Alabama Basketball falls in Knoxville

Alabama v Tennessee
Alabama v Tennessee / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Alabama Basketball lost to yet another ranked opponent on Saturday afternoon, falling to the no. 6 Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville by a score of 91-71

With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to 0-4 against currently ranked opponents, and did not put a promising product on the floor against the Vols. The 20-point margin of defeat was Bama’s largest since it lost by 24 at Oklahoma late last January. The Tide fell behind early against Tennessee, and the home team was able to hold the visitors at arm’s length the rest of the way. 

Bama was sloppy throughout the game, committing 22 turnovers (-15 margin) and shot at just a 19 percent clip from beyond the arc. Nate Oats-coached teams typically don’t fare well when they shoot this poorly and, compoundingly, Rick Barnes-coached teams tend to feast on opponents that are careless with the basketball. 

Last month, Bama competed hard against top-10 caliber teams in Purdue, Creighton, and Arizona, playing some of the nation’s most complete teams down to the final minutes. Bama hoops entered this rivalry game riding the momentum of six consecutive wins, and hoped to get over the hump against Tennessee. Instead, it delivered an underwhelming performance, failing to play with focus and discipline in a hostile environment. 

Mark Sears gritted through an ankle injury to give Alabama Basketball 22 points, but he was the only Crimson Tide player to reach double-figures. Tennessee flaunted an improved offense to pair with its physical defense, posting four double-figure scorers. The Vols were led by the 25 points of transfer wing Dalton Knecht, who has lit up the SEC averaging over 18 points per game.

Alabama Basketball is still a good team who is positioned firmly in the top half of the SEC, but it must continue to improve on both ends of the court. To this point, it has not shown the ability to beat a top-25 caliber team, and it welcomes another one to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday evening when no. 13 Auburn comes to town.

Bama will have the benefit of playing in front of a home crowd at Coleman Coliseum, but will have to put forth one of its best efforts of the season to get the win.