all be on top of their games every night. Especially coming off of such a dominant performance, it makes sense to expect a bit of a letdown. Unfortunately, Ole Miss has a guy that you do not want to have a let down against.
The Rebels have won three games in a row, all in impressive fashion. And senior guard Breein Tyree has been on quite the heater. He is averaging 33.7 points per game in that span, with performances of 38 and 40 against South Carolina and Mississippi State, respectively.
Tyree has hit 52% of his three-point shot during that span, and he has been supported by junior guard Devontae Shuler, who is hitting 35% of his deep shots for the season. Like many other teams the Wildcats have seen, the Rebels do not have a ton of size. They are led in rebounding by 6-7 forward KJ Buffen with 6.1 boards per game.
The only size they have to match up with Nick Richards is junior forward Khadim Sy, who is 6-10 and is fully capable of having a big performance in Lexington. In his last outing, Sy went for 18 points on 7/12 shooting with eight boards in the win over Mississippi State. He’s reached double figures in five of his last six games.
Ole Miss has been excelling from the outside during their winning streak, hitting 44% of their three-point attempts. In addition to Shuler and Tyree, sophomore guard Blake Hinson is third on the team with 33 triples, and he’s shooting 45.5% from deep over his last three games.
But it’s Tyree who is the exact type of player that can come into Rupp Arena and have a career day. And given his performance over the last few weeks, a career day would create quite a problem for Kentucky.
The Wildcats will be a big favorite in this game, and for good reason. But if you have a player like Tyree, you have a puncher’s chance in any game.
Will Kentucky be able to continue their winning streak and climb the polls? We will find out Saturday afternoon in Rupp Arena.