Alabama basketball travels to Nashville to face Vanderbilt


After a big win over TAMU, Alabama basketball is on the road Tuesday night.  The Tide has earned few victories against Vanderbilt in the Commodores Memorial Gym.

Memorial Gym in Nashville has been a historically unkind setting for Alabama basketball. In 14 games since 1990, the Crimson Tide has won only once in Nashville. In February 2013 the Tide bested the Dores 58-54.

The old gym with an elevated floor and player benches on the ends of the court is not the real Tide nemesis. The Vanderbilt basketball team just performs at a higher level on its home court.

How big was the win against the Aggies?

Texas A&M came into the game ranked No. 5 in the nation.  According to, the 79-57 win was “the largest margin of victory over an AP Top-10 team in program history.”  The 22 points win topped a 21-point (94-73) win over a No. 10 ranked  Kentucky team in 1982.

The Vanderbilt game is the first of three SEC road contests in the Tide’s next four games. After Vandy, Alabama basketball travels to Georgia, returns home against South Carolina and travels to LSU.

Vanderbilt better than 5-8 record

Vanderbilt’s rough start includes four tough losses. The Dores lost to Southern Cal in overtime, Kansas State by five points, MTSU by three and by seven to Florida in Gainsville. To-date, Vanderbilt is ranked as having played the third toughest schedule among SEC teams. The two top, toughest SEC schedules belong to Tennessee and Alabama.

Vanderbilt is led in both scoring and rebounding by six-foot-six, forward, Jeff Roberson. Roberson is one of three seniors in Vandy’s starting five.

Alabama basketball got some bad news after the TAMU win. Riley Norris reinjured his hip and will require surgery. Norris will not be able to return this season. Norris’ toughness and consistent effort were highly valued by Avery Johnson. Braxton Key and Herbert Jones should gain extra playing minutes in Riley’s absence.

Collin Sexton continues to shine

Freshman Collin Sexton leads the Tide in scoring at 20.1 points-per-game. Collin struggled from the field against the Aggies but he was outstanding getting to the foul line and making his free throws. After the game, Avery Johnson commented on Sexton’s play,

"I think he’s a much better basketball player when he’s playing his style and not just as a set up guy."

“Playing his style” means running the Tide offense through Sexton on almost every possession. Rather than designating Collin as a point guard, Avery has described his young star as just a ‘basketball player.’ Check out this ESPN feature on Collin.

Fellow Alabama basketball freshman, John Petty was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against TAMU. In the Tide’s big win, Petty scored 18 points and had four rebounds, three assists and two blocks. It was the second time Petty has received the recognition.

Next: Tide toasts Tigers!

In the always important measurement of NCAA Tourney viability, has the Tide with an RPI of 27. Five other SEC teams currently are in the top 25 nationally in RPI ranking.