Alabama Basketball gelling in time for stretch run
After a stretch of inefficient play beginning in late February, Alabama basketball brought its A-game to the SEC Tournament, taking home the title with relative ease.
The Crimson Tide won its three games in Nashville by an average margin of 17.3 points per game, winning each contest by double-digits.
Alabama first took care of Mississippi State in the quarterfinal round, disposing of the Bulldogs by a score of 72-49. Bama hit 13 three-pointers in the game, and dished out an impressive 21 assists on 27 made baskets. The Tide improved to 3-0 against Mississippi State this season with the tournament victory.
Bama advanced to the semifinals, where it faced Dennis Gates’ Missouri Tigers. Alabama went on to defeat the Tigers 72-61, holding the persistent challengers at bay throughout the second half. Despite not shooting as well from the perimeter, the Crimson Tide maintained a high caliber of offensive efficiency against Mizzou. Alabama went 20-30 on two-point field goals and recorded 18 assists on 28 made field goals.
In the conference championship game, Alabama was able to avenge last weekend’s loss to Texas A&M, defeating the Aggies in convincing fashion by a final margin of 82-63. Bama hit 12 threes in the game and dominated the glass, outrebounding Texas A&M 48-33.
In its SEC Tournament run, Alabama Basketball also saw the return of the defensive tenacity that helped it win the regular season conference title. Bama defended very well throughout most of its SEC schedule before experiencing a late season lapse.
The Crimson Tide got back on track in Nashville, holding its three opponents to just 57.7 points per game. Alabama suffocated the Mississippi State offense, which shot 18-58 (31 percent) from the field and managed just four assists. Missouri didn’t fare much better, shooting 33.8 percent against the Tide defense.
Bama saved its best defensive performance for the conference title game, limiting Texas A&M to an abysmal 29.7 percent shooting with only six assists. For the tournament, Alabama’s opponents combined to shoot 31.6 percent from the field and 24.5 percent from the three point line with 20 assists and 29 turnovers.
All season, Alabama basketball has been one of the best teams in the country on both ends of the floor. It also appears to be peaking at the right time. If Bama can continue to play lockdown defense while maintaining offensive efficiency, it will be very resistant to upset efforts in the NCAA Tournament.