The nation’s No. 1 team gets its biggest test in two months when Tennessee heads to Rupp Arena to take on No. 5 Kentucky in a massive SEC showdown on Saturday night.
The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN, but if you don’t have cable, you can watch a live stream of the game on your computer, phone or streaming device via one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
PlayStation Vue offers four different channel packages, all of which include ESPN.
You can start a free 5-day trial right here (you don’t need to have a PlayStation console to sign up or watch), and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the PS Vue website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation (3 or 4), or other supported device via the PS Vue app.
If you can’t watch live, PlayStation Vue comes included with cloud DVR.
In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu also offers a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, including ESPN.
You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Echo Show, or other streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).
ESPN is included in the “Sling Orange” channel bundle.
You can start a free seven-day trial right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the Sling TV app.
If you can’t watch live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.
Cable subscription or log-in required
Additionally, you can watch a live stream of the game on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet, or streaming device via the ESPN app.
You’ll need to log in to a cable provider to watch this way, but if you don’t have that, you can still sign up for one of the above options and then use your PlayStation Vue, Hulu or Sling TV credentials to sign in and watch on the ESPN digital platforms.
Tennessee vs Kentucky Preview
When it comes to debates about the best team in college basketball, the No. 1 ranked squad gets overlooked in a shockingly large amount of those conversions.
One particular reason why teams such as Duke, Virginia, Michigan and Michigan State often get more national love is that the Volunteers haven’t really faced a major test since their December 9 win over Gonzaga. Something needs to be said for winning 19 in a row, but outside of the Zags, the best win of that stretch was on the road against Florida, the No. 37 team in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency rankings.
Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately depending on how you look at it), they’ll get plenty of chances to silence those doubts the rest of the way. Of Tennessee’s final eight games, seven are against teams that are among the Top 35 in KenPom’s rankings. That gauntlet begins Saturday with the most difficult of the bunch, a trip to Kentucky for a Top-5 matchup in one of the most hostile environments in the country.
Though the Wildcats are coming off a two-point home loss against LSU that was marred in controversy after Kavell Bigby-Williams’ buzzer-beating tip-in, they’re still one of the nation’s best teams. They’re 20-4 overall, three of those four defeats have come by two points or less, and they’re a projected two seed.
Moreover, head coach John Calipari believes the most recent loss can be a good thing in the long run.
“I think you almost have to get knocked in the mouth and take a loss,” he said. “I texted them probably two hours after the game and basically said, ‘It’s tough losing, but we needed this,’ because people were moving in the wrong direction and not listening to what we were saying.”
This is a huge game for both teams, but Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes is downplaying its importance in the grand scheme of things.
“I know [the players] see the hype, you can’t help but see it around this game, but hopefully there’s going to be more and bigger ones,” he said. “I don’t think this game is going to define our season or Kentucky’s. There’s still too much basketball to play to do that.”
In terms of individual matchups, the one on the inside between Grant Williams and PJ Washington has to be the most compelling.
Williams, the defending SEC National Player of the Year, is well on his way to becoming the first player since Arkansas’ Corliss Williamson in ’94 and ’95 to win the award in back-to-back years. His averages of 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks are all up from last year, while he ranks in the Top 10 in the SEC in offensive rating, true-shooting percentage, points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game.
Washington, meanwhile, had an inconsistent first two months of the season but has been an absolute force over the last seven games, averaging 20.7 points,
8.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. His rise in level of play has pushed Kentucky from merely good to legitimate Final Four contender.
“PJ Washington is playing great basketball right now, SEC Player of the Year-type level,” Tennessee senior Admiral Schofield said.
For what it’s worth, the oddsmakers like Kentucky to bounce back at home, favoring the ‘Cats by 3.5.