Bama Hoops Hype

PREVIEW: Alabama Facing Must-Win Situation on Senior Night

Alabama Men's Basketball

Alabama has lost three straight games for the first time this season and things are not getting any easier as the regular season comes to an end. The Crimson Tide’s final two opponents will be playing in the NCAA Tournament but Avery Johnson’s squad has beaten both of them already this season.

“None of these games are going to be easy, everybody is fighting at this point with only two games left in conference,” the Alabama head coach said on Monday. “Everybody is fighting for seeding and trying to get some momentum going into SEC Tournament play.”

Johnson said that the team is fully aware of the SEC seeding possibility and knows what is at stake over the next few days. It’s a longshot for the Tide to sneak back into the top four but while it is still a possibility, that’s what the team will be pushing for.

Alabama will need to win out in the regular season to match last season’s conference record and keep the double-bye hopes alive. It starts on Tuesday night when the Crimson Tide host the Florida Gators on Senior Night in Coleman Coliseum.

Riley Norris and Ar’Mond Davis will be honored before tipoff in what Alabama fans hope to be the last game of the season. Both players have been dealing with injuries all season and should be eligible for a medical redshirt but neither of them are expected to return next season.

How To Keep Up

Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

When: 6 p.m. CT

Watch: ESPN with Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham and Laura Rutledge

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

Projected Starting Lineups

Alabama (17-12, 8-8): Collin Sexton (18.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.5 apg), Dazon Ingram (10.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.7 apg), John Petty (10.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.0 apg), Daniel Giddens (4.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.1 bpg), Donta Hall (11.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.4 bpg)

Florida (18-11, 9-7): Chris Chiozza (11.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.2 apg), KeVaughn Allen (11.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.1 apg), Egor Koulechov (13.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg), Kevarrius Hayes (5.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Keith Stone (8.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

Key Matchup

Chris Chiozza vs. Alabama Defense. In these two teams’ last meeting, the matchup to watch was Chiozza vs. Collin Sexton. That is still probably the best 1v1 matchup to watch but Alabama’s team defense against Chiozza was the biggest factor in the Tide’s win in Gainesville. The Florida guard shot 2-for-9 from the field and finished with four points and four assists, both below his season average. Alabama did a good job of forcing Chiozza into tough shots while having great defensive rotation to play with right help defense more often than not. It was the dominant second half that pushed the Tide to victory but if they can hold Chiozza to another poor performance, Alabama may not need a comeback on Tuesday night.

Key Stat

46-26 Points in the Paint. Alabama dominated the Gators in the paint in the first game, which the points in the paint showed. Donta Hall did not miss a shot and finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in the road win. The Crimson Tide also held a plus-18 advantage in the rebounding battle, its second largest margin of the season. During the Tide’s three-game losing streak, Alabama has been outscored in the paint and outrebounded in every game. This is a team that we know Alabama can outplay in the post but the last week has certainly brought some doubts. If the Crimson Tide can repeat the performance from the first game, we should see the revival of Donta Hall and a win for Alabama.

Prediction

Both of these teams have lost six of the last 10 games but the Crimson Tide and the Gators are looking to put the final touches on what should be an NCAA Tournament resume. Florida is looking to lock up a spot in the top four and avenge one of its ugliest losses of the season. Alabama is looking to get back on track and build a little bit of momentum before the postseason begins. Alabama 70, Florida 62

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

Facebook Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login