Busting Brackets

Kentucky Basketball: 3 keys to SEC tilt with Tennessee Volunteers

Florida v Kentucky
Florida v Kentucky / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Crash the boards

Rebounding is a fundamental of basketball. It can also be the difference between beating the Vols and losing to the SEC rivals.

Tennessee is a really physical team, as evidenced by being one of the top three rebounding squads in the SEC. In four of their five losses this season, they've lost the rebounding battle - that's the swing factor for the Vols.

That being said, the Wildcats are no shlubs on the boards. While Tennessee pulls down 39.5 rebounds per game, Kentucky grabs 38.6 rebounds per game. Not a big difference at all.

Both of the team's leading players in the category are also close together. Tre Mitchell averages 7.8 rebounds per game for Kentucky; Jonas Aidoo averages 7.4 points per game for Tennessee.

There are two players who are good on the boards for the Wildcats that Calipari should consider giving extra minutes to in order to swing the battle Kentucky's way. One is Nigerian 7-footer Ugonna Onyenso. He only plays 16.5 minutes per game, but averages five rebounds and 2.8 blocks. He's also fresh off his best scoring performance of his career, scoring 13 against Florida.

The other is sophomore guard Adou Thiero. He's more of a scorer, averaging seven points per game. But his 6-foot-8, 222-pound frame makes him one of the better rebounding guards in the game. He's averaging 5.3 boards per contest and get a couple of buckets a game, for good measure.

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Keep an eye on the rebounding margin as a key for Kentucky when this game begins.