Alabama Basketball Opponent Preview: Florida Gators in the SEC Tournament

Alabama v Florida
Alabama v Florida / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The Alabama Basketball team will start its push to win back-to-back SEC tournaments when it takes on the Florida Gators on Friday evening in the final game of the quarter-finals. The Gators knocked off the Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday night with an 85-80 victory. The Alabama Basketball split the season series with the Gators winning the first matchup at home 98-93 while losing in Gainesville 105-87.

The Alabama Basketball team has struggled significantly against Florida's Guard tandem as Walter Clayton Jr. has scored 27 and 22 points against the Tide while Will Richard scored 23 and 17, and Zyon Pullin added 19 and 17 in his two games against Alabama. The Alabama defense will need to do a better job of staying in front of Clayton as the guard shot 16 free throws making 15 in the Tide's loss.

The Florida defense has defended the three-point shot well against Alabama holding the team for 13-55 shooting from three for a 24% shooting percentage far below the team's 37% mark on the season. The Alabama basketball team will need to limit their turnovers as well with 21 turnovers in two games against the Gators on the year.

A surprise player to watch in the game will be Senior Big man Nick Pringle who's averaging just 6.8 points per game on the year however, he's found success against the Gators scoring 12 points per game with 7 rebounds per game.

On the defensive end, the Alabama Basketball team will need to put their best foot forward especially starting with the guards. In the Crimson Tide's win over the Gators, the team blocked eight shots adding six steals while in the Tide's loss, the group blocked just one shot with five steals.

The Alabama Basketball team will have nearly its entire team available for the game with the only question mark coming with Rylan Griffin who's a game-time decision with a calf injury.

If the Alabama Basketball team is without Rylan Griffin, it'll make defending Florida wing Tyrese Samuel an even tougher task. Samuel has been dominant against Alabama scoring 14 in the Gators' loss while scoring 19 in Florida's win against the Tide.

The biggest threat down low for the Florida Gators against Alabama has come off the bench. Alex Condon has scored ten in each game against the Alabama Basketball team. Condon has played just 20 minutes in his two games against Alabama off the bench which makes starting Condon a strong possibility for Todd Golden.

Prediction for the Alabama Basketball team in the quarter finals

As things currently stand it's hard to see Alabama Basketball losing this opening matchup against the Florida Gators. The Tide will have the advantage of rest while the Gators played past 11:00 PM in a battle against the Georgia Bulldogs. This will be the first time the Alabama Basketball team has been healthy in a long time allowing the Tide to play four guards along with Grant Nelson using the team's small-ball lineup that has wrecked opponents. For the Alabama Basketball team to come out on top they'll need improved defense from their guards while the team will also need to shoot better than they have against the Gators. The Tide lose this game if they allow Florida to hang around due to poor defense especially if they allow a player as good as Walter Clayton to get to the line early and often.

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Note: All Stats via ESPN