The Kentucky Wildcats will hope to quickly put 2020 behind them and look for a new start in the new year against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The 1-6 start for the Wildcats is their worst seven-game record in 94 years. They will look to regain control of their season in their SEC opener on Saturday.
Fixture: Kentucky Wildcats vs Mississippi State Bulldogs - NCAA Men's Basketball
Date & Time: Saturday, January 2, 2021, 6 PM ET
Venue: Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, Mississippi
Kentucky Wildcats Preview
The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off what their fans consider the worst loss of the year to their in-state rival, the Louisville Cardinals, 62-59.
The one silver lining to the Wildcats' 1-6 start is that they are playing decent defense. Kentucky is allowing just 66.6 points per game and only have a scoring margin of -1.7
If the Kentucky Wildcats can increase their woeful 25% 3-point shooting percentage, they could turn the second half of their season around.
Key Player - Olivier Sarr
Olivier Sarr is the key player for the Kentucky Wildcats. The 7-foot transfer averaged 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game with Wake Forest last season, but his play has not yet reached the same proficiency with the Wildcats. Sarr is averaging just 9.1 points a game this season.
If the senior forward can bring his play back to the level it was at Wake Forest, it may boost the rest of the young Wildcats in their quest to put a string of wins together.
Kentucky Wildcats Predicted Lineup
F Olivier Sarr, F Isaiah Jackson, G Davion Mintz, G Devin Askew, G Brandon Boston Jr.
Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are 6-3 on the season and ended their 2020 with a road win against the Georgia Bulldogs, 83-73, in their SEC opener.
The Bulldogs will hope for the same fast start they had against Georgia during their game against the Kentucky Wildcats. Mississippi State put up a double-digit lead midway through the opening period and ended the first half up 41-27.
If the Mississippi State Bulldogs can put together an early run against the poor-shooting Kentucky Wildcats, they will start the new year with a win.
Key Player - Abdul Ado
The key player for the Mississippi State Bulldogs is Abdul Ado. The senior forward from Nigeria will need to control the boards (6.3 rebounds per game average) and find easy points in the paint.
If Ado can get the Kentucky Wildcats into foul trouble with his aggressive play, they will move to 2-0 in the SEC.
Mississippi State Bulldogs Predicted Lineup
F Abdul Ado, F Tolu Smith, F Jalen Johnson, G D.J. Stewart Jr., G Iverson Molinar
Kentucky vs Mississippi State Prediction
The Kentucky Wildcats will get their second win of the season against the Mississippi State Bulldogs as they continue to open SEC play on the right foot. The Wildcats will continue their strong defense and improve their shooting ability from behind the arc in 2021.
Where to watch Kentucky vs Mississippi State
The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network and is available via WatchESPN.