No. 15 Alabama vs Florida: preview, TV schedule

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Game Preview: No. 15 Alabama vs Florida

When: Wednesday, January 5 at 7:00 pm ET on ESPN2

Location: Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL

After opening SEC play with a win, Alabama travels to Gainesville to face Florida in what will be the conference opener for the Gators.

Alabama last played a week ago on December 29 when the Crimson Tide picked up a 73-68 win at home over Tennessee to open SEC play. Despite struggling from three-point range in the contest, the Crimson Tide were able to take the lead late due to some big made three’s from Jaden Shackelford and Keon Ellis, as well as a phenomenal performance from Noah Gurley who added a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Ranked as the No. 15 team in the country, Alabama sits at 10-3 on the year (1-0 in SEC) averaging 82.2 PPG offensively on a combined 46.9% shooting from the field, while allowing 72.9 PPG defensively. Leading the Crimson Tide in scoring is the previously mentioned Shackelford (16.5 PPG), while guard Jahvon Quinerly is also coming off an impressive 18-point performance against Tennessee.

As mentioned previously, this will be the 2021-22 SEC opener for Florida (game vs Ole Miss postponed on 12/29), as well as the Gators first game since an 87-62 win over Stony Brook on December 22. A game in which the Gators never trailed, Florida shot an impressive 53.3% from the field in the contest, as well as having four players in double-figures led by guard Phlandrous Fleming Jr with a game-high 20 points.

The Gators sit at 9-3 on the season, and are a strong team defensively that is only allowing 59.9 PPG to opponents. Averaging 74 PPG offensively, the Gators are led by star forward Colin Castleton (14.8 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.5 BPG), as well as a deep backcourt that features numerous impactful guards such as the previously mentioned Fleming, Tyree Appleby, and Myreon Jones.

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While you could certainly argue that the Crimson Tide are the better team, this trip to Gainesville could present some challenges for Alabama, mainly the matchup down low with Castleton. No game in the SEC will be easy this season, especially on the road, but this is a game that the Crimson Tide should win against a Florida team that will compete for a spot in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Prediction: Alabama 76, Florida 70