Who: Alabama; 22-6 (16-2) vs. Tennessee; 18-7 (10-7)
When: 12 pm CT, Saturday, March 13th, 2021.
Where: Bridgestone Arena; Nashville, TN.
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (play-by-play: Chris Stewart; analyst: Bryan Passink)
Alabama and Tennessee met earlier this season in Knoxville, and the Tide came away with an 8 point win. This time the stakes are a lot higher as a spot in the SEC Tournament championship is on the line. Alabama is coming off of one of their most impressive wins of the year with a 37 point win over Miss State while Tennessee beat Florida by 12. Alabama is currently playing as good as anyone defensively and are getting their rhythm back offensively as well. Alabama scored 85 points, shot almost 49% overall and made 13 threes in their last game. That will result in a win most days. It will be a little more difficult for them to play this well offensively against a strong defensive team like Tennessee. Yves Pons is a tremendous defensive player and shot blocker. He mentioned earlier today that he’s looking forward to “revenge” against Alabama, so there’s no doubt he will come ready to play. Tennessee holds opponents to 62.7 PPG which ranks 18th in the country (according to TeamRankings). If Tennessee can hold Alabama under 75 points, they will have a good shot at winning this game, but that is a tall task. Alabama scores almost 80 points per game and is coming off of one of their best offensive games of the year. Tennessee’s defense should be able to keep them in it though, as they hold opponents to 40.2% shooting and 31.7% from 3.
Tennessee Players to Watch:
G Jaden Springer (12.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.9 APG)
G Victor Bailey Jr. (11.4 PPG, 2 RPG, 1.7 APG)
G Keon Johnson (10.8 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.4 APG)
G Yves Pons (8.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.6 BPG)
Alabama played well in every aspect in Friday’s 37-point win over Miss State. The Tide looked locked in, focused, and were playing some of their best ball of the year. Alabama always comes ready to play defensively, so there is no doubt they will against the Vols. The question will be can they keep their offense playing at a high level. The answer is yes. John Petty, Jaden Shackelford, and the SEC Player of the Year, Herbert Jones, will help Alabama clinch a spot in the SEC Tournament championship with a win over Tennessee.
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