The Alabama Crimson Tide rolled over the Auburn Tigers Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum 61-43. The win put Alabama back on the winning side after a loss at LSU snapped a four-game streak the previous weekend. But as the Tide now prepare for the trip to Gainesville, the eighth-ranked Florida Gators didn’t fare so well yesterday. They traveled to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers and fell short 64-58.
This Alabama-Florida matchup on Saturday looks to be the biggest game of the season for not just each team, but for the conference as a whole. If Alabama does win against Florida, the Crimson Tide will tie with the Gators for first place in the SEC. Not only that, but it gives Alabama a much better position to secure one of the top four seeds and grab a first- and second-round bye.
Speaking of the SEC tournament, because of the way the format of the bracket that is set up, Alabama is in a pretty nice position. If the tournament were to begin today, they would be a two-seed, with a first- and second-round bye in the bottom half of the bracket. That would have them facing the likes of Kentucky, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Those are all teams that Alabama has beaten – with the exception of Missouri – at least once. That also means that if they made a big run, they wouldn’t potentially face Florida until the final.
If Florida wins, however, that immediately decimates any hopes Alabama had of making the NCAA tournament from an at-large bid. Florida will promote themselves to try and secure a overall one-seed in the Big Dance, not to mention almost lock up the SEC regular season title.
Does the Alabama basketball team really have a decent shot at taking down the mighty Gators? It’s a better chance than they had a month ago. The Tide has a very hot shooter in Trevor Releford and their defense is respectable and high-pressure.
Alabama and Florida have a lot riding on this game and it could make a huge difference as to where each team program ends up in the postseason. The game begins at 11am CT/12pm ET. The game was moved to ESPN and rightly so, considering the stakes in the game.