Alabama and Tennessee meet in the third round of the SEC tournament, coming in as No. 4 and No.5 seeds respectively. Bitter rivals in all sports, the two teams split the regular season's meetings with only a four point difference in each game. Expect this game to come down to the wire as well.
Alabama needs a solid run in the tournament if they expect to make the NCAA tournament. If the Crimson Tide lose today, they can expect to be headed to the NIT at best. In a season that has been hampered by injuries to a number of starters, Alabama has still pulled out a decent year, going 12-6 in the SEC and 20-11 overall. Leading scorer Trevor Releford has played a large role in helping keep the team consistent this season. Alabama has played their best games against Villanova and Kentucky this season who are both bubble teams as well. A second win in the SEC tournament could give the Tide what they need to make it into the big dance.
Tennessee was one of the hottest teams in the final weeks of the season. The Volunteers are coming off a stretch where they won nine of their last ten games. All wins were games against conference rivals. Even if the team loses to Alabama, they have a chance at making the NCAA tournament just on strength of schedule alone. Jarnell Stokes 9.4 rebounds per game are a large part of way the Vols continue to win games. Tennessee comes in as the lower seed after going 11-7 in the conference but has the same overall record as the Tide, 20-11.
Alabama against Tennessee could be one of the better games that will be played in the tournament this season. The shooting matchup between Releford and Jordan McRae could ultimately decide the game. Alabama will have to try and keep up if they want the win.