Alabama Basketball: Florida Gators Game Preview And Info


The Alabama basketball team (18-13, 8-10 SEC) will travel to Nashville for a Thursday match-up against the Florida Gators (15-16, 8-10 SEC) in the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Tide enters the tournament as the number nine seed.

  • Date: Thursday, March 12, 2015
  • Start Time: Noon CT
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Arena: Bridgestone Arena
  • TV Info: SEC Network
  • Live Stream: WatchESPN
  • Odds ( Florida (-3.5)

If the Tide expects to make it past the first time they see action in Nashville, they will have to get past a Billy Donovan led squad that has already took down the Tide in Coleman Coliseum 52-50.

During his tenure at the Capstone, Coach Anthony Grant has posted a 4-5 record in five tournament appearances including a 2-2 record in three SEC Tournament games played in Nashville.

Alabama will be without two of their top four scorers for the rest of the season in Shannon Hale with 8.2 ppg (foot) and Ricky Tarrant with 13.1 ppg (ankle). The Tide will have their biggest offensive weapon on the floor in senior guard Levi Randolph. Randolph leads Alabama in scoring (15.2 ppg), assists (2.4 apg), steals (1.4) and minutes (35.2 mpg). Senior Rodney Cooper just trails Randolph with 10.5 ppg and leads the Tide in threes made (43).

“Like us, Billy’s had to deal with some injuries and some different things, and I think he’s got a team that’s healthy now”, Grant said.  “They appear to be playing good basketball. We’re looking forward to our first game against them on Thursday at noon. Hopefully we can play well.”

Coach Billy Donovan also spoke on the injuries for both teams and the expectations that the Gators will see a different team than they did during the last contest.

“We’re excited to play in Nashville for the tournament,” Donovan said. “It’s been over a month since we last played Alabama. It was certainly a very, very close game, one that came down to the wire, could have gone either way.

“I think both teams have probably had to deal with some things since we last played. They’ve obviously dealt with some injuries, as we have as well. So it’s probably two different teams, so to speak, from the last time we saw each other there at the end of January.”

Grant believes playing so many games in a short amount of time the last time they met the Gators plus the Tide still trying to figure things out could have played an outcome on the game.

“But hopefully we’re a little bit more mature and understand what allows us to win. Hopefully we’re maybe playing with a more understanding of each other, in terms of how to make the game easier for each other. The last time we played them obviously was a two-point defeat that came down to the last possession of the game.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for whichever of these two teams that comes away with the win. A match-up with the number one seeded Kentucky Wildcats awaits them the very next day.