Bama Hoops Hype

PREVIEW: Alabama Hosts Tennessee in Second Saturday in February

Alabama Men's Basketball

Alabama hosts No. 15 Tennessee on Saturday. The Crimson Tide is looking to win its fifth consecutive game against a ranked opponent.  We give our full breakdown of what to watch for and our (probably wrong) prediction of how this game will go.

How To Keep Up

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

When: 5 p.m. CT

Watch: SEC Network with Dave Neal and Jon Sundvold

Listen: Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart and Bryan Passink

Projected Starting Lineups

Alabama (15-9, 6-5): Collin Sexton (18.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg), Dazon Ingram (10.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.8 apg), John Petty (10.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.9 apg), Braxton Key (6.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.3 apg), Donta Hall (10.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.3 bpg)

No. 15 Tennessee (18-5, 8-3): Jordan Bone (7.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.5 apg), Jordan Bowden (9.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.7 apg), Admiral Schofield (12.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.56 apg), Grant Williams (15.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.0 apg), Kyle Alexander (6.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 bpg)

Key Matchup

Braxton Key vs. Grant Williams. These two players may be the most talented small forwards in the SEC. Key has been trying to get to 100 percent all season and has come off the bench in the Tide’s last two games. Meanwhile, Williams is putting together a great campaign for SEC Player of the Year. In last year’s meeting between these two teams, both players were on the court for at least 32 minutes and scored in double figures despite the low scoring affair. Williams finished with a double-double and scored four more points than Key as Tennessee won 59-54 in the regular season finale. Sophomore players are often overlooked by new freshman talent but these two could find themselves in the spotlight of this rivalry for a second consecutive season.

Key Stats

25.5 points. This is what the Volunteers have gotten from their bench per game this season. Alabama native Lamonte Turner is averaging 11 points per game this season for Tennessee and has played all 23 games off the bench this season. He’s made the most 3-pointers on the team and ranks third in both assists and field goals made. Alabama has done a pretty good job of getting production off its own bench but it is more about limiting its opponent’s. In wins over Oklahoma and Florida, the Crimson Tide’s bench held a combined 54-4 edge. Alabama has won this season when its bench gets outscored but limiting Tennessee’s bench could be the first step in pulling off an upset.

Prediction

Alabama is coming off a loss in a game that it was expected to win so you would think that the Crimson Tide would somehow roll into this game and win by double digits. This team has shown up over and over again in the big games and I think that will happen again on Saturday. Unfortunately, Alabama’s best may not be good enough to beat Tennessee’s best. So playing well is obviously important for the Tide but forcing the visitors to feel uncomfortable and play poorly wouldn’t hurt. Who knows if that actually happens but predictions are supposed to be wrong, right? Tennessee 75, Alabama 74

Caleb Turrentine is the editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @BamaHoopsHype.

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